The 50/50 Approach

It was once believed that protecting just 10-12% of an ecosystem was sufficient in order to preserve the majority of plant and animal species present in the region. Today, however, we know this is far too little. Protecting at least 50% of our major global ecosystems like the boreal forest is needed to give the plants and animals we have come to know and love the best chance at survival. Promoting sustainable and carefully planned development in the remaining regions best allows for a healthy balance between the economic and environmental needs of a forest as important as the boreal while maintaining its ecological integrity.

This '50/50' approach provides wildlife with the best chance at survival while still allowing for local and regional prosperity in the form of natural resource extraction.

Read the report for more details on why 50% of the boreal forest should be protected »

Conservation First: The First 50%

Modern conservation science tells us that at least 50% of our large, natural areas should be placed off-limits to development in order to maintain the full complement of species, communities, and ecosystem services provided by large wilderness areas such as the boreal forest. From billions of birds and a variety of other impressive wildlife to ecosystem services such as carbon storage and water filtration, there are no shortage of reasons as to why we need to protect at least half of the boreal forest from development.

To provide wildlife with the best chance of long-term survival, the following criteria must be addressed:

  • Conservation areas need to be determined first. Land-use planning should precede decisions regarding industrial development so that lands requiring conservation status can be identified based first and foremost on an understanding of what is required to maintain biodiversity and ecological processes valuable. This will allow the decision regarding what lands should be conserved to be based on what is required to maintain biodiversity and ecological processes as opposed to what still remains once the development 'gold rush' has already taken place.
  • Protected areas should be networked and interconnected wherever possible. Climate change is slowly changing habitats and species communities around the world. In order to allow for these species to adapt and, if necessary, find newer suitable habitat, a network of protected areas connected through corridors provides such species the best chance of adapting to an increasingly changing world.

Sustainable Development: The Other 50%

Protecting half of the boreal forest only solves half of the problem. Such grand conservation efforts would be compromised if development were to be allowed to go unchecked in the remaining half. In order to maintain healthy wildlife populations and ecosystem services provided by the boreal while simultaneously promoting income opportunities for boreal communities through resource extraction, it is imperative that such projects meet leading-edge sustainability standards and are planned with the health of future generations in mind. This means that industrial activities on lands outside those where development is prohibited should be carried out with the lowest possible impacts to biodiversity and ecosystem processes.

From third-party sustainable certification and increased focus on the health of surrounding waterbodies to the embracing of new technologies that minimize net land impacts, there are a variety of ways we can improve how we extract resources in the boreal to both protect existing biodiversity communities and leave jobs for future generations.

  • Promote cross-sector planning. Development planning must take place across industrial sectors (i.e. logging, oil and gas, hydroelectric development, mining, etc.) to avoid cumulative effects that create damaging impacts to biodiversity and the ecosystem.
  • Minimize net impacts to the land. As technology advances, new ways of extracting resources are allowing for similar or greater returns while lowering the overall impact on affected lands. 
  • Embrace third-party certification. In any sectors where present, third-party sustainable certification can ensure sustainable practices while also increasing social responsibility and brand recognition. 

Boreal Forest Conservation Framework

The Boreal Forest Conservation Framework is a groundbreaking vision that embodies the core of the 50/50 approach: equal treatment of conservation and sustainable development across the Canadian Boreal Forest.

The Framework was developed by the Boreal Leadership Council (BLC), a partnership of leading conservation organizations, resource companies, and First Nations. Members of the BLC recognize that all who depend on the forest must come together to plan for its future. They have joined together in a innovative collaboration to promote the conservation and sustainable use of the Canadian Boreal Forest.

Scientists Support the Boreal Forest

Over 1,500 scientists worldwide have called for the protection of Canada's boreal forest. Read the petition to Canada's government leaders »

Boreal Framework Endorsers

The following companiesworth billions of dollarshave endorsed the Boreal Forest Conservation Framework and back its vision (BLC member businesses are designated with asterisks).

