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Boreal Forest Gets Unprecedented Conservation Agreement by Ducks Unlimited Canada and LP Building Solutions

An 18 Year Partnership Delivers Unique Approach to Wetland Conservation in Manitoba

Performance is written into everything we do at LP Building Solutions. This goes beyond the way our team members do their jobs, how we manufacture our products and the drive to deliver building solutions. We also watch, measure and steward our environmental performance. Sustainable sourcing and energy efficiency are just two ways we act as stewards of our environmental performance, but recently Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and LP signed a landmark conservation agreement to support 6.2 million acres in Manitoba’s boreal forest. This agreement is the culmination of an 18-year  partnership between the two organizations that was jointly released in January 2020.

The below is article was drafted by our friends at DUC and originally appeared on their website.

“Ducks Unlimited Canada’s (DUC) more than 80-year history has been written by progressive and innovative people who believe in the importance of wetlands and other natural spaces. By partnering with those who share our passions, and who possess unique perspectives on how to deliver conservation solutions on the landscapes we share, DUC can make the greatest positive impact on the wildlife and wild places at the heart of our work.” – Karla Guyn, CEO, Ducks Unlimited Canada

The Boreal Forest

Canada’s boreal forest contains important nesting, rearing, molting, staging and migration habitat for waterfowl. Twenty-three species and nearly 30% of breeding season waterfowl counted in North America are found in the western boreal forest. Upwards of 80% of the continent’s waterfowl use this region during molting and migration periods, including between 25% and 40% of the world’s tundra and trumpeter swans. Functional forest ecosystems are thus vital for waterfowl and wetland conservation.

Climate, forest, water, and people are the four elemental components that make up the fabric of forest ecosystems. Wetlands and forest management activities intersect in several ways. For example, wetlands can affect road construction and maintenance costs, worker and public safety. Forest management activities have the potential to affect wetland quality, wetland quantity, and wetland/watershed hydrology across the landscape.

Partnerships

With a 1.3-billion-acre region to conserve spanning from the Yukon’s northwest border to Labrador, Canada’s boreal forest is our national treasure. But we can’t do it alone! Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and LP Building Solutions (LP) have worked together in Manitoba’s boreal forest for 18 years. Since 2001, we have partnered to inventory more than 6.2 million acres of waterfowl supporting habitat in the area. That’s an area larger than the state of Vermont and about half the size of Nova Scotia.

Now, DUC and LP are taking their partnership to unprecedented heights with a one-of-a-kind stewardship agreement and report that demonstrates a shared commitment to wetland stewardship in Manitoba’s boreal forest. Through planning and operational wetland best management practices, the partnership is working proactively to support those 6.2 million acres of boreal wetlands in a way that is both sustainable and maintains the ecosystem integrity of the habitat.

Stewards of the Forest

LP is an international engineered wood products company that is certified to Sustainable Forestry Initiative®(SFI®) Standards and has managed forestlands in Manitoba’s boreal forest since 1996. LP’s commitment to being good stewards of the forest led them to actively seek a partnership with DUC in 2001. As part of the new stewardship agreement, LP will continue to implement planning and operational wetland best management practices (BMP) on the 6.2 million acres of Manitoba-based boreal forest the company operates in and will modify their approach annually based on new applicable science.

“Together we have mapped over 6.2 million acres of boreal forest in Manitoba, surveyed thousands of wetlands for waterfowl, spent countless hours learning from each other about wetlands and forest operations, designed road crossings that allow wetlands to function properly, published a widely used, first-of-its kind boreal wetland field guide, and developed a new method for measuring carbon in wetlands.” –  Brad Southern, CEO, LP Building Solutions

Tools and Best Management Practices

Since the partnership’s conception in 2001, LP and DUC have developed numerous tools which benefit wetland conservation, including a novel method of estimating carbon stores in boreal wetlands. Using this method, 250 million tonnes of organic carbon is estimated to be held in the soil layer contained within the wetlands of Forest Management License Area (FML) #3, located 220 km northwest of Winnipeg. This accounted for 75% of the carbon across the combined upland-wetland landscape of the project area. Determining the carbon storage capacity of a wetland is critical to understanding its role in mitigating global climate change. This information can also drive habitat management decisions on habitat conservation, a significant component during forest management planning and operational processes.

©DUC

This exploration of finding new ways to improve forest management and planning operations has led to the development of many products aimed at making those BMPs accessible to other organizations.

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