Global Forest Watch Canada has released the first ever Canada-wide assessment of human impacts on our landscape. Using government data and satellite imagery, the report maps the human footprint on all Canadian provinces and territories. The report reveals a disturbing trend: high levels of human fragmentation in most eco-zones, including the Boreal.

In the Boreal region, Alberta is the province with the highest human footprint – a whopping 62%. More than 230,000 km of Boreal plain is disturbed in Alberta, and other eco-zones are also highly fragmented. Quebec is the province in the Boreal region with the third highest human impact – more than 240,000 km of Boreal shield has been accessed. In Ontario more than 220,000km of Boreal shield have been disturbed.

As reported by the Canadian Press, Global Forest Watch also found that the areas where development rates are highest are in the tarsands region and the eastern slopes of the Rockies in Alberta, and in the heavily logged portions of Northern Quebec. In these regions, new development is pushing into previously untouched areas at a rate of 5 to 10 km a year. This is bad news for woodland caribou, which rely on pristine Boreal Forest, as well as the Broadback Valley and Montagnes Blanches Endangered Forests in Quebec. 

Peter Lee, Executive Director of Global Forest Watch Canada said: “In the past few years, the federal government has cut funding to hundreds of renowned research institutes and programs. Ottawa has dismissed thousands of federal scientists and researchers …. It is in this new reality in Canada that Global Forest Watch Canada, a non-profit organization, decided to take action on this particular monitoring need.”

To take action to protect Canada’s last remaining Boreal Forests, click here.