The Boreal Deal - A new era of joint leadership in the boreal forest

Theme: Our nation’s boreal zone

Diverse resource

Sweeping across most of the northern hemisphere, including North America, Europe and Asia, the boreal forest covers approximately 16.6 million square kilometres directly south of the Arctic Circle. Within Canada’s massive boreal forest is almost 30 percent, or 307 million hectares, of the world’s boreal forest cover, from the Yukon and northeastern British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador.

The boreal forest is teeming with wildlife and diverse ecosystems. An estimated two-thirds of Canada’s 140,000 species of plants, animals and micro-organisms inhabit the boreal forest, including some 20 species of coniferous and deciduous trees, large mammals such as the woodland caribou and more than half of the country’s bird species.

While most of this ecologically varied band of forest has not been accessed, it is a valued resource. Canada’s boreal forest is harvested at a rate of 0.2 percent annually. This represents half of the nation’s total yearly cut, with roughly one-third of one percent of Canada’s commercial forests harvested each year.

Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

As the world’s largest conservation effort, addressing more than 72 million hectares, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement takes boreal stewardship to new heights, and signatories are hopeful it will serve as a global model for conservation and sustainable resource management.

Some of the Agreement’s key commitments will be put into action in the short term, including developing ecosystem-based management practices and reaching out to governments and communities for involvement and support.

Timber harvesting and road building have already been suspended in portions of the tenures of the signatory forest-products companies in order to protect and plan for conservation of the threatened boreal woodland caribou.

For more information, visit

Canadian Geographic feature: War for the woods
NRCAN, Boreal forest


The boreal forest is home to a many diverse ecosystems. © Wayne Sawchuck
The boreal forest is home to a many diverse ecosystems.
© Wayne Sawchuck