Northern forests worth up to $250 billion a year, research says

You thought they were just standing there, but forests in Russia, Canada, and other northern nations provide services worth up to $250 billion a year, say Canadian researchers. Water filtration, erosion control, habitat provision, greenhouse-gas absorption, and tourist attraction are highly lucrative pursuits that should be valued by governments, says lead researcher Mark Anielski. The ecological economist calculates that the benefits provided by forests in Canada — home to one-quarter of the world’s forests — would amount to about $83 billion, roughly 9 percent of the nation’s annual gross domestic product. While logging, mining, and other industrial activities lead to short-term economic growth, the long-term risks and problems they pose often go unaccounted for. Anielski, who presented at the just-concluded National Forest Congress in Quebec, hopes his findings will “change the way decisions are made.” Ah, everybody loves a dreamer.