The Boreal forest is the world’s largest land-based biome. Spreading over continents and covering many countries, the Boreal plays a significant role in the planet’s biodiversity and even its climate. The biome is known as boreal in Canada, but is also known as taiga, a Russian word. The boreal covers most of inland Canada and Alaska, most of Sweden, Finland and inland Norway, much of Russia, and the northern parts of Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Japan, covering some 12 million square kilometers.
Locked up in the Boreal forests are vast amounts of carbon, and their biomass is so huge and so vital that when they are in their maximum growth phase during the northern spring and summer, the worldwide levels of carbon dioxide fall and the worldwide levels of oxygen rise.
Globally, the existence of large areas of boreal forest cover has a significant effect on the radiative balance of the planet. The boreal forest is the breeding zone for a huge influx of migratory forest birds that perform many important roles (e.g., insect consumption, seed dispersal) in the boreal region and in other forests of the world during migration and winter residence in the south.