Many of these species are among our most loved and familiar—birds like the Common Loon, the American Black Duck, the Evening Grosbeak, and the White-throated Sparrow. Clearly their futures are dependent on the decisions we make today about the Boreal’s future.
Sadly, even this great Canadian legacy is not immune to the loss and degradation we hear about daily from across the globe. By some estimates, at least 25% of Canada’s Boreal has already been impacted by industrial disturbances while only 12% is protected. Many Boreal dependent birds have experienced major declines—some as high as 70, 80, or 90% in the last 40 years. Species like the Olive-sided Flycatcher, Canada Warbler, Bay-breasted Warbler, and Evening Grosbeak are among those whose populations have dropped by 60-80%. Already the Olive-sided Flycatcher and Canada Warbler have been recommended for listing under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
But the good news is that Canada’s Boreal Forest does still remain largely intact. These bird-filled forests are also one of earth’s most significant insurance policies against global warming. The Boreal Forest globally stores more carbon than any other terrestrial ecosystem and its large intact forests, peatlands, and wetlands provide the places that animals and plants will require for survival as they are pushed north by increasing temperatures. That makes it one of the world’s last and greatest opportunities for planning ahead to ensure healthy ecosystems endure that sustain birds and wildlife and the communities that have lived with them beyond memory.
As this petition demonstrates, the people of Canada and its neighbors care deeply about the future of Canada’s great northern treasure and to the birds that call it home. We are grateful for the recent leadership in Ontario and Quebec to move this public support into action by calling for 50% protection of Boreal ecosystems and hope that other leaders will follow suit.