Indicator: Volume harvested relative to the sustainable wood supply
In 2017, Canada harvested 155.2 million cubic metres (m3) of industrial roundwood, well below the estimated sustainable wood supply level of 219.6 million m3.
- This amount is a decrease of about 400,000 m3 from 2016 levels, when 155.6 million m3 of industrial roundwood was harvested.
- At the same time, the estimated wood supply deemed to be sustainable declined by 3.5 million m3.
- The modest decline in harvest is a result of a large decrease in the volume of softwood timber harvested in British Columbia combined with a nearly identical increase in the volume of softwood timber harvested in the rest of Canada.
- Because the decline in sustainable wood supply was significantly greater than the decline in the volume harvested, the gap between them was slightly less than in 2016.
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, 1990–2017
Hardwood supply remained very stable from 1990 to 2017. Softwood supply (and total wood supply) remained fairly stable until 2003, then increased slightly until 2008, after which it has been decreasing steadily. Hardwood harvest increased gradually from 1990 to 2004, after which it decreased slightly and has remained fairly stable since. Softwood harvest (and total harvest) went through a series of increases and decreases from 1990 to 2006 (with peaks in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005); they significantly decreased until 2009, after which they increased slightly and remained fairly stable since 2010.
|Year||Hardwood supply||Softwood supply||Total wood supply||Hardwood harvest||Softwood harvest||Total harvest|
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 wood supply will likely continue to narrow as some provinces, notably British Columbia, lower their AACs while global demand for Canadian wood products remains strong.
What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?
- Montreal Process (MP): 2.d [Select language]
Sources and information
- National Forestry Database. Wood supply, Table 2.1 Wood supply estimates by tenure and species group. (accessed April 9, 2019).
- Wood supply includes allowable annual cuts for provincial Crown lands and potential harvests for federal and private lands.
- The discrepancy between the “total industrial roundwood” supply volumes and the sum of the “total industrial softwoods” and “total industrial hardwoods” supply volumes is due to a very small amount of harvest categorized as “unspecified.” This supply represents some of the federal wood supply that has not been differentiated between “softwood” or “hardwood.”
- National Forestry Database. Harvest, Table 5.1 Net merchantable volume of roundwood harvested by jurisdiction, tenure, category and species group. (accessed April 9, 2019).
- 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 categorized 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.
- Date modified: