Canada’s Reputation for Sustainable Forestry Tarnished as Provinces Fail to Protect Threatened Boreal Caribou

Canada’s provincial governments in Ontario and Quebec have failed to submit protection plans for the threatened boreal caribou, missing an October 5 deadline that was set in 2012 under Canada’s recovery strategy for the boreal caribou. Many U.S. purchasers of Canadian wood products support strong boreal caribou habitat protection; the failure to issue those plans jeopardizes Canada’s position as a global sustainability leader.

The following is a statement by Anthony Swift, Director of the Canada Project for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC):

“Canada is tarnishing its reputation for sustainable forest products by failing to protect caribou habitat. Now that the provinces have failed to act, Prime Minister Trudeau must step up to protect one of the world’s last great forests, and with it, some of North America’s most iconic animals and the way of life of hundreds of Indigenous Peoples’ communities.”

Boreal Caribou Facts:

  • Boreal caribou populations across Canada have declined due in large part to habitat loss from rampant industrial activity—particularly logging.
  • Each day forestry companies log an average of 3,858 acres of boreal forest—the equivalent of 2,923 American football fields—much of it occurring in boreal caribou habitat.
  • Boreal caribou are an indicator species for the overall health of Canada’s boreal forest. The boreal forest is one of the world’s last great intact forests, and its soil is a vast carbon store—helping to stave off worsening climate change.
  • The boreal caribou, which is an icon of Canada’s wilderness and vital to many Indigenous communities, been listed as threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA) since 2003 but has received little meaningful protection.
  • The Canadian government’s own reports show that only 14 of Canada’s 51 boreal caribou herds are self-sustaining in the long-term. If trends continue, 30% of boreal caribou could disappear in the next 15 years.

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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