The Ontario government announced today that it would permanently protect 225,000 square kilometers of Canada’s Far North Boreal region.
That works out to be an area roughly twice the size of England.
“This announcement sets out the most ambitious conservation for the Boreal Forest in Canada,” said Janet Sumner of the CPAWS Wildland League.
Canada’s Boreal Forest is important when it comes to global warming and greenhouse gas emissions. Canada’s Boreal forest is the world’s largest terrestrial storehouse of carbon, exceeding even the total carbon stored in the Amazon.
North America’s Boreal Forest stores up to 11% of the world’s terrestrial carbon. Roughly 56% of all the carbon is stored in peat. The remaining carbon is pooled in above-ground vegetation, rocks, and soil. At 186 billion tons, Canada’s Boreal carbon storage alone is equal to near 27 years of the world’s carbon emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels.
You can download a comprehensive fact sheet on global warming and Canada’s Boreal Forest here. (pdf)
Last year, 1,500 scientists from 50 countries called on Canadian governments – federal, provincial and territorial – to protect the 5.6 million square kilometres of boreal forest in Canada, which holds about 186 billion tonnes of carbon.
By saving this massive carbon sink from destruction by mining and other industrial development, it is expected that the move will offset a majority of the hot air produced by Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President George W. Bush.
H/T: Chris Henschel at Forests and Climate Change.