How much forest does Canada have?
With almost 362 million hectares (ha), Canada ranks as the country with the third-largest forest area in the world. Much of this forest grows in the boreal zone. There, over 280 million ha of forest are interspersed with lakes, wetlands and other ecosystem types. According to Canada’s National Deforestation Monitoring System, the forest area of Canada is stable, with less than half of 1% deforested since 1990.
The forest area of Canada contains a mosaic of different forest ages and types. Some are dominated by young trees re-growing after wildfire or harvesting, which presently contain only small amounts of volume but are actively growing. Other forests can contain mainly old trees which are growing slowly or gradually being replaced by younger trees growing up through the forest canopy.
Key sustainability indicators
Explore the report to find information on the key sustainability indicators:
- Forest area: Long-term trends in forest area across Canada. A relatively stable forest area is an important indication that forests are being managed sustainably and are, therefore, a stable provider of resources, biodiversity and diverse environmental services.
- Deforestation and afforestation: Estimated area of annual deforestation in Canada by industrial sectors. Low deforestation supports high levels of biodiversity and maintains the quality of soil, air and water.
- Wood volume: Long-term trends in estimated volume of wood in forests. Wood volume estimates provide information on forest productivity, available carbon storage, forest fire fuel predictions, and harvest level forecasts.
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Canada’s estimated forest area, 1990–2021
This graph shows that Canada’s forest area is stable. Between 1990 and 2021, less than half of 1% of Canada’s forest has been deforested.
Table showing Canada’s estimated forest area, in millions of hectares, for each year from 1990 to 2021.
|Year||Forest area (million hectares)|
Deforestation and afforestation
Estimated area (hectares) of annual deforestation in Canada, by industrial sector, 1990–2020
The annual estimated area of deforestation in Canada has declined steadily from about 64,000 hectares (ha) in 1990, to about 49,000 ha in 2020. Two spikes in the overall declining trend occurred in 1993 and 2006, when an estimated 86,000 ha and 76,000 ha, respectively, were deforested because of hydroelectric development. Overall, the conversion of forest to agricultural land uses has declined from about 42,000 ha/year in 1990 to about 22,000 ha/year in 2020. The conversion of forest to mining, oil and gas land uses has increased from about 7,300 ha/year in 1990 to 15,000 ha/year in 2020. Forest loss caused by the creation of permanent forestry roads has declined from an estimated 3,700 ha/year in 1990 to 1,100 ha/year in 2020. The conversion of forest to built-up land uses has remained stable, with losses ranging between 7,500 ha/year and 9,600 ha/year between 1990 and 2020.
Table showing the estimated area of annual deforestation in Canada, by industrial sector, in hectares per year, from 1990 to 2020.
|Year||Agriculture||Forestry||Mining, oil and gas||Built-up land||Hydroelectric||Total|
Estimated wood volume (million cubic metres) in Canada
Sources and information
See Sources and information in the downloadable report for detailed sources.
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