World Wildlife Day calls for a reminder of the role forests play in preserving and protecting Canada’s wildlife.
Canada is home to about 80,000 species. Canada’s Boreal Forest alone is host to over 85 species of mammals and 32,000 insects. An estimated 3 billion birds breed in the boreal forest each year and as the largest intact forest on earth, many other species rely on the Boreal forest for their habitat, food and shelter. Across Canada, many species face numerous threats to survival. Populations of the at-risk species in Canada have declined 59% on average from 1970-2016 which is why restoring and protecting biodiverse forests will remain a powerful tool for Canada to mitigate species decline and adapt to climate change.
Forests provide many benefits to wildlife, and here are a few:
1. Habitat: As noted, forests provide critical habitats for many wildlife species, including birds, mammals, reptiles, and insects. Many species rely on specific forest types for their survival. For example, Boreal forests are essential to the survival of caribou and wolves.
Through biodiversity and species analysis, Canada’s Forest Trust Corporation (CFT) is planting Smart Forests that provide optimal habitats for regional and migratory species.
2. Food and Shelter: Forests provide food and shelter for wildlife species. Many animals feed on plants, fruits, and nuts in the forest, while trees, logs, and rocks provide shelter and nesting sites for many species.
Every CFT Smart Forest that is planted and preserved will undergo regular auditing and maintenance to maintain the integrity of its food and shelter for wildlife.
3. Climate Regulation: Forests play a critical role in regulating the climate by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They also cool Mother Earth through the evapotranspiration of trees. This helps to mitigate the impacts of climate change, which can have devastating effects on wildlife.
A recent report by the World Wildlife Fund found that “lands managed by Indigenous populations were better at supporting a diverse range of at-risk species, and said the Canadian government must elevate the importance and sovereignty of Indigenous conservation efforts.”
This is a major tenet of our approach. As the original stewards of the land, we bring together time-tested traditional knowledge of Indigenous partners, combined with innovation in the fields of forestry, soil and climate science. This ensures the Smart Forests we plant remain resilient and climate-smart.
Wildlife preservation and healthy, sustainable forests are inextricably linked. For Canada’s wildlife to live and thrive, the way Canada approaches the planting and nurturing of its forests is the only path forward.
To learn more about Canada’s Forest Trust Smart Forest Solutions head to www.canadasforesttrust.ca