Possible Greenhouse-Induced
Habitat and Faunal Changes
in the Taiga of Central Canada1

William 0. Pruitt, Jr.2

Department of Zoology,
The University of Manitoba,
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
R3T 2N2

 

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Pruitt, W.O., Jr. 1993. Possible Greenhouse-Induced Habitat and Faunal Changes in the Taiga of Central Canada. pp. 67-84 in: Riewe, R. and J.Oakes (Editors) Human Ecology: Issues in the North 2 117 pp. Edmonton University of Alberta, Canadian Circumpolar Institute.

 

Introduction

One of the main environmental concerns of the present time is the postulated "enhanced greenhouse effect" caused by the marked increase in atmospheric carbon (carbon dioxide, methane, etc.). There is considerable disagreement and argument in the scientific community about the exact magnitude of the effect and its causes, but it has the potential for being second only to "nuclear winter" as a world-wide ecological calamity. Prudence dictates that we give serious consideration to all aspects and potential effects. Everyone agrees that use of fossil fuels is one of the major sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide. What is not generally appreciated is that about half of the atmospheric carbon dioxide added since about 1860 resulted from forest clearing; indeed, possibly 10 percent of the total atmospheric carbon dioxide has resulted from the marked human invasion and almost explosive clearing of forests in the 30 years between 1860 and 1890.

1. First presented as invited paper at the Symposium "Climate Change and the Boreal Forest" at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society of Zoologists, Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ontario, 8-11 May 1991.

2. Professor Pruitt has taught and conducted research in the field of mammalogy and boreal ecology since the late 1950s. He has been with the Zoology Department at the University of Manitoba since 1969. He is internationally recognized for his research in snow ecology and wildlife in northern Canada, the Taiga Biological Station in Manitoba, and in northern Finland.

 


 

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