The number of people living in Canada’s boreal forests has been rising rapidly, and the environment agency has already been hit by more than two dozen new fires this year.
Some have been blamed on climate change, others on human activities.
But the environment minister says there are other reasons to worry.
The country’s boreals have become more exposed to extreme weather, including record heat and drought, with more frequent wildfires and severe droughts, said Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq.
The federal government is looking to address these issues, as well as to protect the boreal ecosystem, she said.
“I think the environment is one of the greatest assets that we have, and it’s something that we should be looking after,” Agluzkaq said.
“And it’s one of our key pillars in terms of what we are doing to protect our environment and what we’re doing to support the economy.”
The minister said the government is working with local communities and provinces to address some of these issues.
Aglujkaq has also announced a series of initiatives to increase funding for the boreals.
A spokesperson for the Environment Canada said that the agency has received about 20,000 applications for funding from municipalities across Canada.
Aguljkap says they are working with communities to help them decide how they will allocate their money, and they are also encouraging them to consult with stakeholders, including industry.
“We’re trying to encourage the public to get involved in the decision making process,” she said, “and we’re encouraging the federal government to step up and provide support.”
In Alberta, the province is also looking to better protect the environment and the economy.
The province has already allocated $5.8 million for new projects to protect boreal habitats and restore ecosystems.
Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said the province also is seeking additional support from the federal and provincial governments.
“The provincial government is currently reviewing proposals to protect northern boreal forest ecosystems,” she wrote in an email.
“We’re also reviewing the feasibility of a proposal to protect Canada’s northern boreals from extreme weather events, including climate change.”
(AP Photo/Cheryl Harkness) In New Brunswick, Environment Minister James Carr is also exploring ways to increase the provincial budget.
“Our province has had a long and rocky history with climate change and the impacts of it,” he wrote in a statement.
“However, our efforts are building on a foundation of strong, resilient and resilient boreal ecosystems that are already resilient to climate change.
We need to work together to ensure we continue to be a leader in climate action, as this is a critical global climate change issue.”