An American Pipit alongside the George River in Northern Quebec, one of Canada’s numerous large undammed rivers.
Credit: Jeff Wells
I wrote last week about a recent report, A Forest of Blue by the Pew Environment Group, of which I was a lead author. My last entry provided a more thorough review of the findings, but in case you missed it we found that in addition to containing the highest levels of surface fresh water on the planet (the most lakes, 25% of the world’s wetlands, and some of the largest pristine and free-flowing rivers on Earth), Canada’s boreal forest provides an intact sanctuary for some of the world’s most water-dependent species, such as moose, caribou, beaver, waterfowl, shorebirds, and many others.
The boreal’s rivers also play a relatively less understood role in impacting Arctic and climatic health through a number of ways. In addition to delivering key nutrients to marine ecosystems, benefitting species such as the beluga whale, they are also crucial in the creation of sea ice, which reflects light and cools the atmosphere. The iconic polar bear also heavily relies on sea ice to find suitable hunting grounds.
The report was a fairly big hit in the media, which is always beneficial as this both helps educate the public as well as get the attention of policy makers. I was able to write a guest column for National Geographic’s website, and the widespread coverage within Canada spurred several papers on to write their own editorials. I particularly recommend the Montreal Gazette editorial, as it really makes a great case for Canadians to protect the boreal forest from industrial threats and argues that the boreal could become the next Amazon in terms of international attention—something which it certainly deserves when all of its values are considered. There is also a radio interview if you choose a more audio-oriented route at the bottom.
Here is some of the coverage it received over the past few weeks:
Here are a couple of videos I tookin various parts of the boreal to give you a sense of just how much water there truly is: