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Canada is a leader in sustainable forest management

Infographic - Canada is a leader in sustainable forest management, described below.

Canada's forests are vast and well-managed

Canada is the third most forested country in the world, with
347 million ha
of forest land (2017).

Canada has
164 million ha
(47%) of forests certified to third-party standards of sustainable forest management — more than any other country (2018).

30 million ha
(or about 9%) of Canada's forests are in legally established protected areas (2016).

Forest area and area certified for the five most forested countries
Graph showing the total forest area and the area of certified forest in millions of hectares for Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States and China, described below.
Graph data
Table displaying the total area of forest and the area of forest certified in millions of hectares for Russia, Brazil, Canada, the United States, and China.
Country (top 5 forested countries) Total forest area (million ha) Area certified (million ha)
Russia 815 57
Brazil 494 8
Canada 347 164
United States 310 39
China 208 7

Canada's forests provide many non-timber benefits

A stylized maple syrup bottle.

Canada produces nearly
of the world's maple syrup (2017).

Two persons with hiking sticks.

of Canada's forests are publically owned.

A loon.

bird species can be found in Canada's boreal forest.

Canada's forests are shaped by dynamic processes

What's the leading cause of disturbance in Canada's forests?
Graphic showing the proportion of total forest area disturbed by insects, burned, harvested and deforested, in hectares, described below.
Graph data
Table showing the area in hectares (ha) and the percent of forest area impacted by insects, burned by fire, harvested and deforested relative to Canada’s 347,039,050 ha of forest land (2017).
Disturbance Area (ha) Percent of forest area (%)
Area impacted by insects (2017) 15,628,659 4.5%
Area burned by fire (2018) 2,272,274 0.7%
Area harvested (2017) 755,884 0.2%
Area deforested (2017) 35,385 0.01%

Canada's forests are important to the economy

The forest industry directly employed

A stylized person planting trees.

people (2018).

A stylized person with a clipboard.

Indigenous people (2016).

A stylized person with a chainsaw.

immigrants (2016).

A line.
Stylized trees on top of stacks of currency.

The forest industry contributed
$25.8 billion
(1.2%) to Canada's gross domestic product (2018).

Two stylized houses surrounded by trees.

The forest sector is a major contributor of jobs and income in about
communities (2016).

A line.

Women in forestry

Graduation from agriculture, natural resources and conservation programs
Graph showing the percentage of male and female graduates from agriculture, natural resource or conservation programs, described below.
Graph data
Table showing the graduation rates for men versus women from agriculture, natural resources, and conservation programs.
Sexes 2000 2010 2015
Men 55% 50% 48%
Women 45% 50% 52%
Forest industry employment
Graph showing the percentage of men and women employed in the forest industry, described below.
Graph data
Table showing forestry employment rates for men versus women.
Sexes 2000 2010 2015
Men 87% 85% 82%
Women 13% 15% 18%

Canada's forests contribute to a low-carbon economy

A stylized lightbulb with a tree growing inside.Biomass is the second-largest source of renewable electricity after hydro (2016).
A stylized funnel with wood fibre going in and bioenergy (energy and heat) coming out.85% of Canada's bioenergy comes from forest biomass (2016).
Smokestacks of different heights on a stylized factory representing a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions between 2006 and 2016. Between 2006 and 2016, the forest industry reduced total fossil GHG emissions by 38%.

Sources and information
  • Canada Energy Regulator. Canada’s Renewable Power Landscape 2017 – Energy Market Analysis. Table 1 Electric Capacity and Generation in Canada.
  • Certification Canada. Canadian statistics. (accessed March 10, 2019).
    • Double counting of areas certified to both FSC and PEFC in 2018 have been removed from the total forest area certified for Russia, Brazil, Canada and the United States.
    • Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service prepared calculations for net forest area certified in China under FSC and PEFC in 2018 based on:
  • Conservation Areas Reporting and Tracking System
  • Dyk, A., Leckie, D., et al. 2015. Canada’s National Deforestation Monitoring System: System description. Victoria, BC: Natural Resources Canada – Canadian Forest Service, Pacific Forestry Centre.
    • National deforestation estimates are calculated on a periodic basis using the method described in the National Deforestation Monitoring System description report. Data provided by the National Deforestation Monitoring System, special tabulation, March 4, 2019.
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada. 2019. National Inventory Report 1990–2017: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada. (accessed April 16, 2019).
    • Environment and Climate Change Canada’s National Inventory Report 1990–2017: Greenhouse Gas Sources and Sinks in Canada is based on data and analysis from Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service’s National Forest Carbon Monitoring, Accounting and Reporting System
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2014. Global forest resources assessment 2015 Country report: Canada. Rome, Italy. [481 Kb PDF]
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2016. Global Forest Resource Assessment 2015.
  • International Energy Agency. World Energy Statistics and Balances (2018 edition), OECD Renewable Balance.
  • National Forestry Database. Harvest, Table 5.2 Area harvested by jurisdiction, tenure, management and harvesting method. (accessed April 9, 2019).
    • Data include provincial Crown and private forest land subject to even-aged management (clearcutting), uneven-aged management (selection cutting), and commercial thinning harvest methods.
  • National Forestry Database. Forest fires. (accessed April 9, 2019).
    • The National Forestry Database sources 2018 fire data from the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC).
  • National Forestry Database. Forest insects, Table 4.1 Area of moderate to severe defoliation (including beetle-killed trees) by insects. (accessed April 9, 2019).
  • National Forest Inventory.
    • NFI baseline photo plot data collected during 2000–2006 were used to estimate the forest area within protected areas, assuming no change in forest area between 1990 and 2016. The forest area is generally stable in Canada and protected areas are typically less subject to land-use change than non-protected areas.
    • The forest area is not the same as the area of tree cover. Some treed areas, such as treed urban and agricultural land areas, are not classified as forest. Some non-treed areas, such as recently harvested areas that will be replanted, are classified as forest. The area of tree cover is routinely mapped using satellite data, but land use is also taken into account when assessing the area of forest.
  • National Forest Inventory. Standard reports, Table 4.0. Area (1000 ha) of forest and non-forest land in Canada.
  • National Forest Inventory. Standard reports, Table 12.0, Area of forest land by ownership in Canada. (accessed April 18, 2019).
  • Natural Resources Canada. Comprehensive energy use database. (accessed November 27, 2019).
    • Industrial sector – Aggregated industries
      • Table 8: Pulp and paper secondary energy use and GHG emissions
      • Table 15: Forestry secondary energy use and GHG emissions
    • Industrial sector – Disaggregated industries
      • Table 28: Wood products industries secondary energy use and GHG emissions
      • Table 34: Converted paper products industry secondary energy use and GHG emissions
  • Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service. Calculations for forest sector contribution to communities based on 1) Statistics Canada, 2016 Census of Population, and 2) Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service, North American boreal zone map shapefiles.
    • This year, the Canadian Forest Service adopted a new method for identifying communities that rely on economic activity from natural resource sectors. See Sources and information for Sustainability indicator Communities for more detail.
  • Statistics Canada. 2016 Census of Population (special extraction, April 20, 2018).
    • Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service calculations for Indigenous and immigrant employment are based on Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census of Population.
      • These values refer to the number of people “employed,” not “in the labour force,” which includes those “unemployed.”
      • “Indigenous” refers to persons who are First Nations (North American Indian), Métis or Inuk (Inuit) and/or those who are Registered or Treaty Indians (that is, registered under the Indian Act), and/or those who have membership in a First Nation or Indian band.
      • “Immigrant” refers to anyone who is a permanent resident or obtained Canadian citizenship in Canada, but is not a citizen by birth.
  • Statistics Canada. 2018. Labour Force Survey (custom tabulation, February 9, 2018).
    • Gender breakdown of employment calculated from Labour Force Survey. Values shown are based on three-year averages. Values shown for the year 1990 are based on an average of the values for the years 1990, 1991 and 1992. Values shown for the years 2000, 2010 and 2015 are based on a three year average spanning the period from one year prior to one year after the year in question. Values have been rounded and adjusted to ensure categories total to 100%.
  • Statistics Canada. 2018. Statistical Overview of the Canadian Maple Industry 2017. (accessed April 2, 2019).
  • Statistics Canada. 2018. Table 37-10-0020-01. Postsecondary graduates by institution type, sex and student status. (accessed May 30, 2018).
    • Values reported on graduation from the agriculture, natural resources and conservation field. Field of study is defined by the Primary Groups of the Classification of Instructional Programs for Enrolments and Graduates and are adapted from the 2011 Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP), Statistics Canada’s standard for the classification of instructional programs. The level of education at graduation is defined by UNESCO’s International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), which is the reference classification for organizing education programs and related qualifications by education levels and fields. The basic concepts and definitions of ISCED are intended to be internationally valid and comprehensive of the full range of education systems.
  • Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0401-01 (formerly CANSIM 379-0029): Gross domestic product (GDP) at basic prices by industry. (accessed May 1, 2019).
    • Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service’s calculations for 2018 nominal GDP is based on Statistics Canada’s Tables 36-10-0434-01, 18-10-0032-01 and 18-10-0029-01 (formerly CANSIM 379-0031, 329-0077 and 329-0074, respectively): GDP in 2012 constant prices, and estimated industry price deflators indexed to 2010.
  • Statistics Canada. Table 36-10-0489-01 (formerly CANSIM 383-0031): Labour statistics consistent with the System of National Accounts (SNA), by job category and industry. (accessed May 22, 2019).
  • Wildlife Conservation Society Canada. Boreal Birds.

Table of contents — The State of Canada's Forests Report

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