Indicator: Wood volume

Canada’s forests contain about 47 billion cubic metres (m3) of wood.

  • The Boreal Shield ecozone contains almost one-third of Canada’s total wood volume, with more than 15 million m3 of wood.
  • Although the Boreal Shield has more forest land and wood volume than any other ecozone in Canada, these forests are relatively slow growing, producing an average wood volume of 118 m3 per hectare (ha).
  • The Pacific Maritime ecozone includes Canada’s most productive forest land, with an average wood volume of 432 m3/ha, more than triple the national average of 136 m3/ha.

Wood volume includes the volume of all forest stands regardless of age class, ownership, protection status and whether the stand is managed for timber.

Wood volume on forest land by terrestrial ecozone

Figure displays a map of the terrestrial ecozones of Canada that contain forests.  The ecozones shown are, from west to east, Pacific Maritime, Montane Cordillera, Boreal Cordillera, Taiga Cordillera, Taiga Plains, Boreal Plains, Praries, Taiga Shield, Boreal Shield, Hudson Plains, Mixedwood Plains, and Altantic Maritime.  Provincial and territorial boundaries are also shown.
Figure displays a table listing Canada’s terrestrial ecozones that contain forests, and the total volume of wood in each ecozone, measured in millions of cubic metres. The total volume of wood on forest land in Canada is also displayed.
Text version
Table displays the volume of wood in each of Canada’s terrestrial ecozones that contain forests, measured in millions of cubic metres. The total volume of wood on forest land in Canada is also displayed.
Ecozone Wood volume (cubic metres)
Pacific maritime 4,636
Montane cordillera 7,815
Boreal cordillera 2,315
Taiga cordillera 869
Taiga plains 5,201
Boreal plains 5,180
Prairies 290
Taiga shield 2,815
Boreal shield 15,470
Hudson plains 353
Mixwood plains 423
Atlantic maritime 1,953
Canada (total) 47,320

Why is this indicator important?

  • Wood volume provides basic information about the amount of standing wood in Canada’s forests.
  • Wood volume is used by professional foresters to determine sustainable harvest levels in stands being managed for timber production.

What is the outlook?

  • Overall wood volume in Canada’s forest area is a balance of the gains from forest growth and regeneration offset by the losses from human-caused disturbances (such as harvesting) and natural disturbances (such as forest fires, insect infestations and diseases).
  • Because of the complex interactions of climate change on tree growth, the calculation of long-term wood volume is more nuanced and complex.
  • Federal, provincial and territorial governments are collaborating to track changes in tree growth and wood volume, using a network of permanent sample plots across Canada.