New Maps Highlight Manitoba Boreal Forest's Role in World's Richest Carbon

WINNIPEG, Dec. 15 /CNW Telbec/ - New data and maps released today by the Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) quantifying the carbon stored in Canada's Boreal Forest and their intactness find exceptionally high values in Manitoba. Taken together, the carbon and intactness values of Manitoba's Boreal are some of the richest in the world, especially in northern Manitoba and along the east side of Lake Winnipeg. (Maps attached below.)

According to today's data, Manitoba's Boreal Forest stores an estimated 21 to 45 Gt of carbon in its trees, soils and particularly peatlands. If this carbon were to be released, it would be equivalent to between 103 and 222 years of Canada's annual fossil fuel emissions at 2006 levels. Boreal forests store nearly twice as much carbon per acre as tropical forests, and are the largest storehouse of terrestrial carbon in the world.

In more detailed analysis, Poplar River First Nation has commissioned a ground-breaking inventory of the estimated carbon values in their 8,600 square kilometer traditional territory. The carbon estimated to be stored in the forests, soils and peatlands in their traditional territory is over 440 Mt with over 90% of that found in deep peat deposits. "Poplar River First Nation is showing how protecting our traditional territory from major development can also make a positive contribution to protecting the world's carbon stores," said Sophia Rabliauskas of Poplar River and official spokesperson of the Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site proposal.

"Manitoba is stepping up as a world leader in recognizing that Boreal forests and peatlands are big assets in the fight to address climate change," stated Larry Innes, the Canadian Boreal Initiative's Executive Director. The province recently announced a Boreal peatlands stewardship strategy which included protection for the new Kaskatamagan and Kaskatamagan Sipi Wildlife Management Areas. These carbon-rich areas are also of great significance to threatened species. Today's maps also demonstrate the high carbon values of the proposed 40,000 square kilometer Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.

The province's peatlands stewardship strategy and this carbon inventory by Poplar River First Nation are first steps towards a made-in-Manitoba solution for protecting the boreal forest and ensuring that Manitobans will benefit from future global carbon-conservation incentives. Manitoba is a great place to pilot new incentives for carbon protection in partnerships involving First Nations, government, universities, institutions and others and where First Nations carbon rights and benefits are clear.

The recently released report, "The Carbon the World Forgot", cites Canada's Boreal Forest as the most intact forest left on earth, offering a unique opportunity for plants and animals to adapt to climatic stresses, including shifting habitats. The map released today shows how Manitoba's intactness values are particularly great along the east side of Lake Winnipeg and in northern Manitoba.

Please see newly released maps below.

For full report, The Carbon the World Forgot, and resources, please visit:

The global boreal forest is the world's largest and most intact forest ecosystem left on earth, and has the world's largest terrestrial carbon stores. Seven of the ten largest intact blocks of forests globally are located in North America's Boreal Forest.

World's Remaining Intact Forests - largest in red, followed by yellow and green

Eastern and northern Manitoba's Boreal Forest and peatlands are exceptionally rich in carbon - such as the region of the proposed Pimachiowin Aki World Heritage Site and the new Kaskatamagan and Kaskatamagan Sipi Wildlife Management Areas.

Eastern and northern Manitoba's Boreal Forest is some of the most intact remaining forests on earth.


For further information: For further information: Suzanne Fraser, (613) 552-7277,; Sue Libenson, (907) 766-2841,; Larry Innes, Executive Director, (416) 575-6776, Canadian Boreal Initiative,; Steve Kallick, Director, International Boreal Conservation Campaign, Pew Environment Group, (206) 327-1184,

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