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Canada's Forests: Managing for the future

Forests in Canada are managed for a variety of economic, ecological, and social benefits for both current and future generations.

map -  forest area of Canada shown in nine different colours, which represent the ownership or forest tenure type.
Map summary

This map shows the ownership or forest tenure type of Canada’s forest area. The nine categories represented include treaty / settlement lands, Indian reserves, federal reserves, private forest, other forest lands, restricted areas, protected areas, short-term tenure areas and long-term tenure areas.

On the map, the largest category is “long-term tenure”, which covers most of British Columbia, Alberta and roughly half of the forest area in the other provinces. This category includes approximately half of the forest area in Canada.

Areas of short-term tenure are small, with the majority located around the north of Lake Winnipeg.

The second largest ownership category on the map is “other forest lands”, which stretches along the northern edge of Canada’s forest area, from the Yukon to Labrador. This category is about a quarter of Canada’s forest area.

The map shows private ownership as being concentrated along the southern edge of the forest area in southern Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. To a lesser extent, private ownership is also evident on the map along the southern edge of the forest in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. This category covers approximately a tenth of Canada’s forest area.

The map shows large patches of protected areas throughout the Rocky Mountains, the Manitoba inter-lake region and along the Alberta-Northwest Territories border. Smaller patches of protected areas exist throughout Canada’s forest area.

Treaty/settlement areas, Indian reserves and Federal reserves appear as small patches across the entire map. This category involves a very small percentage of Canada’s forest area.

Restricted areas are shown as being concentrated in the Rocky Mountains. This category does not make up a large portion of Canada’s forest area.

Text version

Canada's Forests: Managing for the future

Forests in Canada are managed for a variety of economic, ecological, and social benefits for both current and future generations.

Treaty/settlement lands are owned and managed by a First Nation, Métis, or Inuit authority. In addition to their rights on these lands, these authorities generally also have specified non-exclusive rights in a broader area defined in the treaty, settlement, or final agreement.

Indian reserves are Crown lands that have been “set apart by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of a band” under the Indian Act.

Federal reserves include military bases and training areas and other lands owned by the federal government. Forestry is rarely the primary management objective on these lands.

Private forests range from small familyowned woodlots to large woodlands owned and managed by forest companies. These forests are managed for various purposes, including commercial timber supply.

Other forest lands are areas that do not fit into any of the other categories. Fire suppression often occurs in these forests and there may be local use of forest resources.

Restricted areas are managed for a wide variety of special purposes, ranging from wildlife values in some, to mining in others.

Protected areas sustain natural and cultural heritage and conserve biodiversity. Forest management activities, such as prescribed burning, may occur.

Non-forested land

Short-term tenure areas are the areas where volume- or area-based tenure arrangements of less than five years, or cutting permits, are granted. These areas are primarily managed for commercial timber harvesting.

Long-term tenure areas are the areas where volume- or area-based tenure arrangements of more than five years are in place. These areas are primarily managed for commercial timber harvesting.

What are Tenure Areas?

Tenure is how governments allocate harvest rights and management responsibilities for timber on Crown land. 90% of forests in Canada are on provincial or territorial Crown land, and these contribute 84% of Canada’s commercial timber supply. Some tenure arrangements grant access to a specified volume of timber, while others grant access to timber resources in a specified area; therefore, tenures may overlap or only apply to certain types of timber within a designated area.

The map data and metadata can be found online https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/d8fa9a38-c4df-442a-8319-9bbcbdc29060. A description of the mapping methodology is published in the Forest Chronical, and can be found at https://doi.org/10.5558/tfc2019-017.

Note: This map does not indicate the managed forest for the purposes of reporting on greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. For more information, see the sustainability indicator Carbon emissions and removals.

Sources and information

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

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