Unit 6 - Forest Management

Lesson 3: Forest Management in Canada

Over the past few decades, we have become increasingly aware of the fact that our forests are so much more than merely a supply of wood. Today, forest planning in Canada seeks to balance competing forest values — environmental, economic, and social.

This approach is known as Sustainable Forest Management.

The end goal of Sustainable Forest Management is to ensure that Canada's forests will continue to meet the needs of all Canadians, both now and in the future.

Image Source: PxHere
A teacher with students on a field trip to the forest. The future users of forest resources are the main reason for our commitment to sustainable forest management.
Forest Land Ownership in Canada

A unique feature of the Canadian forest is the fact that over 90% of it is publicly owned. That is, the majority of our forests are found on Crown land, meaning land belonging to the federal or provincial government.  Below, you can read about Canada's three forest land owners:

The provinces and territories own 90% of Canada's forests; they have many powers and responsibilities, such as:
  • develop and enforce forest laws
  • set up a license or agreement with forest companies to harvest timber
  • specify the responsibilities of forest companies that have access to public forests
  • monitor the activities of the forest companies to ensure they are in compliance
  • collect royalties from forest companies for the timber they harvest
  • manage provincial parks and conservation areas
The federal government owns 4% of Canada's forests and these areas are mainly national parks, Dept. of National Defence owned land, and lands held in reserve for Indigenous People.  There are a number of federal departments that are responsible for regulating and managing forest operations on this 4% of Canada's forests; they include:
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  • Department of National Defence
  • Natural Resources Canada
  • Parks Canada
Privately owned forest land accounts for only 6% of Canada's forests, however it contributes quite a bit to the country's wood products sector.
  • privately owned forest land is made up of large forests owned by forest companies, specifically in the provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia.
  • the remaining privately owned land consists of small family-owned forests and woodlots.
  • 1/10th of the timber harvested in Canada comes from private lands.
Canada's forest laws are among the strictest in the world and they ensure that sustainable forest management practices are followed on publicly owned forest lands. 

    Click here to read more about Canada's forest laws.

   Click on the image above to read some key facts around sustainable forest management in Canada.