A new series of maps shows how Canada’s boreal forest manages to lock up almost twice as much carbon as the same area of tropical forest.
The three maps show where permafrost, peatlands and soil with organic carbon are located within the boreal forest that covers much of the country.
Each is adept at storing the carbon that would otherwise contribute to the planet’s climate change problem.
This forest is to carbon what Fort Knox is to gold, said a senior scientist with the International Boreal Conservation Campaign.
“It’s an internationally important repository for carbon, built up over thousands of years,” said Jeff Wells in a statement. “The maps released today document where and how these vital carbon reserves are distributed across Canada. We should do everything we can to ensure that the carbon in this storehouse is conserved.”
The maps were developed for the campaign by Global Forest Watch, an international forest conservation group with a Canadian chapter based in Edmonton.
Canada’s boreal forest stores an estimated 186 billion tons of carbon in its widespread forest and peatland ecosystems — the equivalent of 27 years worth of global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.
University of Alberta ecologist David Schindler, who was involved with the mapping project, said Canada needs to be very careful about how it handles its forests.
A study about five years ago suggested the boreal forest had been tipped from a slight sink that absorbed carbon to a slight source because of harvesting and fire, David Schindler said.
Timber harvesting and controlling fire will be key to keeping the forest’s ability to store carbon, he added.
…this post forwarded by Windsor Humanist, Alexander Neil, after a December 8, 2007 article by Hanneke Brooymans in The Edmonton Journal