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Boreal Forest Conservation in Canada

Forest conservation can be defined as an integrated, well-developed process of protection, preservation, management, and restoration of the forest. Time demands a shift from the visual way of describing forest as any land use with sustainable tree cover because it fails to encapsulate the irreplaceable value additive role it plays since the dawn of civilization. So the concept of Conservation of the forest should be augmented with the idea of a possible continuation of human civilization to emphasize its real importance. So the Conservation of wood can be said to be a result generating a collection of principles, processes, and practices to ensure the maintenance of the existing forests by minimizing anthropogenic (human-induced) effects, restoration of the lost ones and immune it from the poison of human greed to ascertain human existence.

Canada is a vast country with one of the lowest population per unit area in the world. This big country has got nature’s bounty in almost every sense, from minerals to forestry. Many of these resources are yet to be commercially extracted. The hostile climate is playing the role of ‘blessing in disguise’ at some parts of the country to ward off such venture as it is not commercially viable to do so at the current level of technological prowess. The rest of the country is susceptible to gradually increasing human needs and more genuinely human greed. Canada, being a moderately populated country, its internal need for resources, may not demand full exploitation of its natural resources. Still, the changing global scenario puts pressure to do so in the context of globalization. The natural resources of the country are no longer seen from the context of its internal demand but international demand. This internationalization of application is virtually pushing Canadian forests to the brink of extinction. (Loo, 2007)

Boreal Forest Conservation in Canada

Woods plays a multidimensional nurturing role in nature. Forest plays roles of carbon trapping (formally known as carbon sequestration), the supply of wood, and from the natural kidney to sedimentation reduction. (Markels and Barber, 2002) Forest plays a vital role in its aesthetic appeal and biodiversity. (Forests Canada 2008)

Canadian forests are under threat due to the commercial exploration of oils and minerals. Most of the probably exploitable areas lie within the woods, and the choice between them has become binary. (Forests Canada 2008) The choice between wood and other natural resources has become mutually exclusive. Moreover, most of the Canadian forests are not under the legal arm of the ‘reserve’ forest. This makes Canadian wood more vulnerable. The importance of wood at the time of global warming, water quality, and resource management problems does not need any introduction. Reduction in Forest will aggravate global warming and its associated problems. Problems associated with drinking water shortage, an increase in the frequency of floods will become more prevalent. Canadian forests do not play an only regional role in the areas mentioned above but also in a global domain. The contribution in carbon sequestering by the Canadian forest to the world climate is highly considered, and any depletion is bound to affect the global environment as a whole. GEMCO (Greenhouse Emissions Management Consortium) is found to manage and monitor the forest and environmental quality. It is essential to note that timber is also associated with the wellbeing of other species, and human welfare in the long term cannot exclude the health of others. So for sustainable growth, i.e., growth that can be maintained in a healthy manner and on a long term basis, depends on the success of forest conservation. Forest is an inexorable part of the ecosystem and human being, irrespective of its so-called advancement can never (and should not!) able to develop a mutual exclusion with nature. So it is perhaps more than rational to consolidate mutual dependence. The Canadian forests with their subtle characteristics, volumetric coverage deserves more than enough attention in this time of ecological transition.

Economic growth is conventionally considered to be negatively correlated to environmental well being. The continuation of some so-called economically productive activities is sometimes imminent due to an increase in population and human need as a whole. (Forest Canada, 2008) This concept is acceptable only up to a specific time, and this concept of the time frame is essential in economic or any other decision-making scenario. Since it is already well established that human beings are inseparably a part of nature, any adverse effects on the environment that destroy the equilibrium of the ecological system are bound to bounce back with the same or most of the time with more negative impact. So it is vital to determine the times up to which this trade-off is practicable. Nature is already showing the red signal in numerous ways like an increase in the frequency of natural disasters, a gradual rise in global temperature level, and associated side effects like melting of polar ice caps. As a result, there is a rise in the water level. So this is the time to ponder over the consequences of our activity. It is time to think about the rationally behind the word human need. The so-called need that is merely ascertaining inoperable future disaster itself needs a more reflective analysis of its true nature. Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have too much importance about their self-interest at the cost of being oblivious about the well being of others. The time has arrived to reverse the way of thinking to prove its self imposed superiority over others.

The long term growth of civilization depends on the optimum level of exploration and management of resources. This optimum level is determined subject to various associated benefits and costs. Conventionally this BCA (i.e., benefit-cost analysis) does not include the newly evolved environmental cost. At the start, the environment was in its pristine state, and human-induced changed was not so useful to the climate .so for all practical cases, it was not considered even in the past few decades ago. The tendency to omit this cost at the present context of environmental impact can be catastrophic. When the ecological value is augmented with conventional decision-making tools, the real picture can be bright. The well being of the common mass should not be emphasized only from a hedonistic standpoint, i.e., the more we consume, the more we develop. The fundamental fallacy of this is even very reflected in the present mortgage crisis in the U.S. Any consumption that does not assimilate is bound to give negative results. Conventional concepts like the mutually inverse relationship between economic growth and environmental quality should be analyzed from a modern viewpoint. A certain level of ecological degradation is indeed almost unavoidable. The challenge lies in the possible minimization of this level with the best possible use of the technological, legal, and economic framework. Well, being of the mass faces the most significant obstacle due to age-old deprivation of the resources already explored. So the sordid condition of the commoner is a distributional problem, not a scarcity driven one. At the cost of being more non-diplomatic, projecting the environmental quality management as a barrier to mass welfare is a cunning approach to put human greed in the envelope of development. As mentioned earlier welfare of the masses is a problem of access not of availability. It is true that when supply increases, the probable accessibility should also increase, but the question lies, in what proportion? So here too, the problem of skewed distribution comes. Since there will be differentiated input of factors of production, there will be a differentiated level of sharing the fruits of development among the providers of these factors. This is the story of most of the developmental work. This analysis gives an intra-group self-conflicting image of progress.

The subsequent analysis will include the well known negative impacts of environmental degradation. The continuation of ecological degradation will more than surely ensure the extinction of human civilization. Life is undeniably the essential state of every real system. Human culture is more of a social network. In every case, its inherent existence is a permanent state. Probably there is not sufficient condition for any complex social system like human civilization. If we consider development (even an unskewed, equitable) a requirement for stability, it falls in the domain of sufficiency. Necessity is the prerequisite of sufficiency. This fundamental logical analysis throws light on the immediate steps toward environmental quality control, even at the cost of development. Once the ecological degradation is under control, the trade-off between nature and humans can be restarted with due care. At this moment, human beings are paying the expected for the misdeed they have done to the mother earth. Indiscriminate industrialization, urbanization, deforestation have resulted in the present state of pollution.

It would not be so precarious if we would have started the environmental awareness with due care at an earlier state. It is true that from a practical point of view, the rate of development may suffer due to stringent environmental regulation, but it is unavoidable considering the future of civilization. This decline of growth should not be treated just from the angle of cost but that of the future benefit we can get from it.

In this context, the future of the Boreal forest is of utmost importance to humankind. (Nature Canada, n.d.) It has ascertained how the unmatched biodiversity, vast presence and associated irreplaceable environmental role play by this forest talks about itself and about the importance of preserving it. Industrialization will bring unavoidable regional fragmentation of the woods. This fragmentation will fragment the natural habitat. This will adversely affect the subtle ecosystem. All the related vital environmental impacts will affect the entire area with a combined and multiplicative way due to diverse ‘developmental’ activities. So the environmental quality will fall sharply. Boreal forests being one of the vital sources of oxygen on the earth, kidney to entire urban Canada, its fragmentation will adversely affect not only the whole region but also the world climate. The negative impact of global warming is already known to us, and its gradual rise will be a matter of concern. Environmental research suggests that a lot of harm has already been done to nature and anything more will place it on the non-reversible side (i.e., future recovery or remedial measure will fail to address the problem adequately) So the importance of the Boreal forest is not only relevant to Canada or its contiguous area but also the world. It is basically a global problem. It deserves and demands global attention, policy formulation, implementation, monitoring, and control. Considering the forests, substantial environmental impact, no market-based instruments should be allowed to use because even alternative forestry is incapable of replenishing the negative ecological impact generated by its depletion. Stringent policy instruments, together with consciousness, limited participatory forest management by the aboriginals, can ensure a feasible solution. The boreal forest must be preserved in its pristine form irrespective of the projected commercial aspects of its embedded resources simply because our sustainability depends on that of its. Exploration that curtails the duration of existence is more than exploitation and must be stopped at any cost.

  • Forests Canada (2008), Information for Action, available at https://www.informaction.org/cgi-bin/gPage.pl?menu=menua.txt&main=forcan_intro.txt&s=Forests/Canada (accessed on March 19, 2009)
  • Loo, J. (2007) Forest conservation in Canada, Natural Resources Canada, available at https://cfs.nrcan.gc.ca/index/conservation (accessed on March 19, 2009)
  • Markels, M. and R.T. Barber (2002) “Sequestration of Carbon Dioxide by Ocean Fertilization,” Environmental Challenges and Greenhouse Gas Control for Fossil Fuel Utilization in the 21st Century. Edited by M. Mercedes Maroto-Valer et al., Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, New York, pg 122.
  • Nature Canada, (n.d.), Parks and Protected Areas, available at https://www.naturecanada.ca/parks_borealforest.asp (accessed on March 19, 2009)

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