Language selection

Search

How much forest does Canada have?

With almost 362 million hectares (ha), Canada ranks as the country with the third-largest forest area in the world. Much of this forest grows in the boreal zone. There, over 280 million ha of forest are interspersed with lakes, wetlands and other ecosystem types. According to Canada’s National Deforestation Monitoring System, the forest area of Canada is stable, with less than half of 1% deforested since 1990.

The forest area of Canada contains a mosaic of different forest ages and types. Some are dominated by young trees re-growing after wildfire or harvesting, which presently contain only small amounts of volume but are actively growing. Other forests can contain mainly old trees which are growing slowly or gradually being replaced by younger trees growing up through the forest canopy.

Key sustainability indicators

Explore the report to find information on the key sustainability indicators:

  • Forest area: Long-term trends in forest area across Canada. A relatively stable forest area is an important indication that forests are being managed sustainably and are, therefore, a stable provider of resources, biodiversity and diverse environmental services.
  • Deforestation and afforestation: Estimated area of annual deforestation in Canada by industrial sectors. Low deforestation supports high levels of biodiversity and maintains the quality of soil, air and water.
  • Wood volume: Long-term trends in estimated volume of wood in forests. Wood volume estimates provide information on forest productivity, available carbon storage, forest fire fuel predictions, and harvest level forecasts.
Infographic cover photo

Download the report
(PDF, 11.4 MB)

Forest area

Canada’s estimated forest area, 1990–2021

Graph summary

This graph shows that Canada’s forest area is stable. Between 1990 and 2021, less than half of 1% of Canada’s forest has been deforested.

Graph data

Table showing Canada’s estimated forest area, in millions of hectares, for each year from 1990 to 2021.

Year Forest area (million hectares)
1990 363,235
1991 363,180
1992 363,126
1993 363,076
1994 362,998
1995 362,959
1996 362,924
1997 362,887
1998 362,850
1999 362,808
2000 362,763
2001 362,724
2002 362,685
2003 362,633
2004 362,584
2005 362,536
2006 362,492
2007 362,416
2008 362,369
2009 362,323
2010 362,281
2011 362,241
2012 362,199
2013 362,156
2014 362,103
2015 362,046
2016 361,990
2017 361,934
2018 361,882
2019 361,832
2020 361,782
2021 361,733

Deforestation and afforestation

Estimated area (hectares) of annual deforestation in Canada, by industrial sector, 1990–2020

Graph summary

The annual estimated area of deforestation in Canada has declined steadily from about 64,000 hectares (ha) in 1990, to about 49,000 ha in 2020. Two spikes in the overall declining trend occurred in 1993 and 2006, when an estimated 86,000 ha and 76,000 ha, respectively, were deforested because of hydroelectric development. Overall, the conversion of forest to agricultural land uses has declined from about 42,000 ha/year in 1990 to about 22,000 ha/year in 2020. The conversion of forest to mining, oil and gas land uses has increased from about 7,300 ha/year in 1990 to 15,000 ha/year in 2020. Forest loss caused by the creation of permanent forestry roads has declined from an estimated 3,700 ha/year in 1990 to 1,100 ha/year in 2020. The conversion of forest to built-up land uses has remained stable, with losses ranging between 7,500 ha/year and 9,600 ha/year between 1990 and 2020.

Graph data

Table showing the estimated area of annual deforestation in Canada, by industrial sector, in hectares per year, from 1990 to 2020.

Year Agriculture Forestry Mining, oil and gas Built-up land Hydroelectric Total
1990 42,107 3,682 7,282 7,472 3,598 64,141
1991 38,142 3,600 7,254 7,298 6,402 62,696
1992 34,177 3,517 7,855 7,199 5,400 58,149
1993 30,217 3,435 7,952 7,126 37,323 86,052
1994 26,252 3,352 8,054 7,057 2,374 47,089
1995 22,289 3,270 8,163 7,028 1,493 42,243
1996 21,941 3,334 8,806 7,518 1,695 43,294
1997 21,597 3,398 9,146 7,513 2,014 43,668
1998 21,249 3,463 10,584 7,743 4,597 47,635
1999 20,893 3,527 11,175 8,354 6,646 50,596
2000 20,544 3,591 10,961 8,804 883 44,783
2001 20,196 3,655 10,740 9,104 882 44,578
2002 19,849 3,720 13,390 8,639 9,746 55,343
2003 19,502 3,784 13,577 8,951 3,061 48,874
2004 19,154 3,848 14,060 9,396 4,073 50,532
2005 17,982 3,452 14,758 8,946 4,035 49,174
2006 16,842 3,058 17,394 9,022 29,479 75,795
2007 15,703 2,666 17,482 8,657 3,719 48,226
2008 14,563 2,272 16,528 8,271 6,810 48,444
2009 13,422 1,879 14,037 8,313 5,072 42,723
2010 12,283 1,485 14,397 8,029 5,112 41,307
2011 14,303 1,407 15,953 8,229 2,920 42,811
2012 16,320 1,328 14,919 8,446 3,343 44,357
2013 18,341 1,250 15,535 9,130 10,123 54,379
2014 20,360 1,171 15,022 9,543 11,946 58,041
2015 22,378 1,092 15,319 10,089 8,245 57,124
2016 22,378 1,092 15,618 10,036 8,052 57,177
2017 22,378 1,092 15,459 9,820 3,739 52,489
2018 22,378 1,092 15,437 9,682 1,409 49,997
2019 22,378 1,092 15,157 9,662 1,295 49,584
2020 22,378 1,092 15,144 9,637 1,101 49,352

Wood volume

Estimated wood volume (million cubic metres) in Canada

Year 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Wood volume 53,305 53,280 52,842 51,167 50,608 50,147 50,096 49,900 49,598 49,513 49,562
Sources and information

See Sources and information in the downloadable report for detailed sources.

Report a problem on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: