The Boreal Forest, and Everything Good.

Everything the light touches, is our kingdom.” –Simba
 (except we want to think of him as an invasive human species!)

Hello Humans.  Millions of years ago, there existed only bacteria, protists, fungi, and plants, all in their vast and wondrous kingdoms.  Their autotrophic selves allowed them to thrive without the need to devour other organisms for energy and thus, biodiversity was well… plentiful.  Soon (being a few eras later), the introduction of animals would come to impact the other kingdoms significantly, one of them being Earth’s beloved plants.  As humans and a member of Kingdom Animalia, our heterotrophic traits unfortunately force us to eat up those poor, but tasty organisms below and around us in the interconnected web of life.  It is an elegant truth that we and many other animals would not be here, “loving” the world if it weren’t for them green autotrophs, working days without end to provide us with our favourite, breathable gas, oxygen.  Let us also not forget their mindboggling ability to photosynthesize materials into simple sugars which supply us with energy nonetheless!  Their generosity is something that we are surely all aware of and that is why human intervention has been focused completely on protecting and conserving their ecosystems, correct?  Well, not entirely.  The truth is that although a majority of us understand that all living organisms depend on biodiversity, it isn’t always the same number of us that see the need to take on healthy actions or on the flip side, stop our destructive ones.  It wouldn’t be completely accurate if one was to say that humans changed the face of the Earth.  But it is still fair to know that we are often the largest cause for change in all kingdoms, around the world. 
If we were to look at the terrestrial face of our Earth, we would notice a lot of green, and then identify it as forests, some in patches and some stretching throughout a whole hemisphere (Yes, that makes sense!  But the point is, there are lots of trees!).  One massive stretch of trees can be found here on our home soil.  The Boreal Forest is home to millions of animals and other organisms of numerous species and spans 5.9 million square kilometres from Alaska to Labrador – that’s about 25% of the land area of North America!  Just imagine the amount of carbon it provides us with seasonally!  It plays a critical role in controlling global climate change.  In addition, the Boreal Forest contains wetlands that store and filter millions of litres of freshwater.

The heart of this vast forest runs directly through Ontario, being almost two-thirds of this province’s landmass.  For this reason, it has become a popular breeding ground for songbirds and can be described as Ontario’s Songbird Nursery.  There are many different organizations, projects, and initiatives that are up and running and concentrate their efforts to preserving the boreal ecosystem.  The Boreal Songbird Network is a network of conservation and birding groups interested in raising awareness in the U.S. and Canada about the importance of the Boreal Forest to North American migratory birds.  The Canadian Boreal Initiative (CBI) works with other conservation organizations, First Nations, and industries to help work out conservation solutions and policies. 

With over 300 different species of birds in the boreal ecosystem, permanent residents such as the Black-Capped Chickadee rely on the mixed forest habitats.

Believe it or not, Canada isn’t doing such a bad job protecting the boreal ecosystem.  In fact, Canada is the world leader in forest conversation!  It really has been a combination of efforts from organizations around the nation, as every province has helped minimize industrial development in their boreal regions.  The Far North Planning and Protection Act was passed in Ontario with the help of Premier Dalton McGuinty to protect at least 225 000 square kilometres of the northern boreal forest.  This would help Ontario fight climate change, protect ecosystems, and ensure First Nations have control over land-use decisions as well. 

Three-quarters of the boreal ecosystem in Canada remains intact, making it one of the largest natural areas left on the planet.  Canada and the world realizes that the Boreal Forest is a globally significant ecosystem.  Do you?

I have commented on:

Marlon Bridge's blog about Toronto and the Environment as well as
Mary Chiu's blog about conservation, reintroduction, and the California Condor!
" Boreal Forest | Campaigns | Protect | Ontario Nature." Ontario Nature. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2010. <>.
Darveau, Marcel. "Canadian Boreal Initiative." Canadian Boreal Initiative. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <>.
"Hinterland Who's Who - Canada's Boreal Forest." Hinterland Who's Who. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 Oct. 2010. <>.
"Welcome to the Boreal Songbird Initiative." Boreal Songbird Initiative. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 Oct. 2010. <>. 

3 Response to "The Boreal Forest, and Everything Good."

  1. rivercrosser Says:

    Hey Derek,

    This body of work was very well written but I don't think you really touched upon the subject of what humans are doing to help the environment. I mean you kinda touched on it at the end but not really specifically or anywhere else in the article. IF I'm not mistaken that is the main point of the assignment. Anyways it is good to know that Canada has really been working at keeping their green-space green. You would think that some euro countries with lesser industries than Canada would be doing a better job at keeping their forests but its awesome that we chose to be leaders in such a noble task.

  2. rivercrosser Says:

    Marlon Bridge
    TA Ireland

  3. terrentino-terrence Says:

    Hi Derek!

    I think you never really touched upon the way humans have had a positive affect on human interaction. Other than the law that was passed you never gave examples of what organizations are doing in the Boreal, or what people individually are actually doing to help biodiversity in that environment. May I also suggest using more visuals such as photos and videos to refer to as it makes it easier to picture.

    Terrence Santhakumar
    SBI 3U1/06
    Ms. Saran
    TA: 57

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