Ancient Forests Globally

Ancient forests, globally, are under siege. Of the world's original ancient forest cover, only 20% are still intact today. 70% of the world's remaining frontier forests are concentrated in three countries:

  • Canada (in the boreal forests of northern Canada and British Columbia's ancient temperate rainforests ),
  • Brazil (tropical forests) (link to Brazil snapshot), and
  • Russia (boreal forests).

Frontier forests are "the world's remaining large intact natural forest ecosystems. These forests are relatively undisturbed and big enough to maintain all of their bio-diversity." For ecosystems like BC and Alberta these areas need to large enough to accommodate far ranging mammals such as the grizzly bear and the wolf (WRI).

If people would look more into helping the environment instead of destroying it, by doing things such as recycling alternitives in order to cause a green effect for the future. You can find more information on Recycling and oldgrowth on altenergy.org.

IIn North America, 40 % of the remaining frontier forests are under medium to high threat. Outside of the boreal zone, 75% of the world's frontier forests are at risk. The primary threat to the world's and North America's ancient forests is industrial logging (WRI).

Functions of ancient forests

  • Water purification and flow regulator.
  • Storehouses for Bio-diversity – between 50-90% of the world's terrestrial species are housed in ancient forests.
  • Provide habitat for wildlife and plants.
  • Carbon storehouses
  • Moderate global and local climate conditions.
  • Source of medicinals, food and other staples.
  • Home, hunting and gathering areas and spiritual places to many of the world's indigenous peoples.
  • Economic resource for many communities who rely on tourism, logging, fisheries, wild foods.
  • Recreation and relaxation.


Too much, too fast:
A rapacious market demand is driving the destruction of the world's ancient forests. Wood consumption is predicted to increase by 56% from 1993 quantities by 2010. Over-consumption impacts forests in all corners of the globe - in the Amazon, 13% of its 7 million square kilometers has been logged in the past 30 years, only 1% had been deforested in the previous 250 years. In British Columbia a staggering 71million cubic metres is logged every year - enough to fill logging trucks encircling the earth one and a quarter times.

The World's Forests - A Snapshot:
Only 5% of the original forest cover of the lower 48 states of the US remains intact. Most of the forest is fragmented and in isolated islands.

  • 76 countries have lost all of their original forests, another 11 countries have less than 5% remaining.
  • 6% of Asia's, 8% of Africa's and 0.3% of Europe's original forests remain.