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New report: Logging in Canada's Boreal Forest could trigger "carbon bomb" impacting global climate
Greenpeace opens tar sands campaign
10 April 2008
Turning Up the Heat
Logging in Canada’s Boreal Forest could trigger “carbon bomb” impacting global climate10 April 2008Print Send to a friend Turning up the heat Enlarge ImageLogging in Canada’s Boreal Forest is exacerbating global warming by releasing greenhouse gases and reducing carbon storage, says a new Greenpeace report released today. It also makes the forest more susceptible to global warming impacts like wildfires and insect outbreaks, which in turn release more greenhouse gases.
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If this vicious circle is left unchecked, it could culminate in a massive and sudden release of greenhouse gases referred to as "the carbon bomb," the report warns. Canada's Boreal Forest stores 186 billion tonnes of carbon—equivalent to 27 times the world's annual fossil fuel emissions. A widespread outbreak of forest or peat fires could release much of this carbon, causing a disastrous spike in emissions.
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Warming conditions are causing more droughts, forest fires, and insect outbreaks in parts of the Boreal Forest Logged areas continue to emit carbon dioxide long after the trees are gone—often for 10 years or more. Find out more Turning Up the Heat: Global Warming and the Degradation of Canada’s Boreal Forest collects the best available science on the complex relationship between Boreal Forest and global warming. It concludes that intact areas of the Boreal Forest should be made off-limits to logging and other industrial activity—particularly in its biologically rich southern regions—to curb this dangerous cycle.
Intact areas of Canada's Boreal Forest not only store massive amounts of carbon and slow permafrost melt, but they also give trees, plants, and animals the stability they need in order to adapt to changing climate conditions, and the corridors they need in order to successfully migrate north. When these intact areas of the forest are degraded by logging, both the forest and the climate face dramatic consequences.