The Western Boreal Forest (WBF) is the second most important waterfowl breeding area in North America, next to the Prairie Pothole Region. This unique landscape is publicly owned and under the jurisdiction of Canadian federal, provincial, or territorial governments.
The Western Boreal Forest Program, had been supported administratively by the Prairie Habitat Joint Venture since 2001. The NAWMP Continental Assessment (2007) agreed that this vital area should receive greater attention, as did the 2007-2012 PHJV Implementation Plan. Following a special forum in 2008, the region was formally incorporated as a separate focus area under the PHJV, and approved by NAWCC Canada and the NAWMP Plan Committee.
Embracing conservation leadership in the Western Boreal Forest materially raised the importance of the PHJV in continental waterfowl conservation. New capacities were brought to bear from both NGO and government staffs and programs, but new challenges were also apparent. Much less was known about factors affecting waterfowl populations and productivity in the boreal forest, and new approaches were needed to secure habitats for the future. New science investments were thus essential to help guide these initiatives.