Indicator: Volume harvested relative to the sustainable wood supply

In 2016, Canada harvested nearly 155 million cubic metres (m3) of industrial roundwood, well below the estimated sustainable wood supply level of 223 million m3.

  • This is a decrease of about 1 million m3 from 2015 levels, when 156 million m3 of industrial roundwood was harvested.
  • This decline is largely due to a decrease in the volume of softwood timber harvested in British Columbia and Alberta, as salvage logging of dead mountain pine beetle-killed timber was reduced.
  • At the same time, the estimated volume of wood supply deemed to be sustainable decreased by nearly 5 million m3.
  • Since the sustainable wood supply declined at a faster rate than the volume harvested, the gap between them was slightly less than in 2015.

Sustainable wood supply refers to the volume of timber that can be harvested from federal, provincial, territorial and private lands while meeting environmental, economic and social objectives.

Annual harvest versus supply deemed sustainable for harvest, 1990–2016

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Graph data
Table displays, in cubic metres, the volume of softwood and hardwood supply and harvest (for all land types—provincial, territorial, federal, private) as well as their total for each year between 1990 and 2016.
Year Softwood supply Hardwood supply Total wood supply Softwood harvest Hardwood harvest Total harvest
1990 183,262,222 63,622,980 254,443,402 141,160,616 15,237,360 156,397,976
1991 183,082,392 61,767,372 252,456,563 138,501,205 15,698,629 154,199,834
1992 179,929,306 60,461,978 248,020,084 146,803,706 16,938,396 163,742,102
1993 176,784,788 59,521,551 243,932,699 150,479,558 19,096,676 169,576,234
1994 176,541,190 60,304,581 244,472,131 154,169,889 23,212,270 177,382,159
1995 173,501,411 59,349,699 240,477,470 157,443,673 25,712,818 183,156,491
1996 173,321,190 60,092,817 241,040,367 151,314,928 26,634,526 177,949,454
1997 174,650,885 61,175,236 243,452,481 153,784,072 29,766,513 183,550,585
1998 172,613,496 61,640,214 239,624,341 142,780,151 31,134,633 173,914,784
1999 175,824,018 61,901,218 243,412,589 162,788,938 33,877,982 196,675,976
2000 173,783,967 60,661,951 236,741,915 163,263,826 36,192,256 199,456,142
2001 176,934,632 60,859,133 238,221,073 149,899,925 34,491,999 184,399,983
2002 178,119,029 61,282,466 239,436,495 159,619,805 35,717,177 195,355,926
2003 179,143,799 61,691,743 241,359,754 143,815,866 37,619,133 181,443,541
2004 186,256,070 61,850,169 248,630,453 168,474,656 39,581,036 208,095,548
2005 183,254,961 62,493,815 246,274,627 165,170,051 36,133,766 201,338,811
2006 186,331,837 61,779,501 248,637,189 148,738,890 33,706,052 182,454,701
2007 190,828,456 61,932,857 252,791,313 134,618,370 27,349,491 162,079,837
2008 190,687,291 60,600,498 251,798,640 114,201,789 23,877,111 138,257,690
2009 181,604,856 59,178,908 241,272,977 94,348,513 21,361,544 115,811,722
2010 178,792,494 57,840,930 236,965,516 117,372,620 23,472,391 140,952,832
2011 174,511,596 57,125,251 231,968,938 120,907,365 25,801,400 146,755,799
2012 173,221,266 56,381,253 229,934,611 124,613,222 24,611,033 149,230,208
2013 171,408,137 55,746,439 227,154,576 125,953,121 24,997,264 150,958,388
2014 171,611,063 58,093,034 229,726,897 124,727,458 25,518,166 150,312,031
2015 169,672,513 58,298,735 228,015,651 128,224,944 27,325,195 155,656,473
2016 164,013,614 59,060,724 223,098,776 126,210,497 28,483,469 154,693,966

Why is this indicator important?

  • Forest managers track the volume of industrial roundwood harvested each year to ensure it falls within sustainable levels.
  • Harvests from provincial Crown lands are regulated by allowable annual cuts (AACs).
  • While there is no AAC calculation for Canada as a whole, it is possible to compare the combined provincial AACs with the combined harvest totals from the same Crown land base.

What is the outlook?

  • Harvest levels are expected to remain below the sustainable wood supply, given the strong provincial and territorial regulatory regimes in place.
  • The gap between harvest and supply will likely narrow further as some provinces, notably BC, lower their AACs while global demand for Canadian wood products remains strong.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Sources and information
  • National Forestry Database. Wood supply, Table 2.1 Wood supply estimates by tenure and species group (accessed July 3, 2018).
    • Wood supply includes allowable annual cuts for provincial Crown lands and potential harvests for federal and private lands.
  • National Forestry Database. Harvest, Table 5.1 Net merchantable volume of roundwood harvested by jurisdiction, tenure, category and species group (accessed July 3, 2018).
    • Harvests include industrial roundwood only and exclude fuel wood and firewood.
    • The discrepancy between the harvested volumes of “total industrial roundwood” and the sum of the “total industrial softwoods” and “total industrial hardwoods” is due to a very small amount of harvest categorised as “unspecified.” Typically, this harvest occurs in mixedwood forests where neither softwood nor hardwood categories strictly apply, and it accounts for less than 1% of the harvested volume of total industrial roundwood. More information on these data can be found at the National Forestry Database.