October 3, 2005

NRCan reviews state of Canada's forests in 2004-05

The boreal forest, which makes up 77% of Canada's entire forest cover, is the focus of the 15th edition of The State of Canada's Forests for 2004-2005, recently released by Natural Resources Canada Minister John Efford. The report includes examples of work being done to ensure the present and future health Canada's boreal forest. These examples cover a diversity of topics, such as remote sensing and non-timber forest products; updates on partnerships between governments and environmental groups; and points of view from all stakeholders, including Aboriginal peoples, industry and youth.

Current statistics also provide an overview of the present state of Canada's forest resource, including an update on the environmental performance of the forestry sector.

*Forests and other wooded land cover 402 million hectares (ha), or slightly over 40% of Canada's total land area of 979 million ha. Canada has 180 indigenous tree species.

*Of this 402 million ha, 92 million ha are classified as "other wooded land," consisting of treed wetland as well as slow-growing and scattered-treed land.

*Canada has 310 million ha of forest land; of this, nearly 295 million ha are not reserved and are therefore potentially available for commercial forest activities.

*Of the 295 million ha, nearly 144 million ha are most likely to be subject to forest management activities.

*Just under one million of these 144 million ha of forest are harvested annually.

*In 2004, Canada recored 6,634 forest fires, below average for the year compared to the ten-year average of 7,631. Forest fires consumed 3.3 million ha of forested land in 2004, slightly above the ten-year average of 2.8 million ha.

*Eleven of Canada's 15 territorial ecozones are situated within forest areas.

*About 93,000 of Canada's estimated 140,000 species of plants, animals and micro-organisms live in the forest.

The forestry sector's environmental track record includes a number of significant improvements.

*New operational harvesting techniques have substantially reduced the industry's ecological footprint in the forest.

*Pulp and paper mills have greatly reduced their greenhouse gas emissions, to 28% below 1990 levels.

*The industry has virtually eliminated chlorinated dioxins.

*Since 1989, industry has spent $2.6 billion on recycling: in 2003, Canadian mills recycled five million tonnes of paper into new products.

*The proportion of recycled content in the fibre used to produce new Canadian paper has reached an all-time high of 80%, with 24% coming from recovered paper and 56% from chips or sawmill residues.

*Today, 55% of the pulp and paper sector's energy consumption comes from biomass, a renewable resource.

*Sustainable forest management certification has tripled in the last two years. Canada has more certified forest land than any other country in the world.

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