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University of Alberta

Laval University


Memorial University


Mapping Intactness

This study is a review and comparison of existing global and regional datasets that quantify intactness in the boreal region of Canada.

The Canadian BEACONs Project uses Global Forest Watch Canada's (GFWC) Forest Landscape Fragments map ( as a measure of intactness for delineating ecological benchmarks and designing reserve networks across the boreal forest. The Forest Landscape Fragments map identifies all remaining intact forests that are greater than 5,000 ha in the boreal region and greater than 1,000 ha in the adjacent temperate region. Intact areas represent areas without detectable human influence, and therefore, these areas may be suitable benchmarks for human activity.

BEACONs uses intact areas as one criterion for identifying ecological benchmarks in the boreal region. However, there are other ways to measure and map forest intactness directly or, indirectly, by quantifying and mapping human impacts. Unlike intactness maps, human impact maps use a proxy measure related to human disturbance to represent a gradient of human influences, possibly stratified by biomes or ecoregions. Human impact maps, however, can generally be reclassified to show areas with little or no human influence, analogous to intactness maps. The main objective of this study was to review and compare existing global and regional datasets that quantify intactness in the boreal region of Canada in order to assess the appropriateness of using GFWC's Forest Landscape Fragments.

The details of this study are captured in the draft report:

Canadian BEACONs Project. 2010. Assessing forest intactness in the boreal forest of Canada: A review of existing global and regional maps. Draft Report. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. 33pp.

Download draft report



Feb 14 2018
Northwest Boreal Benchmark Analysis Released

Nov 20 2017
BEACONs' Webinar Tuesday Nov 28

Jul 24 2017
BEACONs' Website - New content coming soon!

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