Canada’s boreal forest ecozone is a major part of the global boreal region that encircles the Earth’s northern hemisphere, serving as a significant storehouse for the world’s freshwater supplies, and carbon, contained in its trees, soil, and peat (http://pubs.pembina.org/reports/1000-cuts.pdf, 2006). The boreal is also home to a rich array of wildlife, including migratory birds, waterfowl, bears, wolves, moose, and caribou. Alberta’s share of this boreal forest covers 381,000 km2 (http://environment.gov.ab.ca/info/library/8042.pdf, 2009). Through this runs the Athabasca River, which, at 1,538 km “is Alberta’s longest river and one of the few free-flowing (undammed) rivers left in North America” (http://pubs.pembina.org/reports/LastDrop_Mar1606c.pdf, 2006), and the Peace-Athabasca Rivers watershed has been identified as the World’s third largest watershed (after the Amazon and Mississippi Rivers).
KeywordsClay Methane Toxicity Dust Mercury
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