Western Boreal Forest Initiative

DU's conservation initiative for the boreal forests of Alaska and Canada


Conserve, protect and manage the most important areas of the forest for waterfowl and other wildlife.


Spreading northward from the fringes of the aspen parklands to the Arctic tundra, North America's western boreal forest spans some 1.8 million square miles across northern Canada and central Alaska. This vast swath of softwood forest has earned its nickname, "the other duck factory." The region contains a quarter of the world's remaining intact forests and 35 percent of the worlds wetlands. Annually the boreal forest is home to between 12 and 14 million breeding ducks and hosts up to 75 percent of all continental ducks in migration or molt.

When the prairies and parklands are dry, as they often are, the western boreal forest also provides secure habitat for millions of drought-displaced ducks and geese from the prairies. This vast landscape allows significant portions of the population to survive and breed again in future years when conditions on the prairies improve.

The wetlands of the boreal forest, once considered remote and undisturbed, are now at risk of disappearing before our eyes, due to development, mining and other extraction industries. There is a growing need for progressive and adaptive wetland and waterfowl conservation planning at international, national and regional levels. By collaborating with industry leaders and other partners, Ducks Unlimited aims to protect enough forestland for waterfowl and other wildlife to thrive in harmony with the human need for these natural resources. Together, we will find the balance.

Join our partnership to protect the wetlands-rich boreal forest.

Learn more about the Western Boreal Forest

  • Importance to waterfowl
  • Habitat issues
  • DU's conservation focus

Alaska | Canada