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The Taiga

Imagine of the powerful lynx in a snow covered forest in Russia. As it stalks a snowshoe hare through the blinding white, an ermine races across the snow in search of its own prey. This majestic scene could only take place in a cold forest biome, called the taiga. In Russian, a nation within the biome, “taiga” means forest, and is also known as the Boreal Forest. Boreal was the Greek goddess of the North Wind, a name definitely appropriate for this cold biome. (www.blueplanetbiomes.com) However beautiful and seemingly peaceful it is, the snow cannot cover the threats to the Taiga biome. In this essay, I will examine the threats to the taiga biome and any actions that are being taken to protect it.

One great threat to the taiga is the destruction of forests by logging and other sources. According to Taiga Rescue, “The northern boreal forests provide 60 % of the world’s supply of industrial roundwood”, with roughly 2.5 million acres being harvested, and this takes a terrible toll on the Taiga. The fact that pulp for paper is something that is becoming more in demand has massive consequences for Boreal forests. The International Institute for Environment and Development states that old growth forests are an important source of fiber in Boreal regions. About fifteen percent of total global pulpwood comes from these important forests. (www.taigarescue.org). Thus the ecosystems within the biome are gravely disrupted. Drilling for oil and natural gas is not only another cause for the destruction of boreal forests, but it also affects the human communities that live in and around the forests. It is believed that vast amounts of oil, natural gas, and petroleum are underneath the huge band of the taiga. Therefore, humans are digging and drilling to try and tap these resources. The forests are being rapidly destroyed by these practices, and many animal and plant species are disappearing because of it.
Global warming is also having a huge effect on the taiga. Warmer temperatures have caused increased wildfires, infestations of bark beetles, and the trees have begun to go farther north. In the Boreal forests, the extremely cold climate stops dead matter from decaying quickly, and therefore there are many tons of carbon trapped under the surface of the forests. Global warming would enable the dead matter to decompose, sending vast amounts of carbon dioxide into the air, and thus speeding up global warming even more.
The harvesting of hydroelectric power in the taiga causes destruction of habitats, shoreline erosion, and other various consequences. Hydroelectric power may appear to be a good thing because it utilizes water to generate power, but it has damaged the Taiga by altering river habitats and flow patterns, flooding large areas of land, and altering the landscape. (http://kids.nceas.ucsb.edu)

Unfortunately, very few actions are being taken to protect the taiga. One of these actions is community-based forest management. Communities create projects to help protect the forests for various reasons. The European Environmental Paper Network, and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs), are helping to reduce the amount of paper used and wasted. (www.taigarescue.org)





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NatureDreamer said...
Feb. 20, 2011 at 12:19 pm
Why the bad rating?? Seriously, I want to know what I did wrong for future reference.
 
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