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Canada's Boreal Forest

Updated on January 15, 2015

A National Heritage We Need To Protect

TIMBER-R-R-R! rings out through the woods. Seconds later, another mighty giant of the forest hits the ground with a rending crash. But, turn your eyes to the mountain slope where the giant fell.

It is along the rugged coastal range of British Columbia's mountains that the magnificent douglas fir, sitka spruce, cedar, hemlock, balsam and pine grow. One mountain after another stretches away into the distance, all clothed with forests so thick that, without a well-marked trail, a person could quickly lose himself in them.

The rocky shoreline in some places is exposed to the full sweep of the sea. At other places there are sheltered coves and long narrow fjords where tidewater mingles with rushing waters of small rivers and creeks. Here, in the west, is the beginning of Canada's boreal forest named after Boreas, the Greek god of the North Wind.

Canada's boreal forest covers a vast area and is truly a wonderful national heritage and globally significant wilderness. I will endeavor to give you a feel for the region and its residents, their difficulties and some possible solutions.

Photo Credit

Recommended for the Purple Star.

According to the Purple Star Program,

purple stars are awarded to Lenses that are:

* Masterpiece lenses.

* Lenses making a name for themselves.

* Lenses trying new things.

Update Sept. 4, 2012

This lens was also awarded Lens of The Day.

Thank you SquidTeam and all of those who helped make this happen!

What an honor! Thank you!

~ LaraineRose

Map of the boreal forest in Canada

The largest forest on earth with 4.4 billion square kilometers of undisturbed forest interspersed with vast wetlands covers 60% of Canada. This 1,000 kilometres wide belt made up of coniferous trees, stretching from the West Coast to the East Coast, separates the tundra in the north from the deciduous woodlands of the South.


Forest Hospitality

Boreal Forest
Boreal Forest

Photo Credit

The Canadian boreal forest that spreads across the vast uppermost regions of Canada is made up predominantly of cone-bearing (coniferous) trees including cedar, Douglas-fir, cypress, juniper, kauri, larch, Jack-pine, hemlock, redwood, spruce, and yew.

Both man and wildlife are often drawn to the forest because of its hospitality. Trees provide shelter from the heat of the day and a covering from the exposure of the night. The forest is home for birds, insects and larger animals, such as deer, bear and bobcat. Orioles make nests that look like long pouches dangling from the branches of trees. Woodpeckers dig holes in the trunks of dead trees and make their homes inside. Trees are also homes for squirrels and other animals.

The hospitable forest serves man well. It protects, sustains and actually improves mankind's supplies of available water. The floor of the forest soaks up water like a sponge, protecting the soil from erosion and filtering clear water into lakes and streams, in which fish, otter, ducks and other creatures live and play. The forest floor also feeds the underground reservoirs with water for future use.

In addition, trees purify man's air. Within tiny leaf cells light from the sun combines with carbon dioxide taken from the air to form a simple sugar, later converted into other carbohydrates, including the cellulose of the wood itself. Trees also return to the atmosphere oxygen, which man breathes. That is one reason why air smells better in the forest, and why forests are vital to life on earth.

The forest also breaks up the flow of the wind. This can have an impact on the cycles of rain, snow, wind, and temperature. This, in turn, affects the variety of food you enjoy, the type of clothes you wear, perhaps even the architectural design of your home. These are just some of the many beneficial accomplishments of the boreal forest.

A haven for many animals and birds .. - that would otherwise be on the endangered species list.

Photo Credit

The Canadian boreal forest provides a haven for many animals that would otherwise be on the endangered species list.

Many are coming to realize that what happens to wildlife is closely linked to the welfare of humans. "Humankind clings to but one thread of the mysterious web of life on earth," noted an article in Reader's Digest of June 1975. "We pluck on the others at our peril."

* Here are some residents finding protection in the boreal forest of Canada

The Great Grey Owl

Great Grey Owl in flight.
Great Grey Owl in flight.

Photo courtesy of: Wikipedia

Photo by: Arne List

I saw this most beautiful forest dweller for the first time one day in June. I was a bit surprised because it is a secretive and difficult bird to find if you do not know where its nest is.

I was able to study the finely marked male as he scouted for food. He would suddenly leave a bough and plunge to the earth. Did he get his prey? Oh, yes! I could clearly see a little rodent hanging in his talons as he moved upward in slow, imposing flight upon huge wings that stretched 50 inches from wing tip to wing tip.

The Great Grey Owl does not breed regularly every year as do many other owls. This giant owl feeds only on small rodents, so some years, when these are in short supply, breeding stops completely. Without care this owl could well disappear wthin two or three years.

Beaver - Image on the Canadian Three-Penny Stamp

Photo Credit

Before European settlers arrived, the North American beaver population was between sixty and one hundred million. But by the turn of this century they had almost been exterminated because of excessive trapping to fill the craze for beaver hats and pelts.

Currently in many districts in Canada the government Department of Lands and Forests sets up boundaries for each area to be trapped. Yearly limits are placed on certain kinds of animals caught on each trap line. This assures a continued population of animals. Thus the beaver which, some years ago, was in danger of extinction, once again abounds through the northern bush-lands. Such controls also make the trapper conscious of and more concerned with conservation, as it means his livelihood.

The beaver of the boreal forest enjoy protection.

