Scientists urge 50 percent protection of boreal forest: 'Amazon of the north'

A group of leading scientists from Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the United States is urging a minimum of 50% protection of Canada's boreal forest from economic development because of its high value "as a carbon store, fresh water source, and wildlife habitat crucial to global ecology."

The scientists, representing the Boreal Conservation Science Panel, will present a paper cautioning increases in boreal forestry, mining, hydropower and oil and gas activity at the world International Congress of Conservation Biology in Maryland, US on Monday.

"Although 80 per cent of the boreal is intact, only 10 per cent of the 1.2 billion acres of forest, tundra, peat lands, rivers and lakes is protected," the Globe and Mail reported Monday. The scientists' paper aims to pressure the Canadian government to update its rules and regulations vis-à-vis industrial extraction of resources in what is sometimes called "the world's last great forest."