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Land & Biodiversity

ConocoPhillips Canada’s Surmont operations and planned expansions place demands on the land near our oil sands operations. These demands may impact residents of nearby communities, including Aboriginal people in the Wood Buffalo region with special interests and rights related to their traditional territories, and put pressure on biodiversity in Canada’s boreal forest.

Canada’s Boreal Forest

The boreal forest is a circumpolar ecosystem that covers much of Canada, Alaska, Scandinavia and Russia. Canada’s boreal forest is one of the world’s largest remaining intact old growth forests. It stretches from Newfoundland and Labrador to the Yukon’s western border with Alaska, representing a tract of land over 1,000 kilometres wide that covers almost 60 percent of Canada’s land mass. The forest is a complex and important ecosystem rich with a variety of plant and animal species, including caribou, bears, moose, wolves and migratory birds.

Canada’s boreal forest is also home to Aboriginal peoples who have used the land for thousands of years to maintain a traditional lifestyle, engaging in hunting and fishing to provide sustenance for their communities. The forest contains many areas of historical, economic and cultural significance for these peoples.

Hundreds of cities and towns in the forest’s territory derive about a quarter of their economic activity from the forest. Industries like forestry, hard rock mining, peat mining, conventional oil and gas development, oil sands development and tourism are important economic drivers in these areas.

There are also many active oil sands producers in the boreal forest region, including ConocoPhillips Canada, placing multiple demands on the land with many projects under development. Oil sands projects are serviced by access roads, utilities and pipelines, while growing urban and rural populations require housing, transportation corridors, recreational areas and many other forms of land use, all of which put additional strains on the area.

We are dedicated to collaborating with stakeholders to avoid development on sensitive lands and habitats wherever possible, and minimizing our impacts on the land and biodiversity of the oil sands region where we have activities. To support these objectives, we conduct environmental monitoring and environmental research to assess our existing impacts and find innovative ways to reduce them in the future.

To learn more about our approach to responsible land use management throughout Canada, please visit our Canada-wide Land and Biodiversity section.

Learn more about our approach to footprint management in the oil sands.

Learn more about our approach to biodiversity in the oil sands.

Last updated on February 6, 2015