01/04/2008 - The boreal forest occupies nearly half of Canada's land mass, yet it's more significant to national myth and memory – as home to the coureurs de bois and the hewers of wood – than it is to any discussion of a shared future.
But the blanket of woodlands that runs all the way from Yukon to the coast of Labrador may play a huge role in the battle to protect the planet from climate change.
As one of the last great intact forests on Earth, along with the Russian taiga and the Amazon rain forest, the boreal is considered one of the world's largest carbon storage systems. The trees and soil of Canada's northern forest form a critical shield against global warming, storing a volume of carbon equal to 27 times the world's annual greenhouse-gas emissions.
That's why organizations such as the U.S.-based Pew Trust have invested more than $40-million in the last seven years to lobby for greater protection of Canada's forests. Their efforts contributed to a major announcement by the federal government last month that removes more than 4 million hectares of land from development in the Northwest Territories.
Read the full article A Critical Shield Against Global Warming on the Globe and Mail Web site.