Forests

Photo: boreal forest © Canadian Forest Service
Boreal Forest

Deforestation

Area (km2)
Graph: deforestation. Click for graphic description (new window).
Note: This graph depicts deforestation – the area of forest converted to other land cover types. As it does not include the area converted from other land types to forests, it is not a depiction of net change in forest area.
Source: adapted from Environment Canada, 200913 and Natural Resources Canada, 200814

The total forest area in Canada is approximately 3.48 million km2.15 From 1990 to 2007, the annual area deforested – permanently converted from forests to other land cover – ranged from 482 to 760 km2, an annual rate of deforestation of 0.01 to 0.02%. This is a very small loss when compared to the global rate of deforestation and the extent of Canada's forests.12, 16 Trends in total forest area, including afforestation – the expansion of forests into other land cover types - cannot be calculated from available data. Conversion of forest land to cropland, resource roads, transmission lines, oil and gas development, urban development, and flooding for new hydro reservoirs, contributes to deforestation.13 The rate of deforestation is small at a national level, but it can be significant in some regions. For example, 45% of the highly forested coastal Douglas fir zone in B.C. has been converted to other land cover types.17 A small amount of afforestation is occurring in the Ontario portion of the Mixedwood Plains Ecozone+, where forest cover has rebounded from a low of 11% in the 1920s to an average of 22% today.18