Sunday, February 23, 2020

An asset worth billions

Boreal wetland
Watercolour and crayon
Charlene Brown

According to the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices publication, Don’t drain the swamp, wetlands are an asset worth billions of dollars, and fully one quarter of the global supply is found right here in Canada. 

Besides their massive economic and ecological benefits of water cleaning and flood control, wetlands are instrumental in our struggle against a changing climate. Peatlands, for example, store twice as much carbon as forests. This means that Canadians can have a robust carbon mitigation strategy simply by protecting remaining wetlands. Conversely, if wetlands continue drying up, then not only will we lose our ability to sequester carbon, but stored carbon can be released back into the atmosphere—increasing our emissions.

Click on image to enlarge
Over 13 per cent of Canada (1.3 million km2) is classified as wetland ecosystem, a term that includes marshes, swamps, bogs, and fens. Almost two thirds of these wetlands are found in the Boreal zone.  A smaller percentage is located in Montane zones, such as the fenlands in Banff National Park in the painting on the right.