Feature Image

Moose / Istockphoto

June 22, 2017. Earth / A Geography of Hope

Boreal Forest

Cyril F. Kormos, Russell A. Mittermeier, Tilman Jaeger, Brendan Mackey

Also known as the taiga, boreal forests form a circumpolar belt across North America and northern Eurasia, amounting more than 1.2 billion hectares, or roughly one-third of the global forest estate.  Little more than one-third can be classified as primary forest today. 

The bulk of the vast boreal forest biome is situated in the Russian Federation, Alaska and Canada, with smaller expanses in Scandinavia and Central Asia, including Mongolia and Japan.  The world´s boreal forests share many ecological similarities, including much of their flora and fauna.  While spruce, fir, larch and other conifers dominate; broadleaved trees, such as birch and willow, are an integral part of the forest ecosystems.  The impressive abundance and diversity of vertebrates encompasses charismatic large mammals, such as brown bear, wolf, lynx and the elusive wolverine.  Beyond species values, boreal forests store large quantities of carbon and fresh water.

The boreal forest has long been – and continues to be – the physical and spiritual home of numerous indigenous peoples. The fate of the remaining primary boreal forests is therefore a matter of both nature conservation and cultural survival.


This is an excerpt from the CEMEX Nature Series Book “A Geography of Hope: Saving the Last Primary Forests” (2016)


A Geography of Hope

Saving the Last Primary Forests

buy book

More articles in earth