Unit 1 - The Importance of Canada's Forests

Lesson 1: Canada as a Forest Nation

Canada, the second largest country in the world, is a forest nation. About 42% of Canada's 997 million hectares is forest. In fact, Canada is home to 10% of the world's forests, made up of primarily spruce, poplar and pine.

Since Europeans first came to this country, only 6% of Canada's forests has been converted to other land uses such as agriculture, urban land, water reservoirs, transportation corridors, and mine sites. 94% of our forests are still intact.

In contrast, the United States has only retained about 70% of its original forests, and Russia about 69%.

Of Canada's forested area, over half is considered to be "productive." This means that it is capable of producing a commercial stand of timber in a reasonable length of time.

One million hectares of this productive forest land are cut annually. In other words, less than 1% of Canada's forests are harvested every year.

Canada has many reasons to protect its vast, majestic forests. In this unit, we will investigate the environmental, economic, and social value of the Canadian forest in general. We will also look at Canada's largest forest region, the boreal forest.