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Keywords:

  • Boreal forest;
  • carbon;
  • climate change;
  • conservation;
  • forest management;
  • mitigation;
  • resilience

Abstract

The absence of boreal forests from global policy agendas on sustainable development and climate change mitigation represents a massive missed opportunity for environmental protection. The boreal zone contains some of the world's largest pools of terrestrial carbon that, if not safeguarded from a conversion to a net source of greenhouse gases, could seriously exacerbate global climate change. At the same time, boreal countries have a strong tradition of forest management—expertise that could be effectively leveraged toward global and national carbon mitigation targets and sustainable development. Current obstacles against such contributions include weak incentives for carbon sequestration and a reluctance to embrace change by forest managers and policy makers. We discuss possible solutions to overcome these obstacles, including the improvement of ineffective incentives, the development of alternative forest management strategies, and the need to maintain ecosystem resilience through the pursuit of policy and management options.