Birch River Wildland Provincial Park
Birch River, AB (Photo by NCC)
A unique partnership brought together by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) has created a 3,300-square-kilometre conserved area in northeast Alberta. A series of agreements between the Tallcree Tribal Government, NCC, the governments of Alberta and Canada and Syncrude Canada contributed to the creation of the new Birch River Wildland Provincial Park. The park borders the southern boundary of Wood Buffalo National Park.
The protected area measures 67,735 square kilometres. When added to other contiguous conserved lands in the area, it is now part of the largest stretch of protected boreal forest on the planet.
Canada’s boreal zone is part of a wide, green band that encircles the globe’s northern latitudes. Nearly a third of the world’s boreal zone lies within Canada, and its forest teems with life. The boreal forest provides us with clean air and water. It is also a nursery for billions of migratory birds and act as the planet’s largest terrestrial carbon sink. This forest plays a major role in regulating the global climate. Keeping carbon stored in the ground and out of the atmosphere is one of the most important and easiest ways we can prevent climate change from worsening.
The Birch River Wildland Park is a haven for 68 species of conservation concern, including three that are listed under the federal Species at Risk Act. This includes peregrine falcon (special concern), wood bison (threatened) and woodland caribou (threatened). The wildland park encompasses 13 per cent of the core habitat for the Red Earth caribou range.
Birch River will directly contribute to Canada Target 1 — the nation’s pledge to the world to conserve 25 per cent of our land and inland waters by 2025. Conservation at this scale also reinforces a region’s ability to adapt to climate change.
The Nature Conservancy of Canada acknowledges and thanks the Tallcree Tribal Government for working with us to achieve this important goal.
We are grateful for the funding support that has made the Birch River project possible. Syncrude Canada, the Government of Canada (through the Natural Areas Conservation Program), the Schad Foundation and others have generously contributed funds to this project.