Scientists Call For Boreal Forest Protections

DU and DUC represented on panel

An international panel of scientists is recommending protections for Canada's Boreal Forest. The 1.4-billion-acre region encompasses some of the largest blocks of intact forest and wetlands remaining on the planet. Millions of ducks breed in this vast, largely unspoiled area. In some years, this amounts to about 40 percent of the continental duck population.

The Boreal Forest is under increasing threat from development, including forestry, mining, oil and gas, and hydropower. The authors of a paper released today recommend protecting at least 50 percent of the Boreal Forest. They also recommend using world-class sustainable development practices to conserve wildlife habitat and natural processes in the other 50 percent. These protections and conservation measures will be achieved through the cooperative work of progressive industries, First Nations, governments, the Pew Charitable Trust and conservation groups like Ducks Unlimited.

"Protecting the water and key waterfowl habitats within the Boreal Forest is achievable under the 50/50 framework we are recommending," said Dr. Frederic Reid, Director of DU's Boreal and Arctic Conservation Programs and a member of the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel. "Ducks such as scaup, ring-necked ducks, green-winged teal, American wigeon and bufflehead all will benefit with this conservation strategy."

The International Boreal Conservation Science Panel recommendations were announced today at the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Baltimore. The panel is an independent, interdisciplinary team of scientists from the U.S. and Canada, including representatives from Ducks Unlimited and DU Canada. Their report—Conserving the World's Last Great Forest is Possible: Here's How--outlines how governments across Canada can balance the maintenance of the natural heritage of Canada's boreal forest region with industrial development. It includes examples from across Canada where collaborative efforts aimed at positive solutions are balancing protection with economic opportunities.

To view the full report and other information about the Boreal Forest, go to: http://borealscience.org/projects/conserving-last-great-forests/#photos

DU Boreal Video - http://www.ducks.org/conservation/where-we-work/western-boreal-forest-canada