Canada’s Boreal forest is the perfect definition of a ‘blue forest’. Its surface is comprised of endless rivers, lakes and wetlands. The forest is one of the last intact forests remaining on earth. It is a fundamental source of benefits to rural communities, it is rich in remaining biodiversity and it is a unique source of food. These services alone bring in $700 billion annual value. The Boreal contains 25% of the world’s wetlands and has more surface water than any other continental-scale forests. The rivers of the boreal serve as an essential source of the world’s fish, including half the remaining population of North American Atlantic salmon. Protecting the Boreal forest from human induced climate change is valued as one of the top global priorities in Canada.
More recently, the water resources of the Boreal forest have raised much concern. These waters influence Canada’s climate change. It has been estimated that 147 billion tonnes of carbon have accumulated in the wetlands of the boreal, which is more than 25 years worth of human emissions. The Mackenzie River alone stores 41 million tonnes of carbon. The fresh water of the boreal is critical to the arctic. A fresh water input is needed in order to form sea ice, which plays a crucial role in cooling the atmosphere and providing a home for arctic biodiversity. The unfortunate matter of this issue is that the boreal has been affected by industrial activities, leaving a carbon footprint of 180 million acres.
However, there is a bright side to the matter and progress is being made. This is credited to the work of an environmental organization called PEW and their International Boreal conservation campaign. The campaign takes a stand by calling for a minimum of 50 percent of the region’s water and land to be strictly protected from sustainable development. Today, the federal, provincial, and First Nations governments have protected about 12% of Canada’s boreal forest.
With Canada’s Boreal Forest being such a huge asset with large assets to our nation, it is important for our society and organizations to fight for its sustainability. Having positive effects on our rural areas, biodiversity, and source of food it is crucial for its existence and to fight against the forests carbon exposure. Human induced climate change is a definite epidemic but we do currently see organizations taking the correct steps to protecting the forest. As a society, we can also contribute in our daily lives by working to lower our carbon emissions.