TORONTO – Canada’s major pulp and paper companies said Tuesday they will restrict logging in environmentally sensitive areas of the country’s northern boreal forest as part of a groundbreaking deal with environmental groups.

The Forest Products Association of Canada, whose members include forestry giants such as AbitibiBowater Inc. and Weyerhaeuser Co. Ltd., said the industry has agreed to immediately suspend logging for three years on 75 million acres of boreal forest — roughly the size of Montana — where wildlife and habitat is endangered.

Canada’s boreal forest stretches like a giant green belt southeast from the Yukon to Newfoundland and represents about 75 percent the country’s woodlands.

The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement covers 170 million acres of the region and includes forests in seven of the country’s 10 provinces.

The area is a prime caribou habitat, and its preservation has been a major objective of environmentalists.

In exchange, environmental organizations have pledged to suspend international “Do Not Buy” anti-logging campaigns against Canadian lumber.