Published since 1946
New Boreal Partnership Provides Local and Global Benefits
The boreal forest is the largest contiguous forest landscape on Earth. It stretches from the Atlantic coast of Canada to the Bering Sea in Alaska and from the Great Lakes to the arctic. It is the largest source of surface fresh water on the planet and vast amounts of carbon are stored in the soil and vegetation across this landscape. The boreal forest provides critical breeding grounds for millions of migratory birds and year-round habitat for thousands of species, many of which are important to the economy and cultures of people living in northern Canada and Alaska. Although the human population density across the boreal remains low, impacts from climate change and resource extraction are accelerating. That’s why collaborative approaches like the recently announced partnership agreement between Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and Louisiana-Pacific Building Solutions (LP) are vitally important to conservation at both the local and global scale.
DUC and LP have worked together since 2001 to inventory wetlands and other habitat that supports waterfowl using DUC’s Enhanced Wetland Classification (EWC) system. The EWC allows mapping of key habitats so forestry operations can avoid or minimize impacts to these critical areas. DUC and LP have also developed new management practices to conserve wetlands and waterfowl habitat. In addition, the two groups have developed a novel method of estimating carbon stores in boreal wetlands. Determining the carbon capture and storage capacity of boreal wetlands is critical to understanding the role this landscape can play in mitigating global climate change.
Most recently, DUC and LP signed a 10-year agreement covering 6.2 million acres of Manitoba’s boreal forest. Under the agreement and within the 6.2 million acre area, LP and DUC have committed to the overarching goal of conserving wetlands, waterfowl, and waterfowl habitat through implementation of sustainable land use practices. The agreement demonstrates DUC’s and LP’s shared commitment to wetland stewardship through planning and implementation of best management practices associated with timber harvest in the boreal forest. In addition, a DUC/LP stewardship report developed in tandem with the agreement has been endorsed by the Sustainable Forest Initiative ®, the Forest Products Association of Canada, the LP Swan Valley Stakeholders Advisory Committee, and an Elder from the Pine Creek First Nation.
“Partnerships like these are at the forefront of wetland and waterfowl conservation as they continue to advance methods of operating sustainably in the boreal forest,” said Karla Guyn, CEO of Ducks Unlimited Canada. Brad Southern, CEO of LP added, “Early on in our forest management operations in Manitoba, we recognized the benefit of working with organizations like DUC to ensure we have the right information in support of our sustainability efforts.”
Collaborative efforts like the recently announced conservation agreement between DUC/LP, stemming from a partnership that started in 2001, demonstrate that conservation and natural resource use are not mutually exclusive. A shared commitment to stewardship can benefit both the environment and the economy. By applying best management practices to their operations in Manitoba, LP is not just addressing the needs of local communities and resource users. The migratory birds that summer in this part of the boreal forest will spread the benefits of this partnership across the western hemisphere to Central and South America.
Wildlife Management Institute (WMI) President Steve Williams pointed to the DUC/LP partnership as a role model for other conservation organizations and businesses. “Much of the North American landscape was developed with little thought about how timber harvest, mining, energy extraction, or agriculture would affect wildlife or habitat. Today, we’re paying the high costs associated with loss of biodiversity and restoration of ecosystem functions. In the boreal forest, we have the chance to do things right, from the outset.” WMI is proud to congratulate DUC and LP for their joint stewardship of a part of Manitoba’s boreal forest.