Boreal forests represent a biome of the planet whose unique characteristics are changing rapidly under the influence of both human and natural pressures. These forests hold the key to current and future supply of coniferous industrial wood and at the same time play a significant role in regulating Earth's climatic system. Expected to be one of the most rapidly impacted regions of the world by future climate change, the boreal biome has already been substantially affected by global change. It is likely that if unabated, continued change will lead to impoverishment and degradation of boreal ecosystems, with consequent loss of vital services upon which human society depends. Keywords: biogeochemical cycles, boreal biome, carbon, circumpolar, climate change, disturbance, ecology, forest science, global change, IBFRA, sustainable forest management.