Key facts about Canada’s forests

Boreal forest

Canada’s forests by the numbers

  • Canada has 347 million hectares of forest land.
  • About 68% of Canada’s forests are coniferous, 16% are mixedwood and 11% are broadleaf.

Canada’s forests account for:

  • 9% of the world’s forest cover
  • 28% of the world’s boreal zone
  • 40% of the world’s forests certified as being sustainably managed


  • Most of Canada’s forest land (90%) is owned and managed on behalf of Canadians by provincial and territorial governments (public land). Two percent of forest land is under federal jurisdiction and 2% is owned and managed by Aboriginal peoples. The remaining 6% of forest land is on private property.
  • The provinces and territories have legislative authority over the conservation and management of the forest resources on the Crown land in their jurisdictions.
  • The federal government has legislative authority over forest resources where those resources affect, or are affected by, matters related to: the national economy, trade and international relations; federal lands and parks; and the government’s constitutional, treaty, political and legal responsibilities for Aboriginal peoples.
  • In 2015, direct employment in the Canadian forest industry, as measured by Statistics Canada’s System of National Accounts, increased from 2014 levels by 1.5% to 201,645 jobs.
  • About 70% of all Aboriginal communities in Canada are in forested areas.
  • Public participation is an important aspect of forest management planning in Canada.


  • By value, Canada is the world’s leading exporter of softwood lumber and newsprint.
  • The forest industry contributed $22.1 billion to nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in 2015.
  • The United States is by far the largest buyer of Canadian forest products.


  • Less than 0.3% of Canada’s forests are harvested annually.
  • Less than 0.02% of Canada’s forests are deforested each year.
  • 100% of forests harvested on Canada’s public land must be successfully regenerated.
  • As of December 2015, Canada had 166 million hectares of forests certified as being sustainably managed under one or more of three globally recognized certification systems.
  • Bioenergy accounts for 60% of the total energy used by the forest industry.
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