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Message from the Minister of Natural Resources

Canada’s forests are one of the great legacies of our land. For generations, they have been the backbone of our economy. Today, they remain a dynamic economic engine, contributing almost $28 billion to our GDP and providing jobs for more than 210,000 Canadians. In fact, the forest sector is a major contributor of jobs and income in about 300 communities.

When most Canadians think of forest products, they probably envision traditional products, such as lumber for building a deck, mulch for their garden or paper cups for their coffee. 

But that’s only part of the story. 

Today’s forest industry has transformed itself, entering areas you might not expect. For example, lignin, a component of wood fibre, is being used to create densified wood that is as strong as steel. 

Lignin can also create transparent wood that is stronger and more insulating than glass. It can even make carbon foam, capable of absorbing sound and radiation in everything from aircraft to ships, walls to stealth technologies.

Forests are also central to meeting Canada’s climate change goals. Since 2006, the forest industry has reduced its total greenhouse emissions by 38 percent — a remarkable achievement. And we will continue to use nature-based solutions to fight climate change, including through our commitment to plant two billion trees to clean our air and water and make our communities greener.

In addition, our forests provide much of the feedstock for the emerging bioeconomy, which uses sustainably sourced biomass to create products such as bioplastics, biochemicals and biofuels. These biofuels are being used to generate heat and power, including in remote communities, thereby displacing higher-emitting fuels such as diesel.

Wood is also part of innovative new materials that are making Canada a leader in tall wood construction. This contributes to a low-carbon future by reducing the use of non-renewable materials. 

Canada’s sustainably managed forests have been a major part of our history.  As this report makes clear, they are also crucial to our future.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan,
Minister of Natural Resources

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