In 2017, 572 million seedlings were planted on 396,000 hectares (ha) of provincial and territorial Crown forest lands in Canada. Seeding was used to re-establish forests on an additional 18,000 ha.
- The number of seedlings planted declined 3% from 2016 but was still 7% higher than the 10-year average.
- The area planted increased 3% from 2016 and was 6% higher than the 10-year average.
- The total area artificially regenerated increased 2% in 2017 and was 6% above the 10-year average.
- Successful regeneration is required following forest harvesting on Crown forest lands.
- Forest type, harvesting method and desired composition of the new forest determine the regeneration method (natural or artificial).
- Artificial regeneration – planting or seeding – has been applied to about 56% of the area harvested in the past 20 years; almost all of the remaining area is naturally regenerated (see notes in Sources and information for more details).
Area artificially regenerated and number of seedlings planted on provincial and territorial Crown lands in Canada, 2007–2017
The number of seedlings planted generally decreased until 2012, after which it has been slowly increasing to present day (not exceeding 2007 levels). The area planted generally decreased until 2012, jumped in 2013 and has remained fairly stable since (not exceeding pre-2008 levels). The area seeded decreased steadily until 2012, remained stable until 2014, dropped to its lowest in this period in 2015, jumped to 2008 levels in 2016, then decreased in 2017.
Why is this indicator important?
- Regeneration activities ensure that harvested areas regrow as forests and continue to produce timber and maintain ecosystem services, such as storing carbon, regulating water quality and providing habitat.
- The method used for regenerating forests can influence forest composition over time. In the context of climate change adaptation, tree planting allows for the control of species composition and thus can be a tool to regenerate forests that may be better adapted to future climate conditions.
What is the outlook?
- Regeneration is required on all provincial and territorial Crown forest lands in Canada, so virtually all harvested lands will continue to be regenerated.
- The area regenerated is related to recent harvest levels, which are influenced by market conditions for wood products, but are always within the bounds of sustainable forest management.
What reporting frameworks does this indicator support?
- Montreal Process (MP): 2.c [Select language]
Sources and information
- National Forestry Database. Regeneration, Table 6.2 Area of direct seeding by jurisdiction, tenure and application method. (accessed April 9, 2019).
- National Forestry Database. Regeneration, Table 6.2.1 Number of seedlings planted by jurisdiction, tenure and species group. (accessed April 9, 2019).
- National Forestry Database. Regeneration, Table 6.2.2 Area planted by jurisdiction, tenure and species group. (accessed April 9, 2019).
- Data are for forests on provincial and territorial Crown lands across Canada.
- Federally and privately owned lands are excluded.
- Natural regeneration is often the most efficient approach for regenerating harvested areas. One scenario is when there is abundant existing understorey regeneration and a plentiful seed supply (e.g. lowland black spruce and tolerant hardwoods, respectively). Another scenario is when tree species that can resprout from established root systems are present and desired (e.g. trembling aspen). The area of forest naturally regenerated is not reported by jurisdiction, so it is estimated as the difference between total area harvested and the area artificially regenerated.
- Artificial regeneration is suitable for sites where there is insufficient desired natural regeneration and where the objective is to achieve species composition targets required for sustainable forest management objectives.
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