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Darkwoods Forest Conservation, Canada

Largest single private land conservation purchase protects 156,000 acres of Boreal forests in British Columbia

Project overview

  • Region: North America

  • Project type: Forestry and landscapes

  • Standards: VCS

Located in south-eastern British Columbia, the project began in 2008 when the project developer purchased approximately 63,000 hectares (156,000 acres) of private Boreal forest to protect it from subdivision, high-impact logging and other environmental threats. The project zones and monitors different areas of the property and targets specific areas for: strict biodiversity protection by limiting/deactivating roads, infrastructure, and activity; public access; invasive species control, conservation research, and a low level of sustainable harvesting. The project leverages carbon finance to conserve critical ecosystems and carbon sequestration areas at an unprecedented scale. 

Sustainable Development Goals

The project delivers approximately 415,000 tonnes of emissions reductions annually to help take urgent action to combat climate change (SDG 13) by avoiding the release of carbon through timber harvesting, road building and other forestry operations. In addition, the project delivers other sustainable development benefits. These include:

  • Life on Land: Due to the history of conservation-based management on the property, it is one of the most ecologically diverse forest areas in Canada. The project area is home to 39 tree or animal species at risk of extinction. The conservation of Darkwoods also protects the integrity of nearby protected lands, and helps to establish a corridor for a number of wide-ranging animals that smaller, fragmented pieces of land could not sustain. This includes an isolated population of grizzly bear, but even more notably, the area provides crucial winter habitat for the only remaining mountain caribou herd in the region, which rely on the lichen that grows only on old growth trees as well as large unfragmented forests for seasonal migrations. Southern mountain caribou numbers in British Columbia have declined by 1000 over the last thirty years. 26,000 grizzly bears inhabit the natural areas of British Columbia. This is more than half of Canada’s entire grizzly bears population.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation: Darkwoods plays a critical role in preserving freshwater systems throughout the mountainous region, influencing 17 separate watersheds, numerous streams and over 50 lakes. The forests of Darkwoods act as natural water filters and purifiers, ensuring fresh water for countless species of plants and animals, including people in nearby areas. By restored degraded ecosystems and conserving the project area, there has been continued net ecosystem services benefits such as water quality.

Although 95% of forest in Canada is government-owned land, private forest is lightly regulated with minimal land protection requirements

The restoration of temperate forests is the solution with the twelfth largest potential to combat climate change between 2020 and 2050

Project Drawdown

Southern mountain caribou numbers in British Columbia have declined by 1000 over the last thirty years

Nature Conservancy Canada

The stunning area of valleys, mountains and lakes in Darkwoods is the largest private land conservation project in Canada, protecting one of the country’s most ecologically diverse forest areas.