Canada's natural resource industries (mining and minerals, forestry, energy) are the backbone of its prosperity. The forestry sector alone accounts for a considerable amount of the national gross domestic product (1.6%) and mass employment across the country (over 230,000 jobs in 2017).
With the third largest forested area in the world (next to only Russia and Brazil), Canada’s forests are without a doubt a critical part of its economy. To preserve them, federal law requires any harvested public lands to be replanted.
This is a prime example of Canada’s commitment to being a responsible environmental steward. In 2014 alone, more than 540 million seedlings were planted nationwide. Many of these were to replace groves cut down by the industry...
Canadian Forests & Carbon Emissions
Canada's forests do much more than just taking a critical role in the economy. According to a study cited by the Financial Post in 2016, they help to absorb greenhouse gas emissions too:
“A conservative estimate of Canada’s existing carbon-absorption capacity, based on land area and the global carbon-absorption average, indicates that Canada could already be absorbing 20% to 30% more CO2 than we emit.”
That’s truly amazing! As a carbon-neutral emitter, we have great responsibility to maintain a balance between preserving our precious forests while also making sure this industry flourishes.
Forests are so important to Canada, so we’ve compiled a list of the facts on our forestry sector:
- Wooded lands make up about 40% of Canada's 979 million hectares
- Canada's forest cover represents 30% of the world's forest and 9% of the world's overall forest cover
- No nation benefits more from trade of forest products than Canada; Canada has the largest forest product trade balance across the globe ($19.3 billion in 2013)
- In 2015, approximately 7% of all Canadian exports came from the forest industry
- About 209,940 people were employed by the forest industry across the country in 2017...
- ...An estimated 11,565 of those employees were First Nations
- $1.4 billion in tax revenues for provincial and territorial governments in 2016
- $24.6 billion contribution to Canada’s economy in 2017
- 52% of forest industry jobs are in Ontario and Quebec
- 39% of forest industry jobs are in the prairie provinces and Western Canada (mostly British Columbia)
- 9% of forest industry jobs are found in Atlantic Canada
- Exports to Asian markets (China) have risen significantly over the past several years, helping the industry flourish
- 29% of all forest product exports are softwood lumber
- 23% of all forest product exports are wood pulp
- 7% of forest product exports are structural wood panels
- 6% of forest product exports are printing and writing paper
- 6% of forest product exports are newsprint
*Sourced from Natural Resources Canada, Sustainable Forest Management in Canada
More than Just the Economy…
When you think of Canada, you think of mountainscapes, rivers and lakes, endless prairies, cold, snowy winters and beautiful coastlines. You also think of vast, sprawling forests as far as the eye can see.
Truth is that forests provide so much more for Canadians than just jobs. They are a part of our heritage, and for many Canadians, are involved in daily life in some way or another.
Canada's forests provide locals and tourists alike with abundant opportunities for recreation and leisure during all seasons of the year. Many Canadians have even chosen to build a home or live in a community surrounded by them.
Whether you are directly employed by the forest industry or perhaps just living in your woodland cabin year round, we should all be proud of our forests that we call home!
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