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Canada sets aside its boreal forest as giant carbon vault
By banning logging, mining and oil drilling in an area twice the size of California, Canada is ensuring its boreal forests continue to soak up carbon.
n the far north latitudes, buried within a seemingly endless expanse of evergreen forests, the authorities in Canada are building up one of the world's best natural defences against global warming.
In a series of initiatives, Canadian provincial governments and aboriginal leaders have set aside vast tracts of coniferous woods, wetlands, and peat. The conservation drive bans logging, mining, and oil drilling on some 250m acres – an area more than twice the size of California.
The sheer scale of the forest conservation drive is somewhat of an anomaly for Canada, whose government has been accused of sabotaging the global climate change talks by its development of the Alberta tar sands and its refusal to make deep cuts in its greenhouse gas emissions.
Last week, a former adviser to Barack Obama urged Canada to do more to keep up with America's moves towards a cleaner energy economy.
In the latest addition to the carbon storehouse, the provincial premier of Manitoba, Gary Doer, this month announced a $10m (£5.6m) Canadian fund to protect a 10.8m acre expanse of boreal or evergreen forest. It was one of Doer's last acts as premier; he took over as Canada's ambassador to Washington this month.
The $10m will go towards efforts by indigenous leaders to designate boreal forest lands in eastern Manitoba as a Unesco world heritage site. The Pimachiowin Aki world heritage project, which straddles the Manitoba-Ontario border, extends efforts by Canadian provincial leaders to protect the wide swaths of pristine forests in the north. It also ensures the survival of one of the best natural defences against global warming after the world's oceans, environmentalists say.
A report by the International Boreal Conservation Campaign said the forests, with their rich mix of trees, wetlands, peat and tundra, were a far bigger carbon store than scientists had realised, soaking up 22% of the total carbon stored on the earth's land surface.
The amazing statistic is that this forest alone handles 22% of the free carbon.
Really? Not saying your wrong, that just seems surprising... can you post source?
Well here's another reason that I am proud to be Canadian. This is a great initiative by our government and the aboriginals who care for these places far more than we will ever understand.