Scientists have identified the 1.2 billion acre Canadian boreal forest as the largest intact forest and wetland ecosystem remaining on earth. Rivaling the Amazon in size and ecological importance, Canada’s boreal supports the world's most extensive network of pure lakes, rivers and wetlands and captures and stores twice as much carbon as tropical forests. It teems with wildlife—including billions of migratory songbirds, tens of millions of ducks and geese, and millions of caribou. The Canadian boreal is an irreplaceable global treasure.
But, the boreal is under growing pressure. Recent studies have shown that globally, boreal forests are being lost faster than any other ecosystem, largely due to logging, mining and oil and gas development.
To date, The Pew Charitable Trusts has played a critical role in securing some form of protection for more than 350 million acres of Canada's boreal forest—an area three times as large as the United States National Park System. In addition, another 350 million acres are to be managed under stringent sustainable development rules.
Bold new conservation measures have come from Ontario and Quebec and other provincial governments, First Nations and federal ministries. Most recently, Pew and its partners engaged the forest products industry in what could become the largest forest conservation plan in history. The trends bode well, promising to eventually make Canada's boreal the most protected forest on earth.