Implementing the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement

CPAWS is playing a lead role across Canada in implementing this ambitious agreement signed by environmental groups and forestry companies in 2010 to conserve caribou habitat within 72 million hectares of Boreal forest.

What is the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement?

Signed in May 2010, the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) commits the 24 member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) to work collaboratively with CPAWS and other environmental groups to achieve these major conservation goals, among others:

  • Establish networks of new protected areas and improve industry conservation practices on the landscapes surrounding them;
  • Protect  habitat of species at risk of extinction, most notably woodland caribou;
  • Protect the natural characteristics and functions of forests that help regulate our climate
  • Improve prosperity of the Canadian forest sector and the communities that depend on it.

The CBFA applies to 72 million hectares of Boreal forest stretching from Newfoundland to British Columbia that are tenured to the forest companies involved in the agreement. This amounts to an area the size of Alberta and includes some of the most immediately threatened Boreal wilderness in Canada.

What CPAWS is doing

CPAWS has a long track record of working with the forest industry to improve conservation within Canada’s forests.

Prior to the creation of the CBFA, we were founding members of the Boreal Leadership Council in 2003 and were integral in creating the Ontario Forest Accord, resulting in the protection of 2.4 million hectares of public wilderness in 1999. In Manitoba, we negotiated a 50 year protection of caribou habitat by Tembec, in the habitat of the Owl Lake caribou population. In Québec, we collaborated with the forest industry, through the FSC certification process, to develop protected area proposals in the Abitibi and Nord-du-Québec regions. We led the environmental community’s contribution to developing Forest Stewardship Council national standards for socially and environmentally sensitive boreal forestry practices in 2004.

In recent years, we’ve led negotiations on behalf of conservation groups with the Nova Scotia government and the forest industry, resulting in on-going expansion of the province’s protected areas system . We’re also working with the influential Irving company to gain better forest conservation measures in New Brunswick.

Since signing the CBFA, CPAWS staff across Canada have been deeply involved in the negotiations and technical conservation planning with forestry companies and others to implement the Agreement across Canada, including:

  • Newfoundland:  We founded a regional working group and secured interim deferral of caribou habitat from logging in a 2 million hectare tenure managed by Corner Brook Pulp and Paper.  Now we’re working to secure long-term protection of large intact forests that represent the majority of caribou habitat on the island.
  • Quebec:  We’re working with forest companies and local First Nations for long-term protection of intact critical caribou habitat in the Lac St. Jean region.
  • Ontario:  With Tembec, CPAWS led in negotiations to develop the first major achievement under the CBFA – a caribou action plan announced in June 2012 for northeastern Ontario’s Abitibi River Forest that won government approval with its conservation of 800,000 hectares of critical caribou habitat, and increase in wood supply for local mills.
  • Manitoba:  We’re working with local First Nations and forest company Tolko to develop science-based conservation proposals for the largest forestry tenure in Canada, containing tens of thousands of square kilometers of intact boreal forest. 
  • Saskatchewan:  We’ve built support for the agreement with government and have been joined by local First Nations interested in developing conservation plans. We’ve developed joint recommendations to government on caribou recovery approaches and are working with First Nations and Weyerhaeuser to develop science-based caribou habitat protection proposals that will be finalized over the next year.
  • Alberta:  We’re working with forest companies AlPac and Millar Western on caribou conservation plans that will also provide them with adequate wood supply within their tenures in the province’s northeastern Athabasca Region.
  • British Columbia:  We’re finalizing an initial planning area with Canfor, Conifex, Louisiana Pacific and West Fraser forestry companies and are reaching out to local First Nations communities in the area to gauge their interest and support.


For more information on the CBFA, please contact Chris Henschel, CPAWS Forest Program Director at chenschel@cpaws.org



Population Critical: How are Canada’s Boreal Woodland Caribou Faring? (2013)

In our first annual assessment of how well provinces and territories are doing in meeting their obligations to protect boreal caribou since the federal recovery strategy for the species was released in 2012, the majority get bottom marks for lagging so far behind in protecting one of Canada’s most iconic species at risk.

Canadian Wilderness Fall 2013 (2013)

This issue of Canadian Wilderness commemorates what CPAWS has accomplished in its first half century. It profiles some of the leaders who have built our organization over those 50 years and some of the staff and volunteers who carry on that tradition today.

Stay updated

Never miss your chance to make a difference! Enter your e-mail address here to get CPAWS news and actions delivered right to your inbox.