Ducks Unlimited Canada
National Boreal Program
10525 170 St NW Suite 300
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
T5P 4W2

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The boreal forest and its wetlands provide many benefits. These ecosystem services include;

  • Producing food, freshwater and wood and peat resources for fuel
  • Regulating climate, water quality and quantity to reduce the economic consequences of floods and droughts
  • Providing cultural value for Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities through educational, recreational and spiritual opportunities
  • Supporting wetland ecosystems through soil and nutrient cycling, creating a broad range of habitats for species, plants and animals.

Many conservationists believe these services have intrinsic value that are worth protecting. Economists and ecologists have demonstrated that these services also have economic value. Their calculations include market value, such as hydro-electricity, timber and oil and gas. They include non-market value, such as carbon sequestration, water regulation and pest control.

The Canadian Boreal Initiative estimates $50.9 billion* of market value services are extracted from the boreal forest annually. The non-market value is an estimated $703 billion, nearly 14 times greater. Carbon storage by forests and wetlands has the highest value of all ecosystem services at $582 billion, followed by flood control and water filtering by peatlands at $77 billion and other wetlands at $33.7 billion. DUC researchers are developing methods to apply the value of ecosystem services in conservation, policy and land use planning.     *2002 value