Forestry in Ontario: 20 Facts

ontario forestry facts and statistics

Did you know forests cover 66% of Ontario's land surface area? It's no wonder the forest sector is an integral part of the province's economy, contributing $4.3 billion to Ontario's gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.  

Providing nearly 149,000 jobs, the forest sector generated $18 billion in revenues in 2020 and supported countless Ontarian families -- especially in rural communities that overwhelmingly rely on natural resources for their livelihoods. 

But the forestry industry in Ontario is more than just a significant job provider and economic stimulator. It also plays a critical role in sustainable forest management practices and maintaining an ecological balance amid the province's forested landscapes. 

So, let's delve deeper into Ontario's forestry industry with these fun facts. Also see:  

ontario forestry facts - 149000 jobs are supported by Ontarioès forestry industry

Ontario Forestry Facts

1. The forest sector contributed $4.3 billion to Ontario's provincial GDP in 2020 [1]

2. Ontario's forestry sector generated $18 billion in revenue in 2020 [1]

3. The forest sector supported nearly 149,000 jobs across communities in Ontario through direct, indirect, and induced employment in 2021 [1]

4. Ontario's forest sector exports totalled $7.5 billion in 2021, including $630.6 million in wood furniture exports [1]

5. As of 2021, there were 514 employers in Ontario's forestry industry [2]

6. In 2021, Ontario's proportion of volume harvest by-product was as follows: [3]

• 69% of the harvested wood went to the sawmill product sector
• 13% of the harvested wood went to the pulp product sector
• 11% of the harvested wood went to the composite product sector

7. Through resource revenue sharing, 35 participating First Nations have received over $93 million from Ontario's forestry sector [1]

8. Ontario's forests cover 70.5 million hectares, representing 66% of the province's land area [3]

9. Ontario represents 2% of the world's forests and 20% of Canada's [4]

10. There are over 85 billion trees in Ontario's forests [5]

ontario forestry facts - there are 514 employers in Ontario's forestry sector

11. In 2021, 12.6 million cubic metres of wood volume were harvested in Ontario through sustainable harvesting practices, representing 0.2% of Ontario's forests harvested annually [3]

12. Ontario's forests are home to various tree species including spruce, pine, poplar, birch, oak, and maple, which support a broad range of in-demand products [6]

13. In 2021, Ontario's harvest was comprised of: [3]

• Spruce - 40%
• Jackpine - 27%
• Poplar - 16%

14. Ontario owns 81% of its forests. The provincial government operates within one of the world's most financially stable jurisdictions, ensuring secure, reliable, and long-term access to forestry products [6]

15. Ontario is a global leader in third-party certification, with over 75% of its Crown-owned lands contributing to commercial forestry certified to internationally recognized standards for sustainable forest management practices [6]

16. Public forests in Ontario stored an estimated 7.2 billion tonnes of carbon in 2021 [7]

17. Wood products from Ontario stored 25.5 million tonnes of carbon, equivalent to the annual emissions from approximately 28.6 million passenger vehicles [7]

18. In 2020, 62.4 million trees were planted and 126.2 million seeds were dispersed across Ontario [3]

19. Ontario's laws and forest management policies guide sustainable use and maintenance of Crown forests. These measures are in place to ensure that forests remain healthy and continue to provide benefits to both current and future generations [3]

20. The Gilmours opened a mill on the Bay of Quinte near the mouth of the Trent River in 1852, which became the world's largest sawmill, employing 700 people [8]

ontario forestry facts - the forest sector exported 7.5 billion dollars of goods in 2021

Ontario Sustainable Forest Management

Responsible forest management practices ensure the longevity of Ontario's forestry sector while providing social, economic and environmental benefits to Canadians. This helps Ontario's forests:

> Remain healthy and regenerative

> Support a healthy forestry sector while providing jobs and forest products such as lumber, fuel, medicines, chemicals and more

> Conserve biodiversity and enhance/protect wildlife habitat while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions

> Provide Ontario communities with leisure and recreational opportunities year-round, providing a healthy living environment for all to enjoy

Ontario's world-leading sustainable forest management practices are based on the most recent methodologies and science.

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Forests contribute immensely to the identities of both Ontario and Canada. Our forests provide not only jobs, but also serve as a vital part of our heritage and daily lives.

Learn more about Canadian natural resources and why our country should be a go-to supplier of choice for forestry, energy, agricultural, aquaculture and mining products the world needs by joining us online at:


1 - Ontario Government - Success at a glance: Ontario's Forest Sector Strategy progress report. Date accessed: March 2023 (

2 - Government of Canada - Businesses - Canadian Industry Statistics. Date accessed: March 2023 (;jsessionid=0001oKUsrFD43xYfwCZtKtZz5wn:-17I6RQ?wbdisable=true)

3 - Ontario Government - Forest management: facts and figures. Date accessed: March 2023 (

4 - Ontario Government - Forest resources of Ontario 2021. Date accessed: March 2023 (,and%2020%25%20of%20Canada's%20forests)

5 - Forests Ontatio - Forests Ontario Fact Sheet. Date accessed: March 2023 (

6 - Invest Ontario - Forestry. Date accessed: March 2023 (

7 - Ontario Government - State of Ontario's Natural Resources - Forest 2021. Date accessed: March 2023 (

8 - Quinte News - Remembering an industry crucial to Trenton's development. Date accessed: March 2023 (