In 2020, Natural Resources Canada estimated that fire, pests and disease impacted over 19,000,000 hectares of forest land in Canada. That’s nearly 25 times the area impacted by sustainable forestry activities. Where we harvest, we ensure forests are renewed through planned and monitored regrowth. Areas impacted by natural disturbances such as fire, pests, and disease rely on natural regeneration. By the end of July 2021, wild land fires have burned over 2.7M hectares of forest land, nearly 5 times the area of Prince Edward Island or 3.7 times the area that is sustainably harvested each year.
Though these natural disturbances are normal in the forest, they are becoming more frequent and severe as a result of climate change, not only putting our communities and forests at risk, but releasing tremendous amounts of carbon dioxide and other GHGs back into the atmosphere.
When we say sustainable forest management we're talking about more than just sustainable harvesting. Using the latest science, researchers at the Pacific Institute for Climate Change Solutions (PICCS) are finding ways to minimize the impacts of these disturbances and maximize the amount of CO2 absorbed by the province’s forests. Modern methods of harvesting for example are often intended to mimic natural disturbances to mitigate the severity of climate change impacts. Our sector is also exploring new forest management strategies that regenerate harvested areas with trees that are better adapted to future climate conditions.