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Essay: The future plans for Canadian boreal forests (memo format)

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  • Subject area(s): Environmental studies essays
  • Reading time: 3 minutes
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  • Published: 15 October 2019*
  • File format: Text
  • Words: 745 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 3 (approx)

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To: Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada

Re: The future plans for Canadian boreal forests


The Background:

About 25 percent of world’s boreal forests are located in Canada. Most of the boreal forests are gathered in northern area which contribute to the majority of forest coverage in approximately 75 percent. The boreal forest has shown biodiversity, such as pine, spruce, poplar and so on. The mixture of vegetation species is varied in boreal forest across different province and territories. The causations of these different forest patterns can be forest fires, climate, soil condition. The boreal forests provide ideal natural habitats for wildlife, including marten, lynx, northern flying squirrel, varieties of birds and bats. Some endangered species rely on boreal forest as the last shelter that can be provided to them, especially wolverine and eastern cougar.

Boreal forest not only function as a habitat for different wildlife, but also has significant effect on regulating environment and climate change. Around huge portions of carbon are stored in boreal forests in the world, Canada Forest Service has been conducted research projects on carbon balance inside of boreal forests. Oxygen is produced by boreal forest in the process of photosynthesis, thus it has the function of air filtration. Meanwhile carbon from carbon dioxide is stored in plant tissues and soil. These carbons will be released via combustion reaction when there is natural disturbance such as forest fire. Converting carbon dioxide to carbon storage and oxygen help to reduce the greenhouse effect. In other words, the carbon balance of boreal forests plays an important role in adjusting climate change. On the other hand, this balance is also vulnerable. Illegal logging, mining, and forest fire can easily disturb this balance and drive it in the opposite way. For example, less forests will lead to climate warming, due to insufficient amount of place to store carbons. Climate warming will cause drought of local water resources, which will severely damage the ecosystem. Additionally, gas form of carbon dioxide has the ability to dissolve into water which changes the water acidity. Then it will threaten aquatic organisms as well. Therefore, protecting and expanding boreal forests has become the most significant concern in the past 20 years.

Issue: 90 Percent of Canadian Boreal Forests Are Not Under Protection, Mining and Logging Will Become the Main Threat of These Intact Areas

Approximately 90 percent of boreal forests are lack of law protection. These areas also have other geography features such as tundra, peat lands, river and lakes that provide natural habitat to different species. Base on scientific research and approved data, it illustrates that in order to maintain the carbon cycle balance, at least 50 percent of forests need to be protected. But the main challenge is boreal forests are spread over Canada in different regions, therefore the protections need to be specified and specialized so that it can maximize the effect. Without law protection, industrial forces might obtain the accessibility to these areas. For example, mining industry has been raised in the past few years, from 108,281 million in 2012 to 120,352 million in 2015. The products include metal mines, non-metal mines and coal mines. The majority of mining sites overlap with unprotected boreal forest zones, which involve Yukon, Northern Ontario, Southern Alberta. Same to logging, the industry has been grown 12,071 million from 2012 to 2015. With the increase demand of resources, the unprotected forest areas will be accessed and destroyed in the next few decades.

The Solution

The protection can be established by the government and environmental groups. Because boreal forest has scattered in different areas of Canada, therefore the federal government needs to consult the local ecologists or researchers before setting up the development plans. Environmental groups and forestry companies can collaborate in order to set up the network for designing the plans. Meanwhile increasing the federal forestry research staffs should become the priority. Prompting clean energy is also necessary for forest protection, this can indirectly reduce the mining and logging. Setting up national park and provincial park can temporarily protect the forestry resources, but logging can still happen around the protected zone. In order to solve this problem, the federal government can also stop issuing logging permits in the adjacent areas of national parks. Also, the natural habitats around national park should also be under preservation. The government should consider to establish new tax law on wood manufacturing. If the federal government implements the above regulations that will help to maintain and expand the boreal forest areas within the next few decades.

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