About Canada's Boreal
To many, the vast northern landscape of Canada's Boreal Forest is an untouched ecosystem, but to 14 per cent of Canada's population, the Boreal is home. The natural wealth of the Boreal has vital significance to the Aboriginal peoples who have woven their existence into the rhythm of the forest for hundreds of years. The animals of the forest provide food, shelter and clothing. The trees offer fuel for heat and the diverse network of plants is used for healing.
More than 600 First Nations communities are scattered throughout the Boreal. Although many are involved in the forestry industry, these communities have a unique set of priorities. According to the National Aboriginal Forestry Association, they generally favour holistic or multiple-use forestry, which implies the rebuilding and the sustainable development of the forest resource to serve a multitude of community needs. These include the protection of wildlife and traditional food habitat, protection of fur bearers, protection of clean and adequate supplies of water, establishment of forested areas for recreation and tourism attractions, traditional cultural and spiritual use, as well as the production of fibre for timber, pulp and paper and other wood by-products. Key to the concept of holistic forestry is the idea of community based strategies for transforming this resource ethic into reality.
The Canadian Boreal Initiative has been partnering with a number of First Nations communities across the country in support of land use and conservation planning. These partnerships are critical to our ability to achieve a long-term vision for the Boreal that sustains both the ecosystem and the communities that depend on it.