Message from the Minister of Natural Resources
Canada faces twin crises in climate change and biodiversity loss. Canada’s forests are an important part of the solution to both: they are storers of carbon and habitats for wildlife. Our forests are also an important part of the lives of Canadians. Forests themselves contribute to our health and well-being, while the forest industry provides good jobs across the country.
The theme of this year’s report, Diverse forests for a diverse Canada, is highlighted in stories from across our heavily forested country. These stories show how we are helping our forests adapt to a changing climate, respond to new stressors and benefit from sustainable forest resource management through the use of reliable data.
With forests covering nearly 40% of Canada’s land area, it is important that they be managed sustainably in order to preserve their many great environmental, social and cultural benefits for both present and future generations. Effective management also creates opportunities for innovative economic development.
Now, as the global economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and market demands change, it is essential for the forest sector to continue to innovate, to find new ways to use wood fibre and to improve environmental performance.
The Government of Canada supports the drive toward sustainability through innovation. For instance, the Forest Innovation Program (FIP) and Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program support the transformation of the Canadian forest sector through research and development, the adoption of innovative technologies and the expansion of value-added forest products, while the Green Construction through Wood (GCWood) program encourages greater use of wood in construction projects.
And we continue to make real progress toward our goal of planting 2 billion trees over 10 years. The first year of the program was a success: our partners achieved 97% of our 30-million-tree planting target. These trees will clean the air we breathe and the water we drink and will help cool our urban centres. Nearly one in every five projects was Indigenous-led, and a high volume of applications for the second year shows continued growth and interest.
By rooting our actions and decisions in science-based sustainability indicators, we can better understand both short- and long-term trends to promote the sustainable management of our forests. By incorporating Indigenous and local perspectives and knowledge into forest management, restoration and conservation, we are strengthening the resiliency of our forests and communities.
Canada’s forests have always defined our country. Through good management and innovation, we are preserving their role in our country’s future.
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson
Minister of Natural Resources
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