Forests

  • Canada has 10 percent of the world’s forests.
  • Canada has 397.3 million hectares (ha) of forest, other wooded land and other land with tree cover, which represent 53.8 percent of its total surface area of 738.5 million ha.1
  • Canada’s forest, other wooded land and other land with tree cover are made up of 347.7 million ha (87.5 percent) of forest, 41.8 million ha (10.5 percent) of other wooded land and 7.8 million ha (2 percent) of other land with tree cover.
  • In Canada, the predominant tree species on forest land are spruce (53.2 percent), poplar (11.6 percent) and pine (9.3 percent).
  • In 2009, Canada harvested 118.3 million cubic metres (m3) of roundwood.
  • Annually, less that 1 percent of Canada’s forests are harvested; 0.6 million ha were harvested in 2009. The area of forest harvested is slightly larger than Prince Edward Island.
  • A total of 15.2 million ha were affected by insect defoliation in 2009; 3.2 million ha were lost due to forest fires in 2010.
  • In 2009, an estimated 386 840 ha were planted with 578 million seedlings, and 15 978 ha were seeded.
  • Revenues from the sale of timber from provincial and territorial crown lands were estimated to be $0.1 billion in 2009.

1 The Arctic ecozones (Arctic Cordillera, Northern Arctic, Southern Arctic) and a portion of the Hudson Plains ecozone in Nunavut are not inventoried. The total land and water areas amount to 242.5 million ha and 18.7 million ha respectively. For more information, see Canada’s National Forest Inventory 2006 (http://nfi.nfis.org).

National Economic Importance

  • The forest sector’s contribution to the Canadian economy (GDP) in 2002 constant dollars was $23.5 billion, or 1.9 percent, in 2010.
  • In 2010, the sector provided direct employment for 190 658 people, representing 1.3 percent of total employment in Canada: wood industries, for 88 276 people; pulp and paper product manufacturing industry, for 62 821 people; forestry and logging industry, for 28 485 people; and support activities for forestry industry, for 11 076 people. Employment is spread across Canada but is primarily in Quebec (64 213 people), British Columbia (45 624 people) and Ontario (40 219 people).
  • Wages and salaries for direct employment were $8.8 billion in 2009.
  • In 2010, shipments of pulp, paper and paperboard reached a level of 22.0 million tonnes (t), an increase of 4.4 percent from the previous year.
  • Production of softwood lumber was 52.4 million m3 in 2010.
  • New capital investments totalled $1.6 billion in 2010: pulp and paper product manufacturing industry, $0.9 billion (60 percent); wood product manufacturing industry, $0.5 billion (29.1 percent); and forestry and logging industry, $0.2 billion (10.9 percent).
  • Revenue from goods manufactured was $50.8 billion in 2009.

International Importance

  • In 2010, Canada was the world’s second-largest forest product exporter (10.2 percent).
  • Forest products were a major contributor to Canada’s surplus balance of trade in 2010 ($16.6 billion).
  • The total value of Canadian forest-product domestic exports increased by 10.1 percent in 2010, to $26 billion. British Columbia accounted for $9.0 billion (34.8 percent); Quebec, $7.5 billion (28.8 percent); Ontario, $4.1 billion (15.8 percent); and other provinces and territories, $5.4 billion (20.6 percent).
  • In 2010, Canada ranked first as the world producer of newsprint, contributing 4.6 million tonnes to, or 13.6 percent of, the world’s production.
Table 3. Forest facts
Commodities World production ranking 2010* Domestic
exports 2010
Destination
Total forest pro ducts $26 B (100%) U.S. $16.8 B 64.7%
China $3.0 B 11.5%
E.U. $1.4 B 5.3%
Softwood lumber Second (13.6%) $4.8 B (18.5%) U.S. $2.9 B 60.7%
Japan $0.7 B 14.8%
China $0.68 B 14.0%
Newsprint First (13.8%) $2.8 B (10.8%) U.S. $1.4 B 52.1%
E.U. $0.3 B 10.5%
Brazil $0.2 B 7.9%
Wood pulp Second (11.0%) $7.0 B (26.9%) U.S. $2.9 B 40.9%
China $2.0 B 28.6%
E.U. $0.5 B 7.1%
Other ­  — $11.4 B (43.8%) U.S. $9.5 B 84.3%
E.U. $0.5 B 4.5%
China $0.3 B 2.7%

E.U. – European Union (27 countries)
U.S. – United States
* United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization data for 2010.

Forest Land

Figure 4. Percentage of forest in Canada

Figure 4. Percentage of forest in Canada

  • Canada has the largest area of certified forest in the world – more than 149.8 million ha. Approximately 42 percent of the world’s certified forest area is in Canada. The area of certified forests in Canada is approximately the size of Quebec.
  • Approximately 8 percent of Canada’s forest area is protected by legislation. By law, all forests harvested (less than 1 percent annually) on Canada’s public land must be successfully regenerated