With more than 85 per cent of Canada’s wetlands and hundreds of wildlife species found within its expansive landscape, the boreal forest is a high priority area for conservation by Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC). Given that the region also holds vast amounts of carbon only underscores its priority.
DUC is making conservation progress in Canada’s boreal by positively influencing 121 million acres (48 million hectares) of habitat to date. But we haven’t done it alone; our partnerships are key.
In March, DUC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with longtime partner Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd, to advance our ongoing conservation and sustainable development efforts within the boreal. The MOU provides a framework for collaborative efforts that steward wetland habitats across Weyerhaeuser’s Canadian operating areas located in Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Saskatchewan.
The agreement will involve several projects and a commitment of $250,000 from Weyerhaeuser over a five-year period. It includes the continued development of best management practices designed to help protect natural habitat in this important working landscape. An inventory of wetland carbon storage will also be taken for effective carbon accounting, and a wetland stewardship report will be created to help identify current gaps in knowledge and practice that need to be addressed, and guide areas of future collaboration.
“Weyerhaeuser embraces the use of best management practices, conservation leadership and knowledge-sharing supporting our common interests, as well as the integrity of the land,” says Larry Kaumeyer, DUC’s chief executive officer.
Weyerhaeuser is one of the largest forest companies in the world and has been a long-standing and highly valued industry partner to DUC in the boreal.
For sixteen years, DUC and Weyerhaeuser have worked together to support mutual goals, starting with a $2.5 million, five-year conservation project and MOU in 2006. That initial agreement provided the resources required to gather science-based information such as data on waterfowl, water chemistry and land surveys to effectively steward waterfowl habitats and wetlands within forestry management areas where companies like Weyerhaeuser operate.
Since that first agreement. Weyerhaeuser has actively participated in boreal conservation and knowledge-sharing through their support of projects like the Evergreen Park Wetland Centre in Grande Prairie, Alta. The centre is Canada’s first outdoor hands-on site for boreal wetland training, research and demonstrations and is led by DUC in partnership with the Evergreen Learning and Innovation Society.
DUC and Weyerhaeuser also come together regularly as part of the Forest Management and Wetland Stewardship Initiative. The initiative is a partnership between many forest industry companies and organizations like DUC with the goal of advancing wetland stewardship in the boreal forest through sustainable forest management. The partnership has produced essential tools, such as a guidebook on wetland best management practices created with current science and feedback from industry experts.
Partnerships like this are essential to ensure our boreal forest remains healthy and vital for decades to come.