Amazing Engineers! - One of the most important animals in the boreal forest

Watch these busy, engineers build dams and lodges using the trunks of trees they have gnawed off with their ever-growing front teeth. The dams flood parts of the forest, creating ponds and wetlands that are used by fish, waterfowl, and amphibians.

Points To Ponder

How did the beaver come to have teeth that can cut down trees and a tail so suited to plaster his abode? Where did he get the motivation to build, first a dam, and then a safe, comfortable home? How is it that its dams are benefitial to the boreal forest?

Lone Lynx

Lynx hunting in the twilight.
Lynx hunting in the twilight.

Courtesy of: Wikipedia

Photo by: Keith William

Today the lynx is found only in isolated regions of the world. It has found a home in Canada's boreal forest.

Stalking its prey at night, the lynx works alone. Its well-furred feet, powerful legs and sharp claws help it to travel on the snow and capture its' prey during the harsh winter months in Canada's boreal forest. The snowshoe hare of the forest makes a tasty meal but it is often lost in pursuit and Mr. Lynx needs to try again, or take advantage of other foods-of-choice such as, mice, voles, grouse, ducks, beavers or squirrels (or go hungry). It has been reported that some lynx have even killed deer, earning them the reputation of being fierce and aggressive hunters.

A reference book on wild cats says: "Lynx need two kinds of forest habitat to live comfortably: dense patches of gnarly, tangled mature forest for shelter and birth-dens, and lush, juicy meadows and young woods where they can hunt for hares."

Conservation efforts in British Columbia have helped the Lynx to survive. Modern selective logging techniques have also helped. Meadows created after trees have been logged off have left habitats for hare to feed.

Indeed it is important that we live in harmony with and preserve the boreal forest for creatures like the lynx.

A fact I found interesting.

As the hare population increases, so does the lynx population.

When food is scarce, litters are smaller.

Grey Timber Wolf

Grey Timber Wolf
Grey Timber Wolf

Photo Credit

"A carnivorous animal resembling a dog, a large German shepherd, but having longer legs, larger feet, a broader head, and stronger jaws," that is the description given for the Timber Wolf. They seek their prey under the cover of darkness, remaining in hiding during the day. Their preferred meal include: deer, elk and moose, but they will also take smaller prey like voles.

Reports of human deaths at the jaws of wolves are not infrequent in parts of Europe and central Asia, particularly Russia.

That this should be the case may seem very strange in view of an entirely different record for wolves in other parts of the earth. The work: The Animal Kingdom (1954, Vol. I, p. 431) states: "The gray or timber wolf has a forbidding reputation - all of man's history is studded with accounts of its ferocity. Yet there is no verified report of a wolf's ever having made an unprovoked attack on man, anywhere in North America."

Despite the fact that the reputation of the North American wolf has not been that of a man-eater, this creature has been the object of intense hatred. Over the years, farmers and ranchers have waged relentless warfare against it, virtually driving it into extinction. Now it is basically limited to parts of the boreal forest of Canada.

Monster Moose

Bull Moose
Bull Moose

Photo Credit

The largest of the deer family is the giant moose that lives in the boreal forest of Canada. It often reaches more than six feet in height at the shoulder with the Bull Moose often weighing 1,000lbs.

Except for females with calves, moose normally range solitarily in a wide area of the boreal forest, including bogs and marshes. They rely on heavily forested regions to evade predators.

As do the deer and elk, during the lean winter season, moose nibble the young branches of trees, especially pines.

Moose enemies are: wolves, bear, man and Brainworm, a parasite carried by white tail deer. (Effects a moose's nervous system and can bring about death.)

Moose Warning
Moose Warning

Why does a moose cross the road?


Why does a moose cross the road? This question is no joke to Newfoundland's wildlife biologists or to local drivers and the thousands of tourists who use the province's highways.

"There are about 300 car-moose accidents a year on Newfoundland's highways, several of which result in the death of drivers," says The Globe and Mail newspaper. "A mass of up to 450 kilograms (1,000 pounds) of moose can slam down on the roof of a car like a boulder, killing or maiming."

"Simply reducing the size of the current moose population of 150,000 on the island may not work," says Shane Mahoney, of the Natural Resources Department, "because in a number of areas where there is a low density of moose, there are a high number of accidents."

By analyzing herd movements, scientists hope to learn why moose, who are naturally frightened by traffic, decide to cross the road.

Red Squirrel


Photo Credit

Spring and summer can be quite short in the boreal forest in northern Canada but red squirrels are well adapted to these short periods of plant productivity. They keep themselves alive by burying and hiding the high energy snacks of coniferous tree cones and nuts during warmer months for eating during the winter months. One squirrel can bury over 100 cones each day.

I have had the opportunity of watching one such squirrel scurrying about from our nut tree to his home across the pasture with his mouth full and then back again in no time flat. In the spring, when planting our garden, I find little nut trees popping up everywhere. Similarly squirrels enthusiastically disperse the cones and seeds of the boreal forest. The seeds are somewhat protected and have a better chance of germinating, when they are buried under an inch or so of top soil.

Other Denizens of Canada's Boreal Forest:

Residents of Canada's boreal forest include mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bison, woodland caribou, mule deer, white-tailed deer, elk, black and grizzly bear, coyote, raccoon, weasel, marten, mink, ermine, sable, striped skunk, bobcat, porcupine, woodchuck, chipmunk and many more.

