Canada's Boreal Forests

The largest intact forest in North America.

The Boreal Forest—North America’s bird nursery—is one of the largest intact forests left on Earth. Stretching from Alaska to Labrador, it provides nesting grounds and migratory stopovers for nearly half of the common bird species found in North America. Every fall, up to 5 billion birds pour out of the forest and fly south to backyards, parks, and wildlands throughout the Western Hemisphere. Caribou, bears, wolves, lynxes and wolverines, and countless other species thrive in the boreal in numbers rarely seen elsewhere.

The boreal forest captures and stores enormous amounts of carbon, especially within its soils, peatlands and permafrost. Canada’s Boreal Forest alone holds about 12 percent of the world’s land-based carbon reserves. It is home to a quarter of the world’s wetlands, with millions of lakes—including some of the largest and most pristine on Earth—and the longest free-flowing rivers remaining in North America.

Science-based conservation strategies help to protect large stretches of the boreal forest from the threats of development and the effects of climate change. Thankfully, the last 10-15 years have brought some of the world’s largest modern land-conservation designations, which protect critical habitat for tens of millions of migratory birds.

Indigenous Nations are responsible for many of the most ambitious current proposals to preserve boreal lands. Together, these Indigenous-led proposals could protect more than 100 million acres of boreal forest.

  • In the Northwest Territories, the Łutsël K’e Dene First Nation worked with the Canadian government to create the Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve, one of the biggest protected areas in the country.

  • Nearby, the Sahtu Dene plan to conserve an area 12 times the size of Yellowstone National Park across lands that store enormous amounts of carbon—the equivalent of almost 35 years of Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Several other Indigenous Nations have proposed protected areas that will preserve bird nesting grounds, caribou habitat, and wild salmon runs.


Audubon Americas is working to elevate public support for initiatives such as the Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas program and Indigenous Guardians programs across Canada. Our Boreal Conservation program is a key part of Audubon’s total-flyway conservation vision that focuses applied science to ensure that bird conservation efforts are initiated at the places and at the scales necessary to protect birds throughout their full lifecycles. The Boreal Conservation program currently has three major areas of focus:

Voices for Boreal Conservation – increasing awareness of and support for boreal conservation

Boreal Conservation Science – developing science that highlights the conservation values and priorities for the boreal forest region

Support for Indigenous-led Conservation – working in collaboration with Indigenous governments and communities to advance their conservation and land stewardship goals across the boreal forest

To stay informed on Audubon's Boreal Conservation work, sign up for updates today!  



Boreal Forests Team

Jeff Wells

Jeff Wells

Vice President, Boreal Conservation

Lane Nothman

Lane Nothman

Program Director, Boreal Conservation

Rebecca Sentner

Rebecca Sentner

Senior Communications Manager, Boreal Conservation

Carrie Gray

Carrie Gray

Boreal Conservation Specialist

Véronique Couttee

Véronique Couttee

Knowledge Transfer and Outreach Specialist (Audubon/Ducks Unlimited Canada)

Kohl Barrault

Kohl Barrault

Indigenous Collaboration Coordinator

Boreal Forest News

Fox Sparrow sitting on a tree branch.
Boreal Forests

The Fox Sparrow

By Jeff Wells
March 20, 2023 — Celebrating this beloved sparrow on World Sparrow Day!
Rainbow over Pimachiowin Aki.
Boreal Forests

A Rainbow Over Pimachiowin Aki

By Chad Wilsey
March 07, 2023 — "The Land that Gives Life"
A group of community scientists participating in the Christmas Bird Count.
Boreal Forests

Audubon’s Geoff LeBaron Speaks Before the Parliament of Canada’s Committee on Science and Research

By Rebecca Sentner
February 13, 2023
Thaidene Nene. Shot of Lutsel K'e across the water.
Boreal Forests

Behind the Lens

By Christine Lin
February 09, 2023 — Filmmaker Christine Lin details her trip to Thaidene Nene to film her upcoming documentary “Watchers of the Land”.
Carrie Gray holding a young Canada Goose in a capture pen.
Boreal Forests

Seeing the Geese in Chevron Flight

By Carrie Gray
January 13, 2023 — My story of banding Canada Geese in the Hudson Bay Lowlands
Boreal Forests

A Conservation Gift to the World Was Wrapped in Montreal

By Jeff Wells
December 20, 2022 — Reflections on COP15 and the new Global Biodiversity Framework.
Greater Yellowlegs
Boreal Forests

Deninu Kųę́ First Nation Shares Results from 2021 Acoustic Bird Survey

December 15, 2022 — Press release from the Deninu Kųę́ First Nation
The shore of James Bay.
Boreal Forests

My Great Birding Adventure

By Kohl Barrault
November 23, 2022 — Bird surveying in Northern Quebec
Boreal Forests

Fall Migration Reminds Us It is Time to Take Action on Biodiversity Loss

By Jeff Wells, Aurelio Ramos, and Sebastian Herzog.
October 06, 2022
Ross's Geese and Snow Geese
Boreal Forests

Land Worth Protecting

By James Fox and Dr. Christian Artuso.
September 01, 2022 — Indigenous-led efforts are keeping bird habitat safe in Manitoba

Finding Boreal Birds with Jeff Wells

Iconic Birds of the Boreal Forest