There are good reasons why DU has identified the PPR and western boreal forest as the continent's top-priority conservation regions. In 2007, DU's senior conservation planners reaffirmed, simply but profoundly, that we will not achieve our conservation vision of abundant waterfowl unless we are successful in these crucial places. And DU's greatest task is to sustain the productive capacity of these vital lands for waterfowl in both the United States and Canada.
Farther east, the Great Lakes lowlands, eastern boreal forest, and Atlantic Canada remain important nurseries for the eastern flyways. Most of the continent's black ducks nest and raise their young from northern Ontario to Newfoundland. In addition, breeding wood ducks, mallards, ring-necked ducks, green-winged teal, and other duck species that are vital to the continent's eastern flyways rely on Canadian habitat. The Great Lakes/St. Lawrence lowlands provide important habitat for breeding, migrating, and even wintering ducks.
Besides familiar dabblers and divers, all of the world's greater snow geese along with Atlantic Canada geese and a variety of sea ducks stop here during the spring and fall. The vast majority of geese (ironically, except for Canada geese and emperor geese) hatch in Canada, and combined with Alaska, nearly all of North America's sea ducks renew their populations here.
And renewal is critical. Recent studies have confirmed that most duck populations are more sensitive to changes in their rates of reproduction (nest success usually and duckling survival under other circumstances) than to fluctuations in other vital rates like over-winter survival.