In the midst of fear and panic surrounding the fires in Brazil, Canada isn't in the best shape, ourselves. In fact, Canada is right behind Brazil in terms of forest degradation. Canada's boreal forest may even become a carbon emitter due to climate change. As such, a group of researchers has released a warning about the Canadian forest, stating that the rate of logging in the boreal is not sustainable. In fact, even as Canadians continue to plant trees, it won't be enough to help Canada's forests. 

The world has become collectively concerned for the state of the Amazon in Brazil. More specifically, the Amazon Rainforest has been up in flames for weeks with record-breaking blazes. As of last week, over half of Brazil was engulfed in smoke as a result of these terribly damaging fires. The world's leaders have worked to send resources and raise awareness for the crisis, but it appears we should also be focusing some energy on home soil. 

The boreal forest spans across more than half of the country. According to CBC News, the forest covers over 270 million hectares and stores more carbon than is currently in the world’s atmosphere. The forest can store carbon for centuries, even millennia.

Jill Johnstone, an adjunct biology professor at the University of Saskatchewan and member of the research team studying the boreal fires, told CBC News that the forest’s ability to store carbon may be in serious jeopardy if the number of fires resulting from climate change continues to grow.

Further, parts of the forest may begin to emit carbon rather than storing it. If fires impact older trees, which are trees more vulnerable to burning, they may release stored carbon that is hundreds of years old. As such, the forest may become a contributor to global warming rather than acting as something that reduces it.

This is scary stuff, folks. According to Huffington Post, the main difference between Canada’s situation and that of Brazil, for example, is that Canadian laws insist forestry companies must replant what they remove, or let the natural vegetation regrow. Though this may appear sustainable, it is the carbon emission that scientists are the most concerned about. Though Canadian forestry efforts work to restore what is deforested, it simply isn't enough.

Are the horrific happenings in Brazil enough to make us take a look at our forests and the long-term ramifications industry may have?


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