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Indicator: Forest area with long-term management plans

Of Canada’s 347 million hectares (ha) of forest land, more than 200 million ha are managed with a long-term management plan of 10 years or longer. This is an increase of 8% since 1990.

  • In Canada, a managed forest is often considered to include only areas managed for timber production. However, to align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, this indicator also includes forest lands managed in protected areas.
  • Forest areas without a long-term management plan may include areas with short-term management plans, private land, or public land with no planned forest harvesting or operations.
  • Management plans help ensure that public forests are managed sustainably. The development of the plan follows a strict process.
  • Input from industry, government agencies, First Nations, the public and other stakeholders is most often required.

Forest with long-term management plans (thousands of hectares) in Canada

Table showing the forest area with long-term management plans, in thousands of hectares, for 1990, 2000, 2010, 2015 and 2016.
Year 1990 2000 2010 2015 2016
Forest area 185,013 188,103 187,844 188,656 200,086

Why is this indicator important?

  • In Canada, forest management planning is one of the primary tools used to ensure that the country’s publicly owned forests remain healthy and vibrant and are managed sustainably.
  • Key to this approach is that public lands managed for forestry must, by law, have a forest management plan approved by the government before harvesting can take place. As well, parks and protected areas must have a government-approved management plan to guide conservation.
  • Public participation fosters a planning process that is transparent and gives Canadians real influence in decision making.

What is the outlook?

  • The forest area covered by a long-term management plan is expected to remain stable or increase slightly in the near future.
  • Some increases may occur as plans are developed for new areas, including areas managed by Indigenous peoples, or as plans are developed for new parks and protected areas.

What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?

Sources and information
  • Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service. 2018.
    • Note: Provinces and territories supplied the data for the total forest area with a long-term management plan, which were compiled by Natural Resources Canada–Canadian Forest Service. The data were adjusted to align with the total forest area as reported in Canada’s National Forest Inventory and in the sustainability indicator Forest area in The State of Canada’s Forests: Annual Report 2020.


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

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