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Source: Government of Canada
According to the Food and Agriculture organization of the United Nations, a forest is defined by a piece of land spanning more than 0.5 ha with trees higher than 5 metres and a canopy cover of more than 10% or trees able to reach these thresholds in situ. It does not include land that is predominantly under agricultural or urban land use (Government of Canada, 2020).
Alright, let’s break it down
Over 90% of Canada’s forests are publicly owned:
The remaining forests are on Indigenous –owned land (about 2%) and land that is privately owned (over 6%)
The Boreal forest
One of the most famous forests in the Great, White North is the Boreal forest. Spanning from British Columbia to Newfoundland and Labrador, in addition to taking up space in all 3 Canadian territories, the Boreal forest is the world’s largest intact forest ecosystem. It represents one quarter of the world’s remaining intact forest! This forest contains 25% of the world’s wetlands and stores double the amount of carbon as tropical rainforests. This storage helps in cooling the planet and acts as a direct fortification against climate change.
This massive stretch of wooded land has been dubbed the bird nursery of North America- 1 to 3 billion birds migrate here from the United States, South America and all in between to nest annually! Between 3 and 5 billion birds will return south after a prosperous breeding season (PEW, 2015).
Source: Andy Arthur via Flickr
So the next time you are taking a hike in one of Canada’s national parks, camping in one of the many beautiful provincial parks across the country, or simply driving past a stretch of trees on your next cross-country road trip, you can take a moment and smile at the fact that you’re looking at part of what makes up almost 10% of the world’s forests!
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