Flushing out the Truth about our Canadian Forests

March 5, 2019

A US-based environmental lobby group recently released a misleading report about tissue and toilet paper that takes aim at Canadian forests and forestry workers. It marks yet another attack on Canadian natural resource jobs and rural and northern towns by U.S. special interests who simply do not understand how carefully and sustainably we manage our forests in Canada.

The report, produced by New York-based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), claims that American consumers are “destroying” Canada’s boreal forest by using too much toilet paper. It is important to note that this is the same lobby organization that came to Ottawa last November and told a Canadian audience that we do not replant or regenerate our forests. A blatant lie that was appropriately called out on the spot. A quick look at the federal government’s Forests Fact Book reflects the power behind our replanting and regenerating efforts — over 615 million trees planted annually. https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/report/infographics/20031

Canada’s registered professional foresters look after Canada’s forests. This includes not only planning and implementing harvesting and reforesting activities, but also promoting important forest values like wildlife, biodiversity, and water protection.

The meticulous planning that goes into managing Canada’s forests is one of the reasons we harvest less than 0.5% of our forests annually, we plant 1,000 trees every minute, and we do not have problems with deforestation and illegal logging as we see in other countries around the world.

In fact, it is through the industry’s high standards and commitment to healthy forests and forest ecosystems that Canada has retained over 90% of its original forest cover.

Interestingly, NRDC suggests alternative wood fibre sources that are either more carbon intensive or sourced from countries with much less progressive forest management, labour, and human rights practices. It makes one wonder what the real agenda is here.

Here are some important facts to remember about Canada’s forests:

  • Canada has among the most rigorous frameworks for forest management in the world that must include science-based considerations for wildlife and forest ecosystems.
  • Every single tree harvested in Canada is replanted or regenerated – it’s the law.
  • Canada has almost zero deforestation