Shocking satellite images expose tar sands damage to boreal forest

Canada’s boreal forest is one of Earth’s major ecological treasures.

Yet the region’s forests are under threat from logging, hydrodams and mining. Satellite data reveals a major new threat to Canada’s boreal forests—tar sands development.

According to data from Global Forest Watch, an online mapping platform that tracks deforestation in near-real time, industrial development and forest fires in Canada’s tar sands region has cleared or degraded 775,500 hectares (almost two million acres) of boreal forest since the year 2000. That’s an area more than six times the size of New York City. If the tar sands extraction boom continues, as many predict, we can expect forest loss to increase.

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