Conserving the Boreal Forest and Protecting Migratory Bird Nurseries

Nothing is quite as impressive as the annual migration of billions of birds as they fly south from North America’s Boreal Forest where they’ve nested and they’ve raised young.  The Boreal Forest is one of the largest intact forest regions on earth and is home to thousands of bird species for breeding.

These forest nurseries are critical to the survival of migratory birds, as well as many other plants and animals.  However, the forest region is in danger from industrial disturbance and climate change.

A new report entitled, Charting a Healthy Future for North America’s Birds, indicates that natural resource industries such as mining, forestry and oil extraction have already impacted some 730 000 km 2 of these important migratory bird nesting grounds.   Critical habitats are being degraded and destroyed, threatening the survival of migratory bird species.

The joint report by authors from Ducks Unlimited, the Boreal Songbird Initiative, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Environment for the Americas and the University of Manitoba calls for international agreement between the Canadian and United State’s governments to take action and protect at least 50% of the Boreal Forest.

The report’s authors point out that the North American Boreal Forest presents a unique opportunity to conserve and protect large portions of pristine and intact bird habitats.  These are some of the last remaining pristine habitats on earth, and luckily, they are governed by two wealthy countries, Canada and the U.S.

By investing in bird research, engaging indigenous populations in land-use management, and committing to stronger conservation efforts that maintain intact habitats, Canadian and U.S. governments can ensure the well being of billions of important bird species and protect a spectacular forest region for years to come.

For the full report visit:

For more information on the North American Boreal Forest Initiative visit:

For an overview of the report visit: Pope, A. (2016, August 10).  Report calls for international cooperation to protect migratory birds.  Canadian Geographic.  URL:

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