Forests are a crucial part of Canada’s natural heritage, wilderness areas and economy (with the forestry sector acting as one of the largest sources of employment in the country). But perhaps most importantly, Canadian forests have a major role to play in climate change. Forests soak up CO2 as they grow, reducing the amount of greenhouse gasses (GHG) in the atmosphere and helping to regulate the planet’s climate. It is thought that trees, plants and other land-based “carbon sinks” currently soak up more than a quarter of all the CO2 that humans add to the air each year.
A forest is considered to be a carbon sink if it absorbs more carbon from the atmosphere than it releases. Carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere through photosynthesis, and becomes deposited in forest biomass (trunks, branches, roots and leaves), in dead organic matter (litter and dead wood), and in soils. Management activities, including ensuring fast regeneration of forest after harvesting, helps to mitigate the carbon impacts of deforestation, forest fires, and insect outbreaks, and to ensure that Canada’s forests continue to act as carbon sinks.
The forestry sector is already a leader in GHG reductions, cutting emissions by 65% since 1990. With the federal government now committed to reducing GHGs in Canada by 30% by the year 2030, the Canadian forest products industry is preparing to support that goal by sequestering carbon in the products they sell (such as lumber and paper), by reducing overall GHG emissions from their facilities, and by replacing every tree harvested in Canadian forests.
You can help support the conservation of an important forest-dwelling species, the moose, by visiting www.earthrangers.com/Canada150.
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