(See Gallery below.)

The largest animals of the boreal forest.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Glacier National Park Mountain GoatsBighorn SheepBisonWoodland CaribouMule DeerWhite-tailed DeerElkBlack BearGrizzly BearBlack Bear Cubs
Glacier National Park Mountain Goats
Glacier National Park Mountain Goats
Bighorn Sheep
Bighorn Sheep
Woodland Caribou
Woodland Caribou
Mule Deer
Mule Deer
White-tailed Deer
White-tailed Deer
Black Bear
Black Bear
Grizzly Bear
Grizzly Bear
Black Bear Cubs
Black Bear Cubs

Photo Credits:

For the above gallery.

Canada's Boreal Forest Gallery

Mountain Goat

Courtesy of: Wikimedia

Photo by: Brad Emerson

Bighorn Sheep

Courtesy of: Wikimedia Public Domain


Courtesy of: Wikimedia Public Domain

Woodland Caribou

Courtesy of: Wikimedia

Photo by: D. Gordon E. Robertson

Mule Deer (at Clearwater Pass in Banff National Park)

Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons

Photo by: Alcazar Mountain

White-tailed deer

Courtesy of: Will Borden


Courtesy of: Wikimedia Public Domain

Black Bear

Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

Photo By: Ken Thomas

Grizzly Bear

Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons

Photo by: Charlesjsharp

Black Bear Cubs

Courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain


Birds of the boreal forest. - Warbler


Photo Credit

The boreal forest is beloved in summer by birds. In fact, it is estimated that several billion birds of over 200 species breed every year in the boreal forest. Nighthawks nest on its cool floor, robins, boreal chickadees and kiglets, flycatchers, jays and grouse are abundant, and each marshy lake has its flock of noisy red-winged blackbirds and its waterfowl. Bonaparte's gulls nest in the trees; the boreal owl hoots over the swamps all year long.

Small birds such as warblers, vireos, thrushes, kinglets, grosbeaks, sparrows, and flycatchers which are hard to see but wonderful to listen to, pass through the boreal to breed further north.

In winter when the forest seems almost balmy compared to the bleak alpine willow patarmigan come visiting.

In the far northeast corner of the the province of British Columbia, in the Peace River area breaks the pattern of dark forest, its parklands dotted with groves of aspen birch, willow and balsam poplar. Into this region with its prairie climate come birds more commonly seen east on the prairies: the large black common grackle; rose-breasted grosbeak; black-and-white, magnolia and Connecticut warblers; and eastern phoebe. The jay most often seen here is the blue jay of the east, not the Steller's of the coast or the whisy jack of the southern mountains.

Notes from the Northern Boreal wandering bird biologist's field journals

I found this to be a very interesting, educational and enjoyable article published in "The Manitoban" by Bryce Hoye on the thermoregulation; foraging black terns; red-winged black birds and the "trillers" of the Alberta boreal region.

If you wander over to their website, please return back here. The best is yet to come.

Federal Protected Areas in Canada

For Birds

The designation of Yosemite (1864) and Yellowstone (1872) as national parks in the United States is often referred to as the beginning of modern protected areas, i.e., formally designated pristine and wilderness areas that were set aside for protection and for the enjoyment of the public and future generations. The creation of the first modern protected areas in Canada began with the designation of Banff National Park (1885) and last, Mountain Lake Waterfowl Refuge (1887).

At present, there are 92 Migratory Bird Sanctuaries across Canada, comprising almost 11.5 million hectares of habitat that provides safety for migratory birds, species at risk and other species of national interest.

Photo: Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks (Banff, Alberta) Photo Credit

A Grand Exodus - Red-Breasted Nuthatches

Photo Credit

This fall the diminutive and arobatic Red-Breasted Nuthatches and the Pine Siskins have uncharacteristically flocked from the boreal forest in droves, flying south to the U.S. border.

Why this incredible influx of birds that are quintessential north country birds? Because, across much of the Canadian boreal forest, the seed crop has failed. Faced with no food for the winter because of the dismal cone/seed production in the Boreal forest it is a flight for survival.

Fun Fact: The nuthatch's habit of wedging a seed into the bark of a tree and hammering it has given rise to its name.

The Pine Siskin

Pine Siskin of the Boreal Forest
Pine Siskin of the Boreal Forest

Photo Credit

The Pine Siskin is a Boreal Forest bird in the finch family that migrates readily depending on its food supply.

Fun Fact: When eating from conifers, the Pine Siskin usually hangs upside down from the tips of the cones.


Life in the boreal forest waters - Arctic Greling

Arctic Greyling
Arctic Greyling

Photo Credit

Fast rivers, streams and lakes throughout the Canadian boreal forest are home to about 130 species of fish. The mountain whitefish, Arctic graling, walleye and northern pike are found only in far northern waters and feed on lake trout, white sucker and lake sturgeon.

The lower reaches of larger rivers where nutrient levels are high, support populations of white sturgeon, a primitive shark-like fish which grows slowly to monster proportions - the largest recorded weighed 818 kilograms - and lives for a very long time. Fished heavily by the first settlers, this fish was considered commercially extinct as early as 1901. Sturgeon are making a slow comeback and today are fished mainly for sport.

