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Indicator: Forest area

Canada has 347 million hectares (ha) of forest. Forest area in Canada is stable, with very few areas deforested or afforested. Since 1990, less than half of 1% of Canada’s forest lands have been converted to a non-forest land use.

Forests dominate the Canadian landscape in some ecozones but are a rare sight in others. For example, the Atlantic maritime ecozone is 81% forested, whereas the mixedwood plains ecozone is only 19% forested, and the prairie ecozone is less than 1% forested. Overall, forests cover 38% of Canada’s land area.

Canada’s estimated forest area, 1990 to 2019

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Graph summary

Graph showing that Canada’s forest area is stable. Between 1990 and 2019, the estimated total forest area declined from 348.273 million hectares (ha) to 346.965 ha, a net change of about 0.4% over 29 years.

Graph data
Table showing Canada's estimated forest area, in millions of hectares, for each year from 1990 to 2019.
Year Estimated forest area
1990 348.273
1991 348.219
1992 348.164
1993 348.114
1994 348.037
1995 347.998
1996 347.963
1997 347.926
1998 347.889
1999 347.848
2000 347.802
2001 347.763
2002 347.724
2003 347.672
2004 347.624
2005 347.576
2006 347.531
2007 347.456
2008 347.408
2009 347.362
2010 347.319
2011 347.278
2012 347.239
2013 347.201
2014 347.157
2015 347.113
2016 347.073
2017 347.035
2018 346.999
2019 346.965

Why is this indicator important?

  • Forest area is a basic sustainability indicator and is important to monitor closely, particularly in regions where forest area is being lost.
  • Changes in forest area can affect resource availability, biodiversity and environmental services.
  • Data presented here are based on Canada’s National Forest Inventory (2005 base year), and adjusted annually for estimated forest area lost (deforestation) and gained (afforestation). See the indicator Deforestation and afforestation for more information.

What is the outlook?

  • Deforestation and afforestation rates are both likely to remain low.
  • Natural changes in forest area are thought to occur gradually, but climate change may cause accelerated forest change, including expansions in some areas and losses in others.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Sources and information

 

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

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