New maps developed by Global Forest Watch demonstrate the ability of Canada’s boreal forest to store carbon.

The three maps, developed for the International Boreal Conservation Campaign, estimate that the boreal forest stores twice the level of carbon as a similar area of forest in tropical regions.

“The boreal forest is to carbon what Fort Knox is to gold,” said Jeff Wells, senior campaign scientist.

“It’s an internationally important repository for carbon, built up over thousands of years.”

Some 186 billion tons of carbon are estimated to be locked up in the boreal forest and peatland ecosystems – the equivalent of 27 years’ worth of global carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.