Canada, a Leader in Deforestation
by amili on October 7, 2016 - 12:14pm
Many Canadian citizens are unconscious of the rapid deforestation that is taking place in their own nation. Since 2000, a forested area three times the size of Germany has been degraded or completely destroyed. This plays a crucial role is regulating the climate. All the CO2 emissions from cars, trucks, ships and planes combined do not match the level of CO2 that deforestation is releasing into the atmosphere. A Greenpeace study found that half of global forest lost occurred in Canada, Russia and Brazil from deforestation. These forests are home to the remaining 65 percent of world’s forest wilderness.
Canada is the world leader in forest lost since 2000, accounting for 21 percent of global forest loss. This is due to increases in oil sands, shale gas developments, logging and road building. Changing climate is also causing major forest fires because of rapid warmth in northern Canada. In northern Albert alone, roads, pipelines, power transmission lines and infrastructure have disrupted more than 12.5 million hectares of forest. The oil sands are expected to triple in the next decade, indicating little political concern for forest conservation.
It takes more than ten decades for the northern forests to regrow. Humanity depends on vital resources that forests provide, such as clean water, clean air, food and wood. These services are irreplaceable. Companies need to adapt sustainability commitments to avoid sourcing such commodities. Markets need to gain support from governments and urgent action needs to be set in motion to protect forests. This includes creating more protected areas and strengthening the rights of forest communities to refuse product usage from “virgin” forests. The Forest Stewardship Council was called upon to set standards for forest management in order to protect our Canadian forests.
It is extremely shocking to learn that Canada is a global leader in deforestation, considering the large amounts of protected areas within the nation. The constant growth of the oil industry is the largest contributor to this devastating loss. This creates a degrading environmental cycle where there is loss of plant and wildlife, loss of resources, increasing CO2 emissions and increasing global temperatures that create more forest fires. Unfortunately, the Canadian economy is highly dependent on such industry. Without the oil sands, our market would collapse and fall into a major recession. This creates a tremendous difficulty on our government to place restricts on deforestation.
Value is a major conflict between companies and citizens and the government. The idea of “value” plays on the differences in management goals with regards to protecting our boreal forests. Oil companies may take little consideration into account for their contribution to deforestation. Governments may want to exercise power over these practices, but find it difficult due to the economic impact. I believe that the government should have a greater influence on environmental priorities and enforce laws to ensure the protection of the forests.
I would like to remind my fellow Canadians that although forests may be a flow resource, that is usually capable of being renewed, it is also extremely dependent on the rate of extraction. This indicates a fragile scale that can easily become unbalanced. Major action needs to be taken from that state to ensure this does not occur. The first form of protection comes from restricting resource usage. Laws can then be created to ensure resource quality and sustainability. Lastly, the Canadian government can set environmental goals to protect our forests from “outside” users. Deforestation is a critical issue that faces much of the global society. Humanity cannot and will not exist without trees.
Leahy, Stephan. “World’s Last Remaining Forest Wilderness at Risk.” Environment. Inter Press Service News Agency. N.p., 05 Sept. 2014, 1st ed.: n.pag. Website. 03 Oct. 2016.
Mitchell, Bruce. Resource and Environmental Management in Canada. 5th ed. Don Mills, Ontario: Oxford University Press, 2015. Textbook.