Lake Sturgeon - Why valuable and what is happening to them.

Sturgeon is a valuable gourmet food fish, as well as source of specialty products including caviar and isinglass.

Today, limited sturgeon fishing is permitted in only a few areas.

In addition to over-harvesting, it has been negatively affected by pollution and loss of migratory waterways. It is vulnerable to population declines through over-fishing due to its extremely slow reproductive cycle; most individuals caught before twenty years of age have never bred and females spawn only once every four or five years.

In 2012, the largest sturgeon harvested (a female) was 125 years old, weighed 240 pounds, and measured 87.5 inches in length. Few sturgeons now reach that extreme old age or large size as previous generations often did.


Economy from the boreal forests - Life is good!

Photo Credit

Every summer, rented RVs trundle across Canadian highways, occupants gaping at the vastness and beauty of the landscape.

Yet the beauty and diversity did not score many points with the first Europeans to see it. Most suffered long journeys aboard cramped, sour-smelling, poorly provisioned ships to arrive here, or made arduous treks through swamps and over icy mountain passes. Little wonder the newcomers were often in a bad mood by the time they reached the "land of promise," unlikely to praise the scenery as they named a Desolation Sound, a Mosquito Creek, or a Red River.

What did they find attractive about the landscape? What they had set out in search of - the prospect of profit. They cast assessing eyes on furs and salmon, tall trees they could cut for timber, creeks they could pan for gold, grasslands where they could pasture their animals, and swamps they could drain for farmland and settlements.

Log booms now.

Log booms now.
Log booms now.

Employment Enjoyed in Canada's Boreal Forest - Real, live, people tell it as it is.

The boreal forest offers a diversity of employment for our young.


Summer Hikes in the boreal forest. - Will and Me

Water sport - Whee! What fun! That's me!

Water sport
Water sport

Kayaking in the boreal forest region.

Kayaking in the boreal forest region
Kayaking in the boreal forest region

Photo Credit

The Inuit people live in a part of Canada devoid of forests. But that did not stop them from building watercraft. For raw materials, the Inuit used the skins of seals and caribou, as well as bones and driftwood that washed onto Arctic shores. Animal fat helped make the vessels waterproof. The result was the kayak.

The most obvious difference between a kayak and a conventional canoe is the kayak's cover, which affords some protection from the elements and allows the kayak to roll over without taking on much water. Modern kayaks are usually made from fiberglass and other synthetic materials.

A journey by kayak along ancient waterways is a good way to rediscover our lost relationship with the natural world and the Creator who put it all together so long ago. Many would heartily agree with that!

Dog Sledding - A means of transportation .. also pleasure.

Dog Sledding in Canada
Dog Sledding in Canada

Courtesy of: Wikimedia

Photo by: Martin Male

Winter Camping - Hot Tenting

Winter Camping Poll

After looking at the videos.. do you think that you'd like to try winter camping?

See results

Ice Fishing - A wonderful experience!

Ice fishing in Canada
Ice fishing in Canada

Public Domain

Ice fishing in Canada on the Ottawa river between Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec

Simple? Do we just drill a hole in the ice and start fishing?

Well, not as simple as that if you are going to catch enough for your evening meal. Choosing the right location is essential. Since fish use less energy to find food in the winter, it is important to know where the fish congregate. Some fishermen have a successful fishing history behind them and they can pinpoint a good location by earlier ice-fishing outings. If going to strange waters, a careful survey on the map and planning beforehand where to look for fish is the best idea. An ice fisherman also learns to observe the weather and its effects on the movement of fish. He can look for fish by drilling holes in the ice in various places. A fisherman may drill dozens of holes during a day.

Knox Armory N-3B Parka
Knox Armory N-3B Parka

Don't be caught in the Northern clime without a warm parka. This is my pick for men.


Stay warm and dry during winter trekking.

Winter/cold weather can be uncomfortable if you are not wearing the proper protective gear. Here are a few items selected to make your wintertime in the snow more fun and safe.

Salomon Men's Toundra Mid Waterproof Winter Boot
Salomon Men's Toundra Mid Waterproof Winter Boot

This winter boot will keep your feet comfortably warm and dry when outdoors during the coldest weather.


Future of wildlife in Canada's boreal forest. - Is there any hope for survival?

Photo Credit

The great wonder of this planet is the profusion and diversity of life that it sustains, both on land and under the water. Many of the problems related to the wild kingdom seem unsolvable. As human populations grow, deforestation progresses and wildlife is squeezed into smaller and smaller areas, the managing and preserving of that wildlife will become more and more difficult.


wildlife are pained at its wanton destruction by thoughtless individuals.


Threats to the Boreal Regions

A fire we witnessed 2011.
A fire we witnessed 2011.

Photo Credit

It is my opinion that the boreal forest of Canada is just as important to the global ecosystem as the Tropical Forests and they should be given equal attention by all concerned with forestry and the environment.

Real threats to the boreal forest are:

~ Fire (a little is good but not so with extreme fires)

~ Air pollution (from smelters and power plants)

~ Radioactivity (from atomic power and weapons testing)

~ Adverse impact of new mineral and oil/gas extraction.

~ New threats to endanger species.

Below are a few videos I have chosen that emphasis some of the threats to our boreal forest.


See what a difference approximately 2 hours can make to a forest on fire.

