Message from the Minister of Natural Resources

It is my pleasure to present The State of Canada’s Forests: Annual Report 2016. This report describes the current status of a renewable resource that is vital to the economic, social and cultural health of communities across Canada.

Canadians can be proud of our forest sector, which is one of the world’s leaders in sustainable forest management. Canada has nearly 9% of the world’s forests of which less than 0.3% are harvested annually. Our forests have always presented Canada with enormous potential, and this will continue to be the case as we face a changing climate. Indeed, there can be no solution to climate change that does not include Canada’s forests and forest sector. This edition of The State of Canada’s Forests is dedicated to the subject of climate change.

My department is playing an active role to support the commitment Canada made in December 2015 during the climate change conference in Paris. Natural Resources Canada’s scientists have been monitoring and researching the environmental, economic and social impacts of climate change on Canada’s forests and forest sector. Their research is providing a better understanding of how climate change could affect Canada’s forests and providing authoritative data that will help the forest sector adapt to changing circumstances and mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Using wood waste for energy and wood in the construction of tall buildings are examples of how the forest sector can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As well, informed decisions about the species of trees to be used during replanting could help create more resilient forests that are more adaptable to the effects of climate change. Through innovation, Natural Resources Canada is collaborating with the forest sector and the provinces and territories to ensure our forests continue to be both a source of economic growth and one of the solutions to climate change.

During the Fort McMurray wildfires, all levels of government worked collaboratively. My department supported firefighting efforts by using remote sensing data and fire behaviour modelling to produce forecasts that federal and provincial emergency management agencies used to project potential fire growth and to help allocate fire-fighting resources. With these events still fresh in our minds, adopting best practices such as the FireSmart program will ensure our communities are less susceptible to the destructive forces of wildfires in the future.

We will continue to work in partnership with provinces and territories to mitigate the risk of wildland fires. In June, as a member of the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers, the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments reaffirmed their commitments to wildland fire prevention, mitigation, preparedness and suppression through the Canadian Wildland Fire Strategy: A 10-Year Review and Renewed Call to Action.

As a renewable resource, Canada’s sustainably managed forests will continue to provide Canadians with economic prosperity and environmental solutions. And, through innovation and science, I am confident our forest sector will continue to adapt to meet ever-changing global demands.

The Honourable Jim Carr, P.C., M.P.,
Minister of Natural Resources