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Boreal Birds E-Update - The latest on birds & the Boreal Forest

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dear Reader,

We hope you had a fantastic summer and are gearing up for a great autumn. While you were out birding, many actions have been brewing regarding conservation in Canada's boreal forest.

44 Percent of Canada's Bird Species in Decline

ReportBased on four decades of data, The State of Canada's Birds report released in June is a comprehensive overview of bird populations. And while some news is good (large birds of prey have recovered since anti-DDT laws were passed), much of it is distressing, with 44 percent of Canada's 460-plus species in decline, 66 species listed as Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern, and an overall net decline in population of 12 percent. Much of the loss is attributed to habitat degradation and climate change. BSI Senior Scientist Jeff Wells points out that birds know no borders, thus international cooperation is vital to the recovery of threatened species, many of which rely on Canada's boreal forest.
Read Dr. Jeff Wells' blog post analyzing the report >
Read the Calgary Herald announcement of the report >
Read Dr. Wells' op-ed in The Globe and Mail >
Access the report online >

Hope Takes Flight: Watching the Whimbrels

Whimbrel Migration MapWhile many global citizens were glued to the Olympics, we've been following a different kind of internationally acclaimed endurance athlete: Hope, the Whimbrel. This aptly named shorebird is a longtime participant in a satellite tracking program by The Center for Conservation Biology in Virginia. Every summer she breeds in the boreal forest's Mackenzie River Delta, then journeys south to wintering grounds in the U.S. Virgin Islands. During the past three years, she has logged more than 71,000 km (44,000 miles)! BSI Senior Scientist Jeff Wells has been tracking her activities this year, and those of fellow flyer Pingo the Whimbrel - who just dodged Tropical Storm Isaac! - in a series of blog posts:
April 9: Hope Returns >
May 14: Celebrity Whimbrel Now a Movie Star >
August 20: Whimbrels Amaze Us Yet Again >
August 23: Pingo Shows Poise >
August 24: Houston: The Whimbrel Has Landed >

Breakthrough Deal for Conservation Pilot Area

Bay-breasted WarblerThis summer marks the designation of the first conservation pilot area under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA). A joint initiative between environmental groups and forest industries, the CBFA represents a pledge to work together for the benefit of both the environment and the economy. As a result of this summer's agreement, which has the support of the local community and the regional First Nation, 835,000 hectares (2.1 million acres) of habitat in the Abitibi River region in Ontario's boreal forest will be free from logging, and an additional 2 million hectares (5 million acres) will be managed more sustainably. A number of forest-dwelling songbirds whose numbers are declining breed in this region, including the Olive-sided Flycatcher and Bay-breasted Warbler. This deal was a long time in the making, and we hope to see faster progress as the CBFA signatories continue to fulfill their mission.
Read Dr. Jeff Wells' blog post for background and insights >
Read The Globe and Mail article about the decision >
Find out more about the CBFA >
TAKE ACTION: Be a Boreal Watchdog >

Boreal Forest a Hot Item at RIO+20

ManitobaIn June at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, nicknamed RIO+20, leaders and citizens from around the globe gathered to discuss sustainable development. While Canada was decried by some, two significant conservation efforts in Canada's boreal forest gained praise – in particular Jean Charest's promise to protect half of northern Québec through his Plan Nord (which the newly elected Parti Québécois will continue to pursue), and the planning of a UNESCO World Heritage Site at Pimachiowin Aki, east of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba and Ontario. Millions of migratory birds that pass through our backyards rely on these two vital boreal regions, so we're pleased to see them on the global stage.
Read The Globe and Mail article about RIO+20 and Plan Nord >
Read the Winnipeg Free Press article about Pimachiowin Aki >
TAKE ACTION: Protect the Heart of the Boreal >

Boreal Science Panel: New Website, Letter

CaribouOur colleagues at the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel (IBCSP), an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Canada and the U.S., have launched a new website featuring panel members and initiatives. Their most recent action is a letter endorsing the Labrador Inuit Settlement Area (LISA) land-use plan. The plan includes stricter conservation rules in the George River caribou calving grounds, which would help protect the George River caribou herd, previously one of the largest in the world, but now diminished 90% in the last two decades. These calving grounds are adjacent to important boreal breeding grounds for several species of waterfowl and seabirds, which would also benefit from the area's protection.
Read and get background on the George River letter >

Read Dr. Jeff Wells' blog post on the topic >
Check out the new IBCSP website >

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Canada's Boreal Forest is the nesting ground for billions of America's migratory birds.



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