17 Mar 2011:
Canada’s Boreal Forest Holds
Largest Store of Unfrozen Freshwater
Canada’s 1.3 billion-acre boreal forest contains more unfrozen freshwater than any other ecosystem on the planet
, according to a new report by the Pew Environmental Group. With about 25 percent of the world’s wetlands, millions of lakes, and thousands of rivers, the boreal forest contains about 197 million acres of freshwater. Its extensive undammed rivers are a refuge for many of the planet’s sea-run migratory fish, including half of the remaining populations of North Atlantic salmon. And its role as a massive carbon vault provides an estimated $700 billion annually as a buffer to climate-related food and water shortages globally, according to the report, which is the first of its kind. But the Canadian boreal has also been increasingly targeted for large-scale industrial activities, with more than 180 million acres already affected by forestry, road building, mining, oil and gas extraction, and hydropower. While more than 12 percent of the boreal is already strictly protected, the report recommends more water-focused conservation efforts, including conservation of the entire Mackenzie River watershed.
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Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
Photographer Robert Wintner documents the exquisite beauty and biodiversity of Cuba’s coral reefs, which are largely intact thanks to stifled coastal development in the communist nation. View the gallery.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.