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In Canada, there are diverse and reliable sources of energy: oil, natural gas, hydroelectricity, coal, nuclear (uranium), solar, wind, tidal and biomass. Canada is the fifth largest energy producer in the world, after Russia, China, United States and Saudi Arabia, and the eighth largest consumer of energy. Energy consumption sustains economic growth and our standard of living. Canadians are the fourth largest users of energy per person in the world. The energy sector in 2007 contributed 5.6% to the gross domestic product (GDP) and $90 billion in exports.
Given our vast energy resources Canada has both renewable and non-renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is generated from natural resources that are renewable (naturally replenished), for example, hydroelectricity. Non-renewable energy is generated from finite resources that will eventually deplete or become too expensive or too environmentally damaging to retrieve, for example, crude oil.
Canadian forests play a primary role in the ecology, culture and economy of our country. Several types of forest ecosystems can be found, and these areas combined cover almost half of Canada. Canadian forests shelter a large variety of plants, animals and microorganisms, which depend on forested habitats. Forests also play an essential role in both the carbon cycle and water cycle. The Canadian identity and economy are strongly tied to our forests. Forests are a source of sustenance and a means of livelihood for Canadians and Aboriginal Peoples. They provide raw material for the industry as well, they provide opportunities for commercial activities such as hunting, fishing and tourism.
Geology includes the study of the earth’s crust, its structure, the chemical composition and the physical properties of its components. Rock formations are located within the crust, their formation is studied and measurement is made of the forces that create, bend and shape mountains, basins, faults, volcanoes and earthquakes. Geology also examines the erosion of rocks and the deposition of the loose materials. It also reveals the physical history of the Earth.
Rocks are composed of minerals. Each of the thousands of minerals found in the earth’s crust contains a specific combination of elements in specific proportions. Although some elements can be found in an almost pure form (gold or copper, for example), most are chemically bound up in minerals. Human societies have come to value particular elements and minerals more than others, for use as fuels, to make tools and chemicals, or to wear as jewellery. We have also learned to recognize these elements and the minerals that contain them in the rocks that make up the surface of the earth. Prospecting, mining and processing minerals are complex processes that cost significant amounts of money to undertake. Although the return on a mining investment can be high, it can also be highly uncertain.
According to Statistics Canada, Canada's population in 2011 was estimated to be 33 476 688. This represents a growth of 5.9% since the 2006 estimate of 31 612 897.
Canada’s north is a vast area, the three territories alone, Nunavut, Yukon and Northwest Territories, encompass approximately 40% of the total area of Canada. The northern regions of the provinces, which are north of the limit of isolated permafrost, also include the seven provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. Combined the territories and the northern portions of these provinces represent, just less than two-thirds of Canada’s landmass. The presence of permafrost is just one of many ways of demarcating the northern region of Canada, as it provides a natural boundary between northern and southern Canada.
It is an area of varying contrasts, from the taiga (boreal) forests of the subarctic region, to the tundra, permafrost and barren landscape of snow and ice of the Arctic. Most of the population live in isolated communities, scattered across the region with the majority of the population living in the territorial capitals. Fifty-percent of the population in the three territories claim Aboriginal ancestry according to the 2006 Census of Population.
Overall, Canada may be considered a freshwater-rich country: on an average annual basis, Canadian rivers discharge close to 9% of the world's renewable water supply, while Canada has less than 1% of the world's population. Water is also highly visible in Canada: probably no country in the world has as much of its surface area covered by freshwater as does Canada. Of particular note are the Great Lakes. This set of lakes, which is shared with the United States, makes up the largest surface area of freshwater found in one place anywhere in the world. Water is used in the resources and energy industries.
Reference maps encompass international, national and provincial maps in addition to basic black and white outline maps that include capital city locations and/or names.
The Atlas of Canada online is undergoing many changes and in this period of transition, the maps from the archive are not all directly accessible for viewing or downloading.
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