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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 2017, an estimated 756,000 hectares (ha) of forest were harvested.

  • This is a 1.9% decrease from 2016 levels, when 770,000 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 due largely to a decrease in the area of public forest land harvested, primarily in British Columbia because harvesting was reduced on areas affected by the mountain pine beetle and forest fires.

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

Forest area harvested on private and Crown lands in Canada, 2007–2017


Graph summary

Overall, the area harvested has remained fairly stable over the years. The area harvested on provincial and territorial Crown land decreased from 2007 to 2009, then increased until 2015 (with a slight decrease in 2014), then decreased again to 2017. The area harvested on private land decreased from 2007 until 2012, after which it increased and has remained fairly stable since.

Graph data
Table below displays the area harvested (in hectares) on private and Crown lands for each year between 2007 and 2017.
Year Provincial and territorial Crown land
Private land
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 642,943 73,671
2015 697,006 75,722
2016 694,792 75,525
2017 683,063 72,821

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 forest managers adjust their management objectives in response to natural disturbances such as pests and forest fires and to the variation in the demand for Canadian forest products.
  • The demand for Canadian wood products is expected to remain strong for the foreseeable future, as residential construction in the U.S. slowly improves and expenditures on home repairs and remodeling grow.
  • However, the area of forest harvested is not expected to exceed 2007 levels, just prior to the global economic recession.

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 April 9, 2019).
    • Data include provincial Crown and private forest land subject to even-aged management (clearcutting), uneven-aged management (selection cutting), and commercial thinning harvest methods.
    • The graph does not display federal lands because their small area cannot be represented at the given scale.


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

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