Indicator: Area harvested

The area of forest harvested each year is monitored to ensure that the level of industrial activity in Canada’s forests is sustainable over the long term. In 2016, an estimated 767,000 hectares (ha) of forest were harvested.

  • This is a 1.7% decrease from 2015 levels, when 780,000 ha were harvested, and is well below the average area harvested each year during the peak period of 1995 to 2005 (1 million ha).
  • The decline is largely due to a decrease in the area of public forest land harvested, primarily in British Columbia as harvesting was reduced in mountain pine beetle-impacted areas.

The area harvested each year is less than half of 1% of Canada’s 347 million hectares of forest, significantly smaller than the areas impacted by insects and burned by fires each year.

Forest area harvested on private and Crown lands in Canada, 2006–2016


Graph data
Table displays the area harvested in hectares on private and Crown lands for each year between 2006 and 2016.
Year Provincial crown land
Private land
2006 731,643 102,394
2007 691,634 102,158
2008 595,115 97,692
2009 536,359 75,654
2010 612,046 76,014
2011 614,661 61,308
2012 651,569 59,508
2013 672,421 73,189
2014 640,660 73,671
2015 702,317 75,722
2016 690,980 75,525

Why is this indicator important?

  • Commercial timber harvesting is one of several indicators of the level of industrial activity in the forest sector.
  • Harvesting of forests on Crown land, the source of most commercial timber, is regulated to provide a sustainable level of wood supply.

What is the outlook?

  • The area harvested will vary as the demand for Canadian forest products varies and forest managers adjust their management objectives.
  • The demand for Canadian wood products is expected to remain strong over the near term, as US housing starts and expenditures on repair and remodelling increase, and offshore exports, particularly to Asia, rise.
  • The area of forest harvested, however, is not expected to increase above pre-recession levels.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Sources and information
  • National Forestry Database. Harvest, Table 5.2 Area harvested by jurisdiction, tenure, management and harvesting method (accessed July 3, 2018).
    • Data include provincial Crown and private forest land subject to even-aged management (clearcutting), uneven-aged management (selection cutting), and commercial thinning harvest methods.
    • Graph does not display federal lands because their small area cannot be represented at the given scale.