Birding Companies

  • Big Pockets Birding Outfitters
  • Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc.
  • Steiner Optics
  • Wild Birds Unlimited, Inc.
  • Wild Bird Centers of America

Timber/Paper Product Companies

  • Alberta Pacific Forest Industries*
  • Domtar*
  • New Leaf Paper
  • Seventh Generation
  • Tembec*

Energy Companies

  • Nexen Inc.*
  • SunCor*

Financial Companies

  • Batirente Pension Fund
  • Domini Social Investments*
  • Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc.*
  • Ethical Funds*
  • Tofino Community Investments Ltd.
  • Tricity Equities

Outdoor-Focused Companies & Organizations

  • Ace Hardware and Outdoor Sports
  • Adventure's Edge
  • Alpine Shop Ltd.
  • Aquaventure Sales
  • Bending Branches
  • Bergans of Norway
  • Black Diamond
  • Boreal
  • Canada Goose
  • Cascade Canoe and Kayak Centers
  • Cascade Designs
  • Chums
  • Deuter
  • Grivel
  • Hi-Tec Sports
  • Hurricane Kayaks
  • Intertrek
  • Jansport
  • Johnson Outdoors
  • Johnson Outdoors/Eureka!
  • Kariboe
  • Keen Footwear
  • Lafuma
  • Leisure Trends
  • Lorpen Technical Socks
  • Marmot
  • Montrail
  • Mountain Equipment Co-Op
  • Mountain Sports, Ltd.
  • Mountainworks
  • MSR
  • Nature Vision, Inc.
  • Nike Europe
  • Nikwax
  • Northern Spirit
  • Old Town Canoe & Kayak
  • Oslo Sports
  • Outward Ventures
  • Outdoor Alliance
  • Outdoor Research
  • Outward Bound Wilderness
  • Patagonia
  • Platypus
  • Prana
  • Riverwear
  • Rossignol
  • Salomon
  • Seal Line
  • SIGG
  • Smart Wool
  • Stikine View Lodge
  • Timberland Europe
  • Trade Association of Paddlesports
  • Thermarest
  • Tracks
  • Vaude
  • Yukon Wilderness Tourism Assn.

Publishing Companies

  • Addicus Books
  • Adventure Trails
  • Allies Publishing Inc.
  • Alpen Books
  • Amber Lotus
  • Ave Maria Press
  • Bay Tree Publishing
  • Birder's World Magazine
  • Book Publishing Company
  • Blue Line Press
  • Canoe & Kayak Magazine
  • Chelsea Green Publishing
  • Continuum Books
  • Conversari House
  • Dogtooth Books
  • Dragon's Beard Publishing
  • Epicenter Press
  • Free Spirit Publishing
  • Georgetown University Press
  • Good Spirited Company
  • Greenline Publications
  • Gryphon House
  • Hampton Roads Publishing Company
  • Harvard University Press
  • Integrated Book Technologies
  • Island Press
  • Kayak Session Publishing
  • Kedzie Press
  • KNOCK Magazine
  • Lake Claremont Press
  • Lantern Books
  • Les Figues Press
  • Lonely Planet Publications
  • Lost Horse Press
  • Lotus Petal Publishing
  • Magiscule Publishing Group
  • Moment Point Press
  • Montagnard
  • Mountaineers Books
  • Nature Study Guild Publishers
  • Nomad Press
  • Nova Publishing Company
  • Old Harbor Books
  • Paddling Magazine
  • Parallax Press
  • Personhood Press
  • Pamoon Press
  • Pruett Publishing
  • Salt Magazine
  • SNEWs
  • Snow Lion Publications
  • Sounds True Publishing
  • Silver Light Publications
  • St. Dymphna Press
  • Ten Speed Press
  • Thomson Shore
  • Unison Media Group
  • University of Missouri Press
  • University Press of New England
  • Wilderness Press
  • Wolverine Farm Publishing
  • Woza Books

Other Endorsers

  • 4th Street Market
  • Birks and Mayors, Inc.
  • Cedar Corner Development Ltd.
  • Coffee for the Birds
  • Counter Culture Coffee
  • GreenDream Productions
  • Guakaki Yerba Mate
  • Eatmore Sprouts and Greens
  • Edible Planet
  • Frogfile Office Essentials
  • GreenDreams Productions
  • Jorg & Olif
  • Limited Brands
  • Lost Horizons
  • Lorelei, Inc.
  • Lunapads International Products Ltd.
  • Nordstrom, Inc.
  • Paddle and Kayak
  • Reel Youth
  • Renaissance Montreal
  • Renewal Partners
  • Salt Spring Coffee
  • Stikine View Lodge
  • The Catalyst Institute
  • Tides Canada Foundation
  • Zerofootprint