The World’s Largest Intact Forest Ecosystem: Canada’s Boreal Forest

Canada’s Boreal Forest stretches 574 million hectares across the country, covering approximately 57% of Canada’s land mass. It is one of the world’s largest intact ecosystems and home to a diverse population of wildlife. The Canadian Boreal Forest contains approximately one quarter of the worlds remaining original forests and plays an imperative role in global sustainability.

The Canadian Boreal Forest is essential because it provides numerous services. It filters water, stores carbon; filters air; reconstructs soil, restores nutrients, and provides food and shelter for diverse species. The Canadian Boreal Forest holds large amounts of carbon in and under its tree canopy that prevent release into the atmosphere. Carbon is deadly in the atmosphere as it assists in holding heat that contributes to climate change. The Canadian Boreal Forest holds carbon and plays an important role in mitigating climate change. It is estimated that the Canadian Boreal Forest stores approximately 67 billion tonnes of carbon.

The Canadian Boreal Forest provides an immense number of services to society. These services can be beneficial to human health and well-being. The Boreal Songbird Initiative quantifies the value of its ecosystem services at 700 billion dollars of ecosystem services. This figure demonstrates that the Boreal Forest provides significant economic benefit. The Canadian Boreal Forest produces services such as the filtration of air pollution that reduces pollutants. Another example is hydroelectric generation that provides economic benefit of approximately 19.5 billion dollars to Canada’s GDP.

In its pristine state, the Canadian Boreal Forest also develops natural heritage and wildlife. Plants and animals are able to develop without anthropogenic disturbance. As ecosystems in the Canadian Boreal Forest operate organically they contribute to regulating habitats. The Canadian Boreal Forest provides balance for the environment in which sustainability can be achieved.  

As the significance of the Canadian Boreal Forest becomes more evident, ideas to mitigate destruction are extended into discussions around policy and conservation efforts. The facilitation of these discussions can be found in the work of stakeholders such as the Canadian Boreal Initiative, the Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club of Canada and the Boreal Songbird Initiative.

 By Earth Restoration Service Blog Writer Lela Pacitti

Images from WikiMedia Commons




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