Mining Tar Sands Threaten the Boreal Forest

Our beautiful ecosystem under threat. - Very moving!

Speaker - Dr. Wade Davis - Anthropologist

Dr. Davis grew up in Montreal but now lives in Northern B.C. He loves studying people and their culture. As a widely-traveled anthropologist looking at the many cultures around the world, he says, "It gives you the opportunity to live among people who have not forgotten the old ways. All of these people teach us that there are other ways of being, thinking and orienting ourselves in social, spiritual and ecological space."

Climate Change - An immediate danger!


It's Not Too Late

Photo Credit

Those of us who share Canada's boreal forest environment have two things for which we can be grateful. The first, is a rich and diverse natural heritage unique in the industrialized world. The second is an unequaled-opportunity to make that heritage a part of our future.

Environmental concern as we now know it is a relatively recent phenomenon in this region. It is not long ago that we began collectively to understand that our development and our technology had the potential for disrupting natural living systems, including those on which we ourselves ultimately depend. It was even more recently that we actually began to do something about it.

In many parts of the world this understanding, and the lessons that accompanied it, came too late to prevent major environmental damage. In the boreal forest of Canada, we were more fortunate. Today, we are still in a position to strike a balance between the impact of development and the quality of environment we want to maintain - and we have those bitter lessons of others to guide us.

Can you help? - Will you speak out?

"People have been putting their bodies on the line and risking arrest in order to protect our future, to ... read more

If you could, would you do your utmost to save the forests of the world?

See results

Greenpeace Campaigns - Wonderful to watch!

Signing of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement - A Large Step Forward

MAY 2010, twenty-one members of Forest Products Association of Canada signed a voluntary agreement with Enviornmental organizations that accounts for an area of 170 million hectares with a 3 year moratorium on logging covering 29 million acres of boreal forest to allow for endangered species to recover. (Caribou)

The FPAC agreed to support the government's work on reducing Greenhouse gas emissions across the supply chain of producers and improving the prosperity of communities that rely on the Canadian forests.

More information about this agreement is available on the Website at the address: The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement - An Agreement Signifying a New Era of Joint Leadership in the Boreal Forest

Still a Concern:

Will poorer countries such as Indonesia and Brazil, who have a more complex commercial structure, adopt a similar agreement? They may not have the resources to effectively monitor problems such as deforestation.

Whatever happens with other countries, I am happy that Canada has proved willing to take responsible steps to increase forest sustainability.

Clear and Concise - Well done!

If you can get by the little boy with the caribou head, I believe you will come to understand:

~ Why the aboriginals were not involved in the signing of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement.

This was one thing that puzzled me.

2011 Woodland Licence - Huu-Ay-Aht First Nation

A Huu-ay-aht forestry worker at work
A Huu-ay-aht forestry worker at work

Flickr. Photocredit: Ryan Godard

About 80% of Canada's aboriginal population (including one million in over 500 First Nations and Métis) lives in forested areas and the boreal forest. Of that number, over 17,000 work in the forest products industry. Hundreds of cities and towns within its territory derive at least 20% of their economy from the forest, mainly from industries like forest products, mining, oil, gas and tourism.

The Huu-ay-aht First Nation signed the first-ever First Nations' woodland licence with the Province of British Columbia at the B.C. Legislative Buildings on December 2, 2011.

The new First Nations Woodland Licence provides increased tenure security and improves Huu-ay-aht First Nations' ability to secure investment and loans.

Very encouraging words.

SUMMARY - We Have Learned and Are Still Learning

Photo Credit

It is no exaggeration to say that we have probably learned more, and learned to care more, about our environment during the last couple of decades than in the previous two hundred years since man first began to have major impact here. But while there is a strong tendency to judge past actions by today's standards, the real challenge is in applying our current knowledge and understanding to the future. And this is a job we all share, just as we all share the environment itself.

The results will show in the way we plan for major developments and will depend on the degree to which individual Canadians learn to participate in a conserving society. The economic, political and educational mechanisms are there; we have only to apply them.

So in a very important way, this lens comes at just the right time. In showing our country at its best, it serves not only as a celebration of the natural beauty we now enjoy but also as a warning that we have much to lose if we ignore the needs of the land, the water, the plants and animals that surround us. These are the images of the present. But with vigilance, and the proper application of technologies now available to protect our environment, they will also be the images of the future.

Tar Sands in Alberta - Canada's worst environmental disaster!

Please share this video with your friends and family in order to help spread the word. Together we can make a difference, together we can stop the destruction.

Soundtrack: Adagio for Strings by Boston Symphony

Read and Weep

Facts about the Tar Sands in Alberta

  • It covers an area the size of England and Wales combined: Total area= 140,200 km squared, or 54,132 square miles.
  • Oil from the tar sands is one of the world's most carbon-intensive fuels.
  • Two tonnes of tar sand produces a single barrel of oil.
  • The tar sands generate 40 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, more than every car in Canada combined.
  • The oil itself is bitumen which contains cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
  • To reach the bitumen, the Boreal Forest is destroyed.
  • Because of the tar sands, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions have grown more since 1990 than those of any other G8 nation.
  • Important waterways like the Athabasca River are being contaminated by 11 million litres of toxic waste every day.
  • Because of the Canada oil sands, the air is polluted with dangerous toxins, poisoning communities with rare cancers and autoimmune diseases.
  • It destroys critical animal habitats and some of Canada's most pristine landscapes.
  • Unfortunately, the Alberta government has approved every proposed project.

