Canada is rich in forest resources that benefit Canadians.
Forests and forestry provide a wide range of economic, social, environmental and cultural benefits for Canadians. For example, the forest industry employs more than 221,000 people across the country and injects roughly $25.8 billion into the economy. Not only do trees and forests improve air and water quality, growing evidence demonstrates the benefits of forests for mental health and well-being.
Unfortunately, the health of our forest ecosystems are increasingly at risk due to natural and human pressures such as:
- climate change
- pest outbreaks
- changes in species composition
- natural resource development
- urban expansions
Individually, these pressures may pose a low risk to our forest ecosystems, but could bring potentially devastating ecological, social and economic outcomes when combined.
Managing our forests sustainably
The national research agenda identifies how to address cumulative effects occurring in Canada’s forests through federal research and integration of Indigenous knowledge. It builds on past, present and future research, knowledge and tools needed over the next decade for strategic and effective on-the-ground decision-making.
Canada is part of international agreements that address forestry issues such as:
- Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
Addressing cumulative effects in Canada’s forests
Collaborating closely with Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance, Natural Resources Canada’s scientists developed a toolkit that supports practices in an effort to increase forest cover of disturbed sites. The Silviculture Toolkit was designed to give top-level expertise and instruction to a range of end-users, including decision makers, land managers and restoration workers, to successfully restore sites that have previously been disturbed through natural resource development in Canada.
Using the techniques presented in the silviculture toolkit, work is underway to start restoring the thousands of kilometres of seismic lines in Alberta alone. The restoration will benefit the entire ecosystem and contribute to improving wildlife habitat, including for the boreal caribou, which are listed as a threatened species under the federal Species at Risk Act.