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Sustainability indicators

Because of their importance, Canada’s forests need to be carefully monitored to ensure that any challenges to their health are addressed. Canada recognizes the need to balance in a holistic way the demands placed on its forests, so that current and future generations of Canadians can fully benefit.

Sustainability indicators are helpful tools to assess our forests and the benefits they provide. When measured over time, they:

  • provide essential information about the state of and trends in Canada’s forests
  • highlight any needs for improvement in forest management policies and practices
  • supply reliable information for discussions and initiatives related to environmental performance and trade

Canada is a member of the Montréal Process, an international working group of 12 northern and southern hemisphere nations committed to sustainable forest management. Since 1995, the Montréal Process member countries have used a common set of science-based criteria and indicators to measure progress toward the conservation and sustainable management of 90% of the world’s boreal and temperate forests.

The indicators presented in this section, together with information in the Statistical profiles, reveal the state of and trends in Canada’s forests and forest practices over time. These indicators are comparable to sustainability indicators published by other countries participating in the Montréal Process. Canada also uses some of these indicators to report on the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals.

Sustainability indicators
Additional information

The data in this report are derived from a number of sources, which are identified here by their relevant section. Where necessary, data have been edited for accuracy and consistency. All data are subject to revision.

In most cases, the data represent the year before the reporting period. However, when they are gathered from several sources, it takes longer to analyze and produce them. In these cases, the numbers reflect results from two or three years before the reporting period.

While most figures are calculated for the calendar year, some are based on the federal government’s fiscal year (April 1 to March 31). Numbers are rounded off. In the case of employment data, they are rounded to the nearest hundred. All dollar figures, unless specified otherwise, are in Canadian dollars.

It may not be possible to directly compare the data from the various sections, as they come from several sources that may compile their statistics differently from each other.

Dates on which data were accessed online are now included for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the National Forest Inventory, the National Forestry Database, the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, and Statistics Canada.

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


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