Boreal forest of Canada
Canada's boreal forest comprises about one third of the circumpolar boreal forest that rings the Northern Hemisphere, mostly north of the 50th parallel. Other countries with boreal forest, also called taiga, include Russia, which contains the majority, and the Scandinavian and Nordic countries (e.g. Sweden, Finland, and Norway). The boreal region in Canada covers almost 60% of the country’s land area. The Canadian boreal region spans the landscape from the most easterly part of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to the border between the far northern Yukon and Alaska. The area is dominated by coniferous forests, particularly spruce, interspersed with vast wetlands, mostly bogs and fens. The boreal region of Canada includes eight Eco-zones. While the biodiversity of regions varies, each Eco-zone has a characteristic native flora and fauna.The boreal forest zone consists of closed-crown conifer forests with a conspicuous deciduous element (Ritchie 1987). The proportions of the dominant conifers (white and black spruces, jack pine (Pinus banksiana Lamb.), tamarack, and balsam fir) vary greatly in response to interactions among climate, topography, soil, fire, pests, and perhaps other factors.The Canadian boreal region represents a tract of land over 1,000 kilometres wide separating the tundra in the north and temperate rain forest and deciduous woodlands that predominate in the most southerly and westerly parts of Canada. Canada's boreal forest is also considered to be the largest intact forest on earth, with around 3 million square kilometres still undisturbed by roads, cities and industrial development. Its high level of intactness has made the forest a particular focus of environmentalists and conservation scientists who view the untouched regions of the forest as an opportunity for large-scale conservation that would otherwise be impractical in other parts of the world.The boreal region contains about 14% of Canada’s population. With its sheer vastness and forest cover, the boreal makes an important contribution to the rural and aboriginal economies of Canada, primarily through resource industries, recreation, hunting, fishing and eco-tourism. Hundreds of cities and towns within its territory derive at least 20% of their economic activity from the forest, mainly from industries like forest products, mining, oil and gas and tourism. The boreal forest also plays an iconic role in Canada’s history, economic and social development and the arts.