our story

Canada is home to some of the world's largest and most diverse forests, covering over 361 million hectares of land.[30] These forests can be a considerable climate change assets — whether serving as a critical carbon sink or providing the sustainably-sourced, renewable products we need to reduce our carbon footprint, our forests have a critical role to play in our collective fight against climate change.[1]

But how we manage them matters.

Canadian Forestry Is Sustainable Forestry.

Canada is recognized among the global leaders in how we sustainably manage our forests.

Not only do we have among the strictest provincial and federal regulatory frameworks in the world — requiring foresters to submit comprehensive forest management plans for approval by provincial governments before a single tree is harvested — but Canada leads the world in forest certification, managing 36% of the world’s certified forests, more than twice the area certified in any other country.[3][4] These voluntary standards not only ensure our foresters are harvesting at sustainable rates, but are committed to preserving the wildlife and biodiversity that will help keep our forests as forests forever.[7]

Canadian foresters operating on public land (where 90% of Canada’s forests are located) are required by law to regenerate harvested areas, planting 400-600 million seedlings every year.[8][9]

Why Does Sustainable Forest Management Matter?

Everyone knows that as a forest grows, trees absorb and store carbon. But as trees age they become susceptible to natural disturbances such as fire, pest outbreaks and disease that can release CO2 and other GHGs back into the atmosphere. Though these disturbances are normal in the forest, they are becoming more frequent and severe as a result of climate change, turning our forests from climate change assets into liabilities.[10][11]

That’s where sustainable forest management comes in.

When we manage our forests through carefully planned harvesting and replanting, we remove the decay and debris that can accelerate these natural disturbances and, because younger trees absorb carbon faster than mature ones, strengthen our forests capacity to store carbon for another generation. [11]

And this need has never been greater. Natural Resources Canada has said that the rate of projected climate change is expected to be 10 to 100 times faster than the ability of trees to migrate naturally.[12] By regenerating our forests with trees that are better adapted to warming temperatures and changing climate conditions, we’re working with nature to help our forests adapt to a changing climate and strengthen this critical carbon sink.[13]

From Our Forests To Our Cities

But a natural carbon sink is far from the only climate benefit our forests provide. Through innovation and a zero-waste approach, forest products can help solve some of our most pressing climate change challenges.[25]

  • New technologies converting wood chips, sawdust, and bark — materials that might otherwise be considered “waste” — into the bioenergy will help reduce our country’s reliance on fossil fuels.[14]
  • Wood-based biodegradable bioplastics can provide more environmentally-friendly alternatives to the single-use plastics currently flooding our landfills and oceans.[15]
  • Wood lignin can be used to replace some of the fossil fuel based bitumen used in asphalt to help build more environmentally-friendly roads and infrastructure.[31]
  • Mass timber construction can not only help us bring some of the carbon captured in our forests to our cities, but requires less energy to heat and cool long term and can reduce carbon pollution during construction by up to 45%, helping us to address housing crisis while building more sustainable communities.[16][17]

And that’s just the beginning — innovation in Canada’s forest sector, driven by a zero-waste approach, has the potential to create a more circular economy, one powered by the responsible management and regeneration of this sustainably-sourced, renewable resource.[18]

What's next?

As a world leader in sustainable forest management and stewards of over 36% of the world’s certified-sustainable forests, Canada can — and should — lead the world in exporting forest-based climate solutions.[4] Countries like Finland, Norway and Sweden have harassed the power of their forests to produce the bioproducts, building materials, and bioenergy that have helped support their climate goals.[32] Canada can do the same, but at considerable scale, providing the world with the sustainably-sourced, renewable products that will not only help grow our green economy here at home, but expand our contribution to global emissions reductions efforts by providing other countries with the sustainably-sourced, environmentally-friendly products they need to help meet their net-zero goals.[18]

There's no plan(et) b

The UN has noted that “there is no future without addressing climate change” and that our forests have a “decisive role to play”, be it in the “sequestration and storage of carbon… or in providing goods, resources and materials with a smaller carbon footprint.”[1]

With our world-leading sustainable practices and zero-waste innovations, Canada can be at the forefront of the global fight against climate change. To find out what’s needed to get us there, visit our Take Action page today.

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Join thousands of Canadians coming together to support Canada’s sustainable forest sector and learn more about what we’re doing to support a net-zero carbon future.

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