Not Worth It – How Time is Ticking for Alberta's Boreal Forest

By Pumudu K.

The climate of Edmonton more closely resembles that of a prairie, rather than a forest.
— Marc Andre Parisien

New research has shown that half of the Boreal forest in Alberta could disappear in just about 80 years due to wildfires and climate change. The study done by Diana Stralberg and her team at the University of Alberta was published in the Ecosphere Journal, of the Ecological Society of America. According to the study, though wildfires are the root cause of the devastation that is incurred on the Boreal forest, the changing climate has meant that atmosphere that was sustaining the forests has also become weak.

"This climate that has supported forests for millennia is basically going beyond that cusp, beyond that point where it can't really support trees on the uplands any more", stated Marc-André Parisien, one of the co-authors of the study. "That's why trees are dying.They just cannot get the moisture they need to persist.

What are the Boreal forests?

Also known as “Taiga”, the Boreal forest makes up 27% of the world’s total forest area. In North America, taiga meets tundra at the base of the Seward Peninsula in western Alaska, sweeps across the continent, swinging south of Hudson Bay and encompasses most of the island of Newfoundland. In Eurasia it begins in Norway, encompasses most of Sweden and Finland, and then sweeps across Russia to Chukotka. It occupies 11% of the land of the Northern hemisphere.

Source: International Boreal Conservation Science Panel,

Source: International Boreal Conservation Science Panel,

The changes to the Boreal forest could also have far-reaching economic consequences for Alberta, and Canada. If the forests can no longer be a productive source, the forestry industry in Alberta will also suffer. In addition to this, there will be detrimental effects for wildlife and plants.

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To learn more about the study, please click here;

To learn more about the Boreal forests, please click here;

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