What is the impact of humans on the Taiga?
Human action is having a significant impact on the Taiga.
Deforestation – Current extensive logging in boreal forests may soon cause their disappearance.
Acid rain is also causing significant problems for the Taiga forests. Acid rain is rain that is more acidic than normal. Scientists have discovered that air pollution from the burning of fossil fuels is the major cause of acid rain. Power plants and factories burn coal and oil. The smoke and fumes from burning fossil fuels rise into the atmosphere and combine with the moisture in the air to form acid rain. The main chemicals in air pollution that create acid rain are sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides.
Acid rain does not usually kill trees directly. Instead, it is more likely to weaken the trees by damaging their leaves, limiting the nutrients available to them, or poisoning them with toxic substances slowly released from the soil. Once trees are weak, they can be more easily attacked by diseases or insects that ultimately kill them. Weakened trees may also become injured more easily by cold weather.
Global Warming – Biologists and scientists think temperature changes over the next century may occur at rates 15 to 50 times faster than historical averages. Organisms will have trouble responding to these changes and will face even greater odds of surviving. Extreme changes in temperature and precipitation could cause climatic zones to shift several hundred kilometres toward the poles over the next 50 years. Climatologists are also predicting that the area covered by boreal forests (the taiga) will be reduced by 50-90%.
Use the images below to explore related GeoTopics.