Is there anything better than good news? Luckily for us and billions of birds across the boreal forest, there have been some great conservation achievements across the boreal over the past decade. From new parks and wildlife preserves to First Nation-led land use plans and even voluntary habitat withdrawals from industry, there have been notable sources of inspiration when it comes to protecting key boreal bird habitat. Check out some of the more recent conservation gains in the boreal forest below.
Bright Spots in the Boreal
Announced in 2012 and formalized in 2013, Quebec's Tursujuq National Park became the largest protected area in eastern North America. This vast expanse of rapids, waterfalls, and picturesque forest hosts large populations of waterfowl and raptors and is home to rare, landlocked populations of harbor seals and Atlantic salmon further upstream.
After years of work with the Government of Manitoba, Bloodvein First Nation finalized their official land-use plan in 2012. This plan puts Bloodvein First Nation in the driver's seat regarding conservation and use of their traditional territory, which includes the highly scenic Bloodvein River. More than half of the area is now completely off limits to development while less than 20% is open to future development.
Signed in 2010, the game-changing Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement saw 19 major forest product companies and 7 leading conservation organizations agree to protect key caribou habitat and increase sustainable harvest standards. More than 70 million acres of prime caribou habitat have been temporarily placed off limits to development and nearly 110 million acres of boreal forest are now subject to leading-edge sustainable management practices.
Although it will take decades to complete, there is no denying that when the provinces of Ontario and Quebec both announced plans to protect half of their northern boreal forest regions from development it could be considered a huge success. Following the recommendations of the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework, half of the boreal lands will be set aside while the remaining half will be open to sustainable development. This balance, if implemented correctly, will protect critical bird habitat while leaving open opportunities for local employment.