Indicator: Wood volume

Canada’s forests contain about 47 billion cubic metres (m3) of wood — enough wood to build over 1 billion average single-family homes.

  • A number of factors influence tree growth, including climate, genetics, age, health, herbivory and availability of light, water and nutrients.
  • Averaging 432 cubic metres per hectare (m3/ha), the forests along Canada’s west coast have the highest density of wood volume, more than three times the national average of 136 m3/ha.
  • Spruce trees dominate Canada’s landscape, accounting for 47% of Canada’s total wood volume.

Tree volume is the volume inside the bark of the main tree stem, including stump and top as well as defective and decayed wood.

The wood volume estimate for Canada includes the volume of all forest stands within Canada’s forest area, regardless of age, ownership, protection status, accessibility or management.

Canada's tree volume (million cubic metres) on forest land by species group

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Graph data
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.
Species group Wood volume (million m3)
Spruce 22,383
Poplar 6,176
Pine 5,611
Fir 3,499
Hemlock 2,741
Douglas-fir 1,653
Birch 1,575
Maple 1,403
Cedar 1,267
Larch 298
Others 714
Grand Total 47,320

Why is this indicator important?

  • Wood volume production rate (or productivity) is one of the inputs used by professional foresters to determine sustainable harvest levels on land managed for timber production.
  • Wood volume, along with other information, is used to calculate forest biomass and carbon stocks.

What is the outlook?

  • Wood volume will remain stable as long as volume losses from human-caused disturbances (such as harvesting) and natural disturbances (such as insect infestations, diseases and forest fires) are offset by gains from forest growth and regeneration. In regions affected by disturbances, wood volume may take years or decades to recover, depending on the extent of mortality caused by the disturbance as well as the regeneration and growth rates of the new forest. At a national level, losses in one region are often offset by gains in others.
  • Scientists are finding evidence that tree growth, forest fires, drought and insects are being impacted by climate change. It is important to consider these complex factors to ensure a sustainable wood supply for future generations.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

  • United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG): 15.2.1.b
Sources and information