The boreal forest has occasionally been dubbed “the ugly forest.” The cold, needle-leaved antithesis to the fervid exuberance of tropical rainforests. It has often been ignored, too. Today, however, this vast semi-circular fringe across the top of the globe is the subject of intense study as climate-change scientists parse its role in regulating the Earth’s atmosphere. And that role is shifting. The reason? A recent article in Science notes that the boreal forest is changing at “unprecedented” speed and amplitude, posing a “substantial threat” to its future. We should be concerned. The boreal forest covers roughly one-tenth of the Earth’s landmass. Like Earth’s other grand forests, the boreal plays a critical role in how the planet breathes through the process of photosynthesis. By extension, it also shapes the composition of the atmosphere, which today includes concentrations of oxygen, at about 21 per cent, and carbon dioxide, at roughly 0.04 per cent. Size Does Matter The boreal forest has a huge impact on these numbers due to its size. It covers roughly one-tenth of the Earth’s landmass — including about three million square kilometres in Canada — making it a big carbon sponge. The impact of the forest is so […]

2 COMMENTS

  1. This is not a good news story! It says that the boreal forests are dying and it also says that logging is a solution to climate change which is completely perverse.

    • Thanks for your comment, it is appreciated. I’d have to say that upon further reflection I agree.
      Rather than remove the story and also your comment, I think maybe I will leave it up, as I would like to encourage more conversation in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
      Grant

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