The Boreal Forest

Facts about Canada’s Boreal Forest:

Percentage of land in Canada covered by boreal forest: 53%

Canada's Boreal forest comprises about one third of the circumpolar boreal forest that rings the northern hemisphere.

Percentage of the world’s boreal forests that lie within Canada’s borders: 25%

Litres of water absorbed and filtered in the boreal forest every day: several million

Percentage of the world’s unfrozen fresh water supply found in Canada’s boreal forest: 80%

The boreal forest is a major source of North America’s fresh water and shields us from global warming by storing large quantities of carbon in its trees and soils.

The boreal is home to 14 per cent of Canada’s population – approximately 3.5 million people. More than 600 Indigenous communities are located in the boreal.

Number of lakes distributed throughout the boreal forest: 1.5 million

Boreal Birds: Approximately 325 species of birds rely on the boreal at some point in their lives, with nearly all of them regularly breeding in the region (approximately 5 billion birds breed in the boreal).

Percentage of Canada’s bird population that can be found in the boreal regions: 60%

Percentage of North America’s migratory waterfowl using the boreal forest: 40%

Boreal Mammals: The boreal is home to bears, wolves, moose, wolverine, coyote, wood bison, beavers, deer and some of the largest remaining herds of caribou – not to mention many smaller animals like rabbits, foxes and badgers.

The area is dominated by coniferous forests, particularly spruce, interspersed with vast wetlands, mostly bogs and fens.

Habitat: Number of tree species in the boreal region: approximately 20

Number of species of fungi growing in boreal forests around the globe: 5,000

Age of the oldest lichen growing in the boreal forest: 100 years

Dominant tree species include: White and Black Spruce, Jack Pine, Tamarack, Balsam Fir, Balsam Poplar, White Birch, and Trembling Aspen

Water bodies include: bogs, fens, marshes, shallow lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

Percentage of boreal forest that has been allocated to industry: more than 30%

Percentage of logging in Canada’s boreal forest that is clearcutting: 90%

Percentage of boreal region within a kilometer of a road: 30%