Boreal Forest Initiative

Protecting the Boreal Forest

North America's Boreal Forest

North America's Boreal Forest is the world's largest remaining intact, productive ecosystem, encompassing more than a billion and a half acres of pristine forests, wetlands, lakes, rivers and streams. A keystone habitat for the hemisphere's migratory waterfowl and songbird populations, it also supports vast populations of fish and other wildlife. Moreover, as the world's most extensive terrestrial carbon sink and largest reservoir of surface water, North America's Boreal Forest plays a critical role in regulating global climate.

Unlike the world's other great wilderness areas—such as the Amazon Rainforest or Siberian Taiga—North America's Boreal Forest is governed by two of the world's richest and most stable democracies: the United States and Canada. This makes the Boreal the best place on earth to secure large-scale conservation and sustainable development through the proactive application of conservation science and enlightened resource management principles.

The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework was established by leading industries, First Nations, and Conservation groups, including Ducks Unlimited, in partnership with the Pew Charitable Trusts, more than a decade ago. Through this collaboration, the vast and often-remote breeding grounds of Canada and Alaska's Boreal Forest are being conserved for future generations of waterfowl, other wildlife and people. By employing a mix of protection and sustainable development, we can find a balance of conservation and development actions in the Boreal that benefits the millions of breeding waterfowl that rely on it during critical parts of their life cycle.

The World's Most Ambitious Conservation Campaign

Achieving comprehensive ecosystem protection of the North American Boreal Forest will require additional conservation commitments to fill in critical gaps across the landscape, where relatively less conservation progress has been made to date. Regions with increased focus in the Western Boreal Forest include:

Significant progress has been made protecting Canada's Boreal Forest, but there is still much to be accomplished—and the Alaskan Boreal Forest is equally deserving of similar conservation. Long-term oversight and management and strong partnerships are critical to ensure the best possible results for what is, so far, the most ambitious conservation campaign on the planet.

DU's Five-Year Plan for the Boreal

Protecting the fragile Boreal ecosystem is no small task. The key objective of the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework is to conserve 1 billion acres of intact forest and wetland habitat in North America's Boreal Forest.

The framework seeks leaders of industry, First Nations, and nongovernmental agencies. Its guidelines call for at least 50 percent of the Boreal to be protected as large refuge blocks and the other half subject to world-leading environmental practices. During the 2012-2016 initiative, the goal is to protect or sustain at least 200 million acres.

Ducks Unlimited is seeking $20 million in charitable gifts to achieve the Boreal Forest Initiative conservation goals. Your support will enable DU to conduct important science, public policy and outreach efforts, as well as conserving the breeding habitats important to North American waterfowl.

Boreal Initiative at a Glance

Five-Year Initiative Goals (FY 2012-16)
Habitat Protection: 100 million acres
Habitat Sustainable Development: 100 million acres
Public Revenue: Public revenue will flow through DUC financial records.
Philanthropic Revenue: $20 million in leadership gifts
$30 million in foundation support
Total U.S. Revenue Goal: $50 million

Initiative Area:
Boreal Canada and Alaska

Conservation Focus:
Ducks Unlimited's priority focus, within the Boreal Forest Initiative, is the Western Boreal Forest. This immense territory and the Prairie Pothole Region are North America's  two priority breeding areas..  The Boreal provides habitat for up to 40 percent of the surveyed breeding ducks each year. Staging, molting and migration habitats are also critical in this northern biome. Climate change and human development may threaten key Boreal wetlands, rivers and lakes. A 10-year conservation goal is to reach 1 billion acres of protected and sustainable habitat throughout the Boreal with a significant portion occurring during the first five years.

Cross-border Conservation

Boreal Forest Border Map

Since 1937, Ducks Unlimited has worked across North America to ensure a strong future for ducks and for waterfowl hunters. Your contribution to DU's Boreal Forest Initiative will support important waterfowl habitat conservation on both sides of the border in the Western Boreal Forest of Canada and Alaska, a region utilized by up to 40 percent of North America's breeding waterfowl.

The Boreal Initiative Needs You Now

Your gift to Ducks Unlimited is key to our success, and it is truly the greatest contribution you can make to secure the future of wetlands and waterfowl. As always, your contribution to Ducks Unlimited is leveraged to create a conservation impact far beyond your initial gift. In addition, we invest at least 80 cents of every dollar in our conservation mission.

Make a difference today for waterfowl, outdoorsmen, and future generations of wildlife and people by directing your gift to DU's Boreal Forest Initiative. Help protect and sustainably develop 200 million acres of key breeding habitats in the Boreal Forest of Canada and Alaska with your gift today.

Don't wait.
Call DU Managing Director of Development Steve Schmitt at (360) 991-7461 today to learn more about supporting the Boreal Forest Initiative.

Make an online gift.

Download a PDF.