Ducks Unlimited Canada

Ducks Unlimited Canada

September 17, 2008 18:33 ET

Seeing the Forest for the Ducks and Much More

National Forest Week 2008 great reason to celebrate a national treasure

OAK HAMMOCK MARSH, MANITOBA--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2008) - It has been referred to as one of Canada's national treasures. Parts of it are called the working forest because it supports natural resource industries. With up to 40 per cent of North America's waterfowl annually migrating to the western boreal forest to breed, you can understand why Ducks Unlimited Canada has declared it as one of the continent's top waterfowl conservation priority areas.

On a global scale, the boreal forest is the world's largest land-based ecosystem. In Canada, this great forest stretches through three territories and almost every province, covering three million square kilometres or almost two-thirds of the country. It is home to millions of waterfowl, birds and wildlife. An estimated 3.5 million Canadians live within the western boreal forest. Resource extraction and recreational activities in the western boreal forest contribute billions of dollars to the economy. At least 33 per cent of the western boreal forest is comprised of wetlands, which filter our water and help to provide clean, secure water sources for all Canadians; moderate the effects of droughts, floods, climate change, and erosion; and have the potential to remove and store greenhouse gases from the Earth's atmosphere. For these and many other reasons, the western boreal forest deserves to be celebrated during National Forest Week, September 21-27, 2008.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) works with various partners to find solutions to limit the impact on this great forest. "DUC supports a balanced approach that promotes protection and strategic development," says Eric Butterworth, manager of territorial and boreal operations for DUC's Western Boreal Program based in Edmonton, Alta. "Most of the western boreal forest is intact, but many parts of this resource-rich forest are experiencing increased pressures, including forest management, agriculture, climate change, hydroelectric development, and oil, gas and mineral extraction,". Butterworth notes that although the forest is important to waterfowl, other wildlife and many communities, less than 10 per cent is protected from development.

DUC's investment in this forest is worth it because North America's waterfowl need it. Songbirds and other wildlife need it. Communities that make their home there need it. All of Canada needs it. It is important that we all work together to ensure this great forest and its wetlands remain healthy and vibrant. There is a lot that we can do to support the conservation of the western boreal forest - join DUC as a member, write to your local, provincial, territorial and federal politicians, or reduce your own footprint on the forest if you are in it. During National Forest Week this year, it is important not only to celebrate what the forest has already and continues to offer us, but what we can do to keep this great forest together and intact for wildlife, our communities, and yes, for the ducks.

Additional information about the western boreal forest and Ducks Unlimited Canada can be found at ducks.ca.

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