Take action and spread the word!


Other articles you may find enjoyable, fightening and/or enlightening.

A book that puts it all in perspective. - Kindle or Hardcover

"Like a Tree" is an inspirational, spiritual and educational book for anyone who has ever admired, felt soothed by, or loved being in a tree, under trees, or in the woods. I really enjoyed reading it!

Like a Tree: How Trees, Women, and Tree People Can Save the Planet
Like a Tree: How Trees, Women, and Tree People Can Save the Planet

I wholeheartedly recommend this book.

~ LaraineRose


I'd really like to know ..

What, if anything, did you like about this lens?

See results

My closing comments and ...

Camping in the boreal forest.
Camping in the boreal forest.

Upon Reflection

In the boreal forest.

As the sun is about to go down, the mountains that surround the valley of Canim Lake, B.C. stand blue against the darkening sky. I can hear the slip, slap of the lake below, and see the stars as they emerge beyond the trees. Then the northern lights begin to flow across the darkening heavens, and I am struck once more by the heart-aching beauty of the borel forest landscape.

Photo Credit

Reference Material

~ Farrar, J.L. 1995. Trees in Canada. Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service, Ottawa. (May be ordered online at

~ Henry, J.D. 2002. Canada's Boreal Forest, Smithsonian Institute Press, Washington.

~ Nelson, J., and M.J. Paetz. 1992. The fishes of Alberta, second edition. University of Alberta Press, Edmonton.

~ Map: Canada's boreal forest: Reproduced with the permission of The Atlas of Canada, Geomatics for Connecting Canadians Program, Earth Sciences Sector, Natural Resources Canada, 2006.

Thank you dear friends,

I have had such an overwhelming response to this lens! Thank you for the attention you gave to this lens on a subject of such importance to me.

A humble thank you,

~ LaraineRose

Are you a writer?

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Are you interested in making a page like this? If you are, it is really quite easy.

Just Click Here to a free account and start your own "lens" on a topic of your choice.

For some there comes a moment of epiphany that reveals the intrinsic value of an old-growth forest or an undisturbed stream. For me, as for many, it has been a slow realization of what would be lost if I could no longer walk beneath the forest canopy, gaze across the startling colors of the dry country hills, or wander between the steep mountains of a narrow river valley. Even when I cannot visit these landscapes, it is tremendous comfort knowing they are there.

What about you?

A chance for you to speak

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      Blackspaniel1 3 years ago

      The images are fantastic, and so many. And the videos must have takes hours to find.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      It is my pleasure to return to Canada's boreal forest with fresh angel dust and I enjoyed the quizzes you've added since I has here before......I have to say that I feel refreshed on my walk through your forest!

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 5 years ago

      Just back to read my favourite lens again.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @StrongMay: Thank you for visiting and liking this lens!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @takkhisa: Thank you for visiting this lens. It is near and dear to me.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Phillyfreeze: Without these "air-filters" as you call them where would we be? Nowhere! Thank you for your visit and comment!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Jo-Jackson: Why, I thank you! I am so happy that it meant so much to you!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @TeamWRWW: Oh yes, they are helping immensely!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @christinebbr lm: Yes, I agree. There are a lot of beautiful places to see in the world but I believe that Canada is one of the loveliest. :)

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @sheriangell: Thank you, Shirl. I appreciate your visit, comment and blessing!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @ajgodinho: Thank you for your visit! I appreciate the time you took to read and comment .. and bless this lens, of course! :)

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @kayla_harris: Yes, it is. I hope that we can keep it that way.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @fullofshoes: Thank you my dear friend. I appreciate your visit, comment and blessing!

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      StrongMay 5 years ago

      Wow, awesome pictures!

    • takkhisa profile image

      Takkhis 5 years ago

      It is a great lens, no doubt.

    • Phillyfreeze profile image

      Ronald Tucker 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      LaraineRose, you have constructed a very educational, useful and relevant lens on the importance of saving not only the Boreal Forest but Forests and Rain Forest and Wetlands from around the world.

      The deforestation that happens around the world on a daily basis not only detroys the natural animal habitats but will have direct effect on humankind globally. I like to think of green spaces like the Boreal Forest, the Amazon, and the Costa Rican Rain Forest as the earths "Natural Air-Filters"

    • Jo-Jackson profile image

      Jo-Jackson 5 years ago

      I am only new to Squidoo but I have been looking at lots of lenses and this is the best I have seen. It was fascinating, nformative with beautiful pictures and so well-structured. It absolutely deserved the purple star. You are an inspiration for this newbie!

    • TeamWRWW profile image

      TeamWRWW 5 years ago

      Loved that you had Ducks Unlimited on this lens.

    • christinebbr lm profile image

      christinebbr lm 5 years ago

      Canada is a sure place to go to see beautiful and exotic animals. I love the documentaries :-)

    • sheriangell profile image

      sheriangell 5 years ago

      My what an amazing lens! I really enjoyed my visit here and will have that image of the owl in flight embedded in my mind for a very long time! How beautiful. Leaving an Angel blessing to go along with your well deserved LotD.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Wow, wonderful work on this lens showcasing Canada's Boreal forest. I enjoyed learning more about this beautiful country, but also the importance of these natural eco-systems that span across Canada. Congrats on this well-deserved LOTD. Stay blessed!

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      kayla_harris 5 years ago

      Wow, what a beautiful place!

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      fullofshoes 5 years ago

      Back for another visit to finish reading this magnificent lens. As always, your lenses are worth more than one visit. ~blessed~

    • Chris Copeland profile image

      Chris 5 years ago from Katy

      Wow, I want to go. Such an awesomely beautiful shot of the great grey owl. Love it!!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Terrific in-depth lens on this topic. I learned so much and very much enjoyed seeing all the animals.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      Stunning! Congratulations on LOTD!

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      I think this should have been awarded "Lens of the Month!" Gerald and I have spent all morning reading about Canada's Boreal Forest, and there are still some videos we haven't watched yet! Beautifully done!

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      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      I love learning about new places to visit, thanks for the information.

    • pheonix76 profile image

      pheonix76 5 years ago from WNY

      This is a really informative lens -- thanks so much for putting this together. The Boreal Forest is a beautiful place and a delicate ecosystem that is threatened by climate change and other human interference. Congrats on LotD -- happy to see one on a topic of such importance. :)

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Thanks for sharing an interesting lens. Congratulations for the LotD. Blessed.

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      davecurrtis 5 years ago

      It's really amazing to know that these are the living creatures of this forest, great lense!

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      Funkysi 5 years ago

      really great lens, thank you

    • Craftypicks profile image

      Lori Green 5 years ago from Las Vegas

      This is an example of what a lens should look like. Stunning and your layout was the bomb.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Absolutely superb lens. Very meaningful information on environmental information that impacts all of us. Congratulations on getting the Purple Star and LoTD!

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      grannysage 5 years ago

      What a well-researched, passionate, and thought-provoking lens. It truly deserved LOTD. I grew up in a town named Ahmeek, which means beaver in Ojibwe. My mother grew up with wolves and moose on the island of Isle Royale. Wildlife preservation is near and dear to my heart. Thank you for telling us more about the boreal forest.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      Congrats on LOTD. This is an amazing collection of information on these forests. I had no idea that they went from coast to coast all the way across Canada. I loved the photos and learned loads. We must protect these regions with all our might.

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      MarcellaCarlton 5 years ago

      Yes, I love the forest. I have often went camping alone in the forest.

    • Anthony Altorenna profile image

      Anthony Altorenna 5 years ago from Connecticut

      Spectacular! The Canadian Boreal Forest is stunning in it's beauty and in it's importance to the global community. Even when I cannot visit these landscapes, it is tremendous comfort knowing they are there -- and need to be here for every generation.

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Gorgeous and wonderfully informative lens! I've been to forests in Canada, but not the boreal forest. Beautiful!

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 5 years ago from Washington State

      Amazing forest, now I want to go to Canada!

    • blue autumn profile image

      blue autumn 5 years ago

      absolutely beautiful

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      ohcaroline 5 years ago

      Beautifully written and illustrated lens. Congratulations on your LOTD.

    • flicker lm profile image

      flicker lm 5 years ago

      Such a wonderful article! Loved the photos. The video about beavers was especially interesting. Never knew that they had water channels into the woods around their "ponds".

    • fugeecat lm profile image

      fugeecat lm 5 years ago

      that forest is so beautiful!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 5 years ago from Southampton, UK

      What an absolutely brilliant lens, and well deserving of Lens Of The Day. Love the photos, content and the layout too, you did an amazing job on this lens.

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      AlexBPearl 5 years ago

      Brilliant lens. Thank you. AP

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      MeaPoethree 5 years ago

      great lens, amazing forest..

      lets we are save our world by save the forest and trees

    • alicewright1 profile image

      alicewright1 5 years ago

      Thank you for your beautiful and poignant lens. And congratulations on being named Lens of the Day!

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      Pete Schultz 5 years ago

      Congrats on LOTD, it is well deserved. I live close enough to throw a rock into Canada, the health of the frest is quite important to me.

    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 5 years ago

      We must protect our forests. Excellent lens!

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      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Very nicely done. It must be a magnificent place to visit. Congratulations on LOTD.

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      coolmon2009 lm 5 years ago

      Nice lens and good information

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love your passion for this - your words and pictures really convey your love and concern for the Boreal Forest. Thank you for sharing - Blessed

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      hendro-arvel 5 years ago

      absolutely touched. I hope not a bad thing for our earth. salute to you

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Thanks for bringing awareness to this beautiful and ecologically important place and its inhabitants. Outstanding work!

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      RinchenChodron 5 years ago

      Congratulations on the LOTD! A truly great lens. Wonderful

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      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Wow - this looks like a stunning place - thanks so kindly for sharing it with us here. Blessed by a SquidAngel, and congrats on that well-deserved LotD award!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      What a beautiful and amazing Lens of the Day! Congratulations!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing and congratulations on LotD!

    • stennajohns profile image

      stennajohns 5 years ago

      Canada's Boreal Forest is an example of brotherhood between Human and Living Beings. Very Interesting Lens to read and to watch it.Hope,more and more people should watch this Video and Article.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      wonderful lens...and congratulations on the LOTD

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 5 years ago

      Beautiful lens, your love for nature and heritage are impressive. This is the type pf lens I love.


    • MrMojo01 profile image

      MrMojo01 5 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • SheilaMilne profile image

      SheilaMilne 5 years ago from Kent, UK

      Congratulations! This is so well deserving of LOTD, the purple star and anything else that comes your way. :)

    • Snowsprite profile image

      Fay 5 years ago from Cornwall, UK

      Wow stunning lens. Canada is one of the places I want to visit. We had the same trouble with deer where I used to live. Congratulations on your purple star.

    • AfroMuscle profile image

      AfroMuscle 5 years ago

      this has to be the most comprehensive lens I have seen thus far. Congras!!

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      dellgirl 5 years ago

      Congratulations on making Popular Pages - Featured Lenses, getting the Purple Star, AND Lens of the Day!I like this so much. ~Blessed by a SquidAngel~

    • thememorybooksh1 profile image

      thememorybooksh1 5 years ago

      With Lot of information about canada forest.. this lest get LOTD .

    • nicks44 profile image

      nicks44 5 years ago

      Just simply beautiful ... Thanks a lot for sharing these amazing facts!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Excellent lens on a beautiful place that obviously needs more people like you to sing its praises and remind us all why we need to protect its beauty. *blessed

    • neotony profile image

      neotony 5 years ago

      did not know, must go see

    • NightMagic profile image

      NightMagic 5 years ago

      What a truly amazing lens & a more than well deserved purple star. Congrats on the LOTD. I love Canada's boreal forest. Every chance I get, I'm there. Can't think of a better place I'd want to be.

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      rahuls66 5 years ago

      Good lens - nice topic, beautiful pics. Well done and congrats for LOTD.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Just saw LotD and flew back to congratulate you and I think Steve is just as pleased as you I said, he's tingling down to his toes!

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 5 years ago

      This page is wonderful, very well done :)

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      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Laraine, You have created a masterpiece. You exceeded my most optimistic expectations. And yet, this is you: Total excellence in everything that you do. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    • theXodus profile image

      theXodus 5 years ago

      It's amazing the beauty of this world... I hope we can save this forest and keep it pristine.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Oh, I forgot to mention that Steve is going to be tingling down to his toes with your response to his challenge...and FB liked, it was a joy to come through it all's a loooonnng way to the guest book!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have the same heart you have about the boreal forest, even if I'm not able to walk under their canopy, its important to me that they are there. I grew up in northern Minnesota where the animal population is similar to what you have in Canada and I have even seen a Canada Lynx a few rare times in our neck of the woods. It was common to see black bear, squirrels, skunk, porkupine, woodchuck, beaver and several others that you mention but didn't have elk, mountain goats, big horn sheep, caribou or grizzlies. This is indeed another masterpiece lens you have created and it is my joy to leave an angel blessing.

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      WillBorden 5 years ago

      Hi Laraine- very diligently researched! Extremely timely information on a very important topic that all of us need to be intimately familiar with!! Brilliantly presented- masterful work! No wonder it earned you a purple star!!! Will

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @captainj88: Thank you for your visit and comment. The beavers are so much fun to watch!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @Sylvestermouse: I hope that you do come for a visit. The forest is really important to us .. it is a real heritage that we mus protect.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @LouisaDembul: Thank you for your comment. It made me smile.

    • captainj88 profile image

      Leah J. Hileman 5 years ago from East Berlin, PA, USA

      I agree with you that the Canadian forests should be given as much awareness and assistance as rainforests. This was a very informative lens. I especially enjoyed watching the beavers working so industriously.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 5 years ago from United States

      Wow! This is really an awesome lens! Now, I really want to visit in person :)

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      My brother drove through Canada once and has never been the same ever since. I hope to visit the boreal forest one day.

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @aka-rms: Thank you, Robin!

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      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Fabulous! Just fabulous!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @aesta1: Thank you so much! We have relatives who live in BCs boreal forest and have visited there often. It is beautiful!

    • LaraineRoses profile image

      Laraine Sims 5 years ago from Lake Country, B.C.

      @ecogranny: Thank you for your interesting comment. Yes, we are trying to keep our boreal forests in tact. Some will die from natural causes but usually those areas come back. I have a niece working for the Forestry and she plants trees in deforested areas. Hard work and she is to be admired.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Laraine, you outdid yourself once more. What a great resource on Canada's boreal forest. I have visited once and was really impressed.

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      Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Fantastic page! What an accomplishment. You responded to Steve Kaye's Hot Potato challenge with vigor. You have enough material here for a dozen or so lenses, yet condensed it beautifully into one.

      Thank you, especially, for including the information about the efforts to save the Boreal Forest. I understand it continues to be under attack, especially through the tar sands mining operations. Yet Canadians have done a great deal to protect the forest already, including, if memory serves, requiring that all books published in Canada be printed on recycled paper or FSC Certified paper. That's one giant step in the right direction.

    • GeorgeneMBramlage profile image

      Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

      Thank you so much for a beautiful, well-constructed and thought-provoking lens! There is so much to see and read here that it would take slow-me almost all day to absorb it all ;+) Lucky you to have observed most of these animals. I'll be back!

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      MimayManalo 5 years ago

      let us enjoy taking care of some land in our planet covered with trees and shrubs. this will help us eventually :)