Biodiversity

Decrease in Canada’s large intact forest landscapes between 2000 and 2013

(2016-07-05) Global Forest Watch Canada has just released its newest iteration of Canada’s intact forest landscapes layer, noting a significant decrease in their area. Intact forest landscapes are becoming increasingly rare at the global level. They are also growing in importance as reference points for understanding managed forest landscapes and designing management schemes that preserve or restore significant aspects of the natural forest landscape.

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Canada's Intact Forest Landscapes Updated to 2013 (Bulletin)

(2016-07-05) Intact Forest Landscapes (IFLs) are the last remaining areas of forest and non-forest ecosystems that are at least 500 km2 in size and untouched by roads or other significant human activity. Canada, together with Russia and Brazil, contain 65% of all the world’s IFLs. But these pristine forests are becoming increasingly disturbed, and research shows that even without deforestation this degradation and fragmentation is enough to threaten biodiversity around the world. Global Forest Watch Canada (GFWC) has recently updated its IFL data to 2013, using the best available data, including Landsat satellite imagery and Environment Canada disturbance data.

GFWC found that:

  • Almost 5% (216,199 km2) of Canada’s IFLs were degraded or fragmented by human activity between 2000 and 2013. IFLs covered 4.5 million km2 of Canada in 2000 compared to 4.3 million km2 in 2013.
  • Four provinces—Quebec, Alberta, Ontario, and British Columbia—accounted for 71% of the 216,199 kmof human disturbances. 
  • 11.7% (just over 500,000 km2) of IFLs were located within forestry tenures as of 2013.
  • 25.5% of Canada’s forestry tenures were covered by IFLs in 2013.
  • 17.5% (750,851 km2) of 2013 IFLs were located within interim and permanent protected areas. 

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Gorillas in the Rainforests of Central Africa

(2016-05-31) At GFWC, we focus on Canadian forests. But before being E.D. of GFWC, I spent many years working in tropical rainforests as well. During 2004, I had the privilege to see western lowland gorillas in their natural habitat. The sad death of Harambe, the western lowland gorilla, took me back to the year of my PhD research in Cameroon (2003-2004), where I looked at logging activities in the lowland rainforests of Central Africa,specifically in Cameroon. While there, I took four days and went "on holiday" to the Dzanga-Sangha Reserve in the Central African Republic, where I tracked gorillas, watched forest elephants, and went on a hunt with the baka. A truly privileged time in my life.  See the short recollection and video on the international Global Forest Watch Stories site and the longer video that is included here. -Wynet

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Northern Alberta Conservation Atlas

(2014-09-03) Global Forest Watch Canada conducted a made-in-Alberta approach to the mapping and analysis of the conservation values of the boreal region of northern Alberta, an area comprising more than 2/3 of Alberta. We examined natural landscape features, wildlife and human disturbances and ranked the condition, diversity, ecological function and special features of the entire study area.

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Atlas of land cover, industrial land uses and industrial-caused land change in the Peace Region of British Columbia

(2012-12-13) Oil and gas development, logging, mines, large dams and other industrial infrastructure are having an alarming impact on natural areas and wildlife habitat in the booming Peace Region of northeastern British Columbia; a new science study released today shows. Global Forest Watch Canada's new report also maps industrial changes over the last 38 years from satellite imagery.

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Mapping Disturbances and Restoration-Protection Opportunities for Woodland Caribou within the James Bay Region of Northern Québec

(2011-12-05) This study was conducted because the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) expressed concerns about the potential devastating effects of industrial developments on woodland caribou within their traditional territory (in the James Bay region of northern Québec). The first report finds that with the current increasing rate of industrial disturbances in combination with forest fires, the prospect of these caribou supporting self-sustaining local populations in the near future appears to be declining rapidly. The second report maps restoration-protection opportunities for the caribou. 

At the International Society of Conservation Biology Conference in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 2011, representatives from the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee) in Québec, Canada presented on the dramatic scientific evidence produced by Global Forest Watch Canada in these reports.

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Conservation-type areas in the Draft Lower Athabasca Regional Plan, Alberta: Implications for whooping crane and woodland caribou

(2011-09-22) The Alberta Government's recently announced Draft Lower Athabasca Regional Plan 2011-2021 allocates much more area to oil sands leases than to conservation areas for whooping cranes and woodland caribou, according to this Global Forest Watch Canada report.

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Canada's Terrestrial Protected Areas Status Report 2010: Number, Area and "Naturalness"

(2011-06-29) This study found that Canada has set aside only 8.5 percent (84.5 million hectares) of its land mass in permanent protected areas. This is more than four percent lower than the global average of 12.9 percent and more than six percent lower than the United States at 14.8 percent. The report also offers the first assessment of some of the significant recent progress in protecting Canada's wilderness between 2000 and 2010, the first decade of the 21st century.
 

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A Forest of Blue: Canada's Boreal Forest, the World's Waterkeeper

(2011-03-18) A first of its kind report published by the Pew Environment Group and co-authored by GFWC's Peter Lee and Ryan Cheng reveals that Canada's boreal, the world's largest intact forest and on-land carbon storehouse, contains more unfrozen freshwater than any other ecosystem. As United Nations' International Year of Forests and World Water Day coincide, world leaders are grappling with water scarcity and pollution - and scientists are calling boreal protection a top global priority.

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Castle Area Forest Land Use Zone: Linear Disturbances, Access Densities and Grizzly Bear Habitat Security Areas

(2011-03-09) This report examines linear disturbances in the Castle Area Forest Land Use Zone of southwestern Alberta and analyzes these disturbances for: their use by motorized vehicles; the Government of Alberta's management and policy intentions compared to actual use by motorized vehicles, and; their potential impact on key grizzly bear areas.

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