- Our northern regions provide Canada with natural resources, such as natural gas, oil and minerals (e.g., lead, zinc and silver). Canada has become one of the world's largest producers of diamonds thanks to recent discoveries and new mines in the Southern Arctic.
- Vast areas of wilderness in Canada's North provide irreplaceable habitat for unique animals, such as the polar bear, muskox and the endangered Peary caribou.
- Millions of migrating birds, such as geese, ducks and shorebirds, spend parts of their lives feeding, nesting and raising young in our northern regions.
- Acting as a global climate regulator, ecological systems in Canada's North cool the air and play a role in the circulation of warm and cold waters between northern and southern parts of the globe.
- In its current state, Canada's Arctic region acts as a carbon sink. This means its plants take carbon dioxide from the air, use it to build their roots, stems and leaves, and hold it there for years. The Arctic is especially good at this because the cold conditions slow down the decay of plant matter. Even when a plant dies, it holds onto that carbon for a long time. Since carbon dioxide is a main cause of climate change, this simple service helps keep our entire planet healthier.
People who spend their lives in Canada's northern regions also depend on its healthy ecosystems.
- Aboriginal Peoples have a rich heritage that revolves around their relationships with the land, its plants and its animals. Although this relationship continues to change, many people, including non-Aboriginals, depend on the land for food and employment.
- Tourists flock to Canada's North for a taste of its remote scenery and the chance to see its unique wildlife. They spend money in local communities for tour guides, food, accommodation and other services. That adds up to local jobs and prosperity.
While our North is truly a national treasure, its remoteness does not protect it from harmful changes.
© Canadian Wildlife Federation
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