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Climate Change in Boreal Forests - Research Paper Example

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This paper on climate change seeks to address various issues related to the impact of climate on the Boreal forest range. Climate change is a serious global issue which has negatively affected the natural eco-systems in various parts of the globe over the years. …
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Climate Change in Boreal Forests
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Download file to see previous pages According to the research findings the shifts occurring in climate is hence highly likely to affect the forest areas as well, due to the change in precipitation conditions, leading to an expansion in some forest areas, particularly those falling within temperate zones; and contraction in certain other areas, such as those witnessed in the Boreal forest regions and the tropical forest regions. The changes are believed to have occurred due to the change in global climate and precipitation levels, over the years. Although it is highly difficult to predict with accuracy, the exact change in forest areas, which can directly be attributed to climate change. There are various evidences based on empirical research on the subject and other available literature, which is discussed in the following sections. Research suggests that the factors such as climate change fuelled with unsustainable human activities such as deforestation and extensive land conversions are driving the deterioration of forests and natural habitation worldwide. According to Burton et al such activities is likely to increase the risk of natural disasters such as forest fires especially in forest areas which have low precipitation and is prone to dryness in the weather as is observed in the Boreal forest range. The conifer-dominated Boreal forest comprises of almost one third of the earth's forest systems covering approximately 1.7 billion hectares stretching across Scandinavia, Alaska, Russia and northern Canada. (MNR.org, 2012). Almost two thirds of this forest range is located in the Eurasian region and the remaining one third in the Canadian province and Alaskan region (Hare and Ritchie, 1972). In Canada the boreal forest spans over a region of 290 million hectares and extends from the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest in Ontario to the lowlands in Hudson Bay. The Boreal forest comprises of a vast and varied range of flora and fauna, ranging from larch, pine, spruce to fir, birch, aspen, willow and alder. The overall composition of the boreal forest i.e. the natural vegetation, the soil, and the climate is relatively simple yet its interaction with the external forces as a result of climate change, such as the availability of necessary nutrients, rising temperature, and the ecology of forces has added to the complexity and gravity of the issue (Bonan, 1989; Bonan & Shugart, 1989; Viereck & Schandelmeier, 1980). The uniqueness of the composition of the Boreal forest enables it to sustain in the cold weather and store the large amount of carbon deposits which are held in its organic soils (McGuire et al., 1995; Alexeyev & Birdsey, 1998). The fact that the mean global temperature are on a steady rise and the temperature rise in the Boreal forest region, due to climate change, has been recorded in the upper latitudes in Northern Hemisphere (Serreze et al., 2000). The large scale transformations in the forest management practices, owing to the increase in unsustainable human activities, have resulted in a simultaneous rise in the GHG emissions (Schlamadinger & Marland, 1996). According to researchers, there are various other factors which account to an imbalance in the forest atmosphere which are likely to have a far worse and negative impact on the ecology, as compared to the CO2 emission (Jackson, et al., 2008; Bonan, 2008). These factors arise from the manipulation of the earth’s surface due to human activities, and have the capacity to affect the reflectivity of solar power leading to instant heating up of the atmosphere in and around the area hence ultimately resulting in disturbance and unequal distribution of energy within the climate system (Marland et al., 2003). The following figure shows the change in ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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