In light of the climate conference in Glasgow and Canada’s participation in it, it should be known that one of the most crucial forests that provide oxygen to the planet lives in Canada’s backyard. 

The North American Boreal Forest in located in the northern part of North America and stretches from the most western point of Alaska to Newfoundland. It holds significant importance to earth’s fight against climate change as it contains 25% of earth’s untouched forests which supply much of the world’s oxygen along, with the rain forests in South America. Currently threats such as mining, and logging are putting this green giant and its inhabitants in danger. 

Although our Boreal Forest is a crucial area to fight climate change, acres of forestland is being destroyed through many different means.

In a report created by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) in 2020, it is stated that ”Though logging rates have declined somewhat in the past two decades, the logging industry nonetheless logged more than 11 million hectares of boreal forest between 1996 and 2015, an area more than twice the size of Nova Scotia.” Because the trees in the Boreal Forest hold “about twice as much carbon as the world’s oil reserves,” cutting these trees down would be detrimental to the planet’s health since trees that burn or are left to rot release all the gases they absorb. On top of releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, many species will lose habitat, effectively killing the ecosystem living in the Boreal Forest leaving an unknown fate for many animals.  

A photo of a Boreal Caribou

Of the many animals that are endangered is the Boreal Caribou. On the Canadian Government’s website, it is said that “Boreal caribou have adapted to an ecosystem in which forest fires are the main type of disturbance. However, human disturbances such as forest harvesting, oil and gas exploration and extraction, and road networks fragment their habitat.” With all these brand-new threats facing the Boreal Caribou, they have been classified as endangered species in multiple provinces. This issue isn’t just exclusive to Boreal Caribou either, the birds that live in the Boreal are also threatened due to their loss of habitat as in total the amount of cultivated forest is about 180 million acres (about the area of Texas). With all these issues threatening the safety of the North American Boreal Forest, many groups have tried to lobby the government to strengthen legislation that protects forests like the Boreal Forest.  

The Canadian government has faced criticisms from many activist groups. In the same report by the NRDC they say that “by failing to adequately account for and regulate the logging industry’s carbon emissions, Canada is not creating the proper incentives for provinces and industry to meet these goals.” Some suggestions given by The NRDC were to include logging under The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, and to prevent the destruction of the untouched ecosystems in the forest. During the 2021 election The Liberal Party campaigned on promises to protect about 30% of Canada’s land and waters and with their recent win, perhaps there’s a possibility we can see more done to keep the Boreal forest defended.  

Because of the number of untouched forests, the number of lively ecosystems, and its importance to our heritage, the protection of the North American Boreal Forest is essential and it’s important we protect it before the lungs collapse.