The Tissue Sector’s Impacts on the Canadian Boreal Forest 

The Tissue Sector’s Impacts on the Canadian Boreal Forest 

Monday April 08, 2019

The Canadian boreal forest  is a vast landscape and has been referred to as the “Amazon of the North”, helping to regulate the effects of climate change and serving as a breeding ground for billions of North America’s songbirds and critical habitat for the threatened boreal woodland caribou. It is also the traditional territory and holds cultural significance for many First Nations, whose treaty rights to hunt and fish are under threat. 

Despite this, the federal and provincial governments in Canada have failed for decades to protect the boreal from destruction. 

Boreal Caribou: Canary in the Coal Mine

Canada cuts down its forests at a truly alarming rate — among the highest in the world. Every year, Canada clearcuts a million acres of boreal forest, or seven NHL hockey rinks per minute. From 2001 to 2017, Canada lost nearly 40 million hectares of forest — releasing huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere equivalent to the annual emissions of nearly 321 million cars. 

Few species have been more impacted by the logging of Canada’s forests than the boreal caribou. Boreal caribou once inhabited more than half of Canada, but now their original habitat has been cut in half. Only 14 of 51 herds are considered self-sustaining, and another third of the remaining boreal caribou could disappear in the next 15 years. 

In British Columbia, for example, the province has tripled the rate of approved cutblocks in endangered caribou habitat in the last five months. Boreal caribou are disappearing across Canada, and scientists point to their decline as the “canary in the coal mine” that is warning us of greater ecosystem collapse.