Eastern North American Forests

Extending from northern New York State in the U.S. to the Northern Boreal Forest in northern Ontario in Canada, this region includes some of the largest intact ecosystems in the world, namely the largest wetlands in North America and the largest intact temperate forest on Earth. They are key to conserving biodiversity and buffering against the impacts of climate change.


This key wilderness faces serious threats from development, habitat loss, fragmentation, and the changing climate.

Our Goal

Use the needs of wildlife to shape the current and future human footprint across this landscape.

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Photo Credit: ©Ken Abraham

How Will We Get There?

Careful land use planning and management, at the regional and community scale, to support the needs of wildlife, to ensure natural processes persist, and that the natural resources on which livelihoods of local communities depend are sustained. This must be accomplished while considering emerging economic and development demands such as mining and roads and the cumulative impacts of human use across the landscape.

Our strategies include:

Why WCS?

WCS brings an unparalleled understanding of the conservation needs of the region's wildlife, gained through groundbreaking field studies and filling information gaps. This enables us to be a trusted science advisor to decision-makers and to bring stakeholders together to address threats at the local and regional scale.

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Photo Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

What's at Stake?

.09 people per square kilometer

Ontario’s Northern Boreal Forest is three times the size of New York State, yet its human population is sparse—only .09 people per square kilometer (among them 39,000 Cree and Ojibway First Nations in 34 remote communities). It’s a stronghold for wide-ranging species at risk such as caribou, wolverine, and polar bears.

6 million acres

Adirondack Park is the largest and oldest protected area in the lower 48 states. It was founded in 1892 and, at six million acres, it’s larger than Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, and Glacier Parks combined. Black bear, bobcat, and moose roam across it and tens of thousands of birds depend on the landscape for breeding and habitat. 130,000 people live in the Park amongst the 100 towns and villages, and millions of people visit each year to enjoy its waterways, mountains, and large forested areas.


In Action

Frequent human-bear interactions have made protecting food from wildlife essential on backpacking trips to New York's Adirondack Park, visited annually by five to ten million visitors. WCS efforts to reduce conflicts between people and bears in this region began in 2002. WCS research led directly to a New York State law mandating bear-proof canister use by backpackers in an area of the Adirondacks with the highest concentration of human-bear interactions. Today, over 90% of backpackers comply with the canister regulation and human-bear interactions have declined dramatically from an average of 400 encounters per year to fewer than 150, a 65% decline.

Read More

Read more:
WCS Canada
WCS North America


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