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

Theme: Protected areas in the boreal forest

Conserve and protect

Protected areas are an important part of Canada’s forest. They help conserve biodiversity, preserve wild areas for scientific research and environmental monitoring and stabilize surrounding ecosystems. People and communities also enjoy these areas through hiking, camping and more, where permitted.

In 2010, Canada allocated just under 12 percent of its land as protected areas, both permanent and interim, in an effort to conserve and protect the land’s “naturalness,” according to Global Forest Watch Canada. While Canada is still below the global average for allocated protected area (12.9 percent), it has recently made big progress.

This map depicts only the range of protected areas within the boreal forest where logging, mining and hydro power are currently prohibited. These areas include provincial and national parks as well as conservation regions and sanctuaries, to name a few. It may be surprising to note that under Canada’s general protected-area definition, a provincial park such as Algonquin is not always entirely protected. Only a portion of the park’s land is afforded protection, with the rest subject to forestry or other industry.

A network of protected areas

The signatories of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement have agreed to expand the protected areas in the boreal. One of the six key goals of the Agreement is the development and creation of a protected-areas network. This network will be chosen to best represent the diversity of boreal forest ecosystems and will help serve as an ecological benchmark. Signatories will also try to prevent this network from having a negative effect on timber supply.

In developing a protected-areas network, the Forest Products Association of Canada, its member companies and environmental organizations will follow a specific timeline of goals and milestones. Signatories will first look to government, First Nations and communities to help plan and identify new protected areas and will then work together to come up with a proposal for each area, to be approved by government.

For more information, visit

Future of forestry, Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement: Goals
GWF Canada, Canada's Terrestrial Protected Areas Status Report

Photos

Pink wintergreen grows in a natural boreal forest at Rock Lake Provincial Park in Alberta. © Forest Products Association of Canada
Pink wintergreen grows in a natural boreal forest at Rock Lake Provincial Park in Alberta.
© Forest Products Association of Canada