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Forests Canada

Threats to Canada’s forests and the causes of deforestation

Canada’s vast forests are under siege and are suffering from the damage caused by years of large-scale clear felling. There are at least 300 hydro dams and 60 active mines within the Canadian forest, creating untold ecological damage to forest ecosystems. Development activities are increasingly extending into Canada’s northernmost forests, which have fragile soils and slow growing conditions which take much longer to regenerate than other forests.

Major industrial developments in the forests of Canada include logging, mining, and the development of dams. These activities have had severe impacts on many areas and these will face increasing pressure for resource exploitation in the coming years.

Approximately 90 percent of all logging that occurs in this region is by clear felling, using heavy, capital-intensive machinery. As wood shortages become more and more prevalent in the southern regions of Canada, timber that was once considered unprofitable to log in the north is now being threatened. Vast regions of Canada's boreal forests are under lease to forestry companies, mostly for the production of pulp and paper.

Canada’s forests contain high levels of mineral deposits and as a result of this there is constant pressure from mining. Both existing mining explorations and new proposals pose a significant threat to the forests of Canada. Specific concerns include the disposal of acidic effluent from tailings, adverse impact of coal, oil and gas extractions, as well as the containment of radioactivity and the effects of emissions from processing plants.

The construction of most dams in Canada has occurred in the boreal forest. Massive hydroelectric development has produced changes in stream flow patterns, flooded large areas, and dramatically altered the landscape. Acid rain continues to be a problem for the lakes and shallow soils of the boreal region despite legislation curbing acid precipitation-producing emissions in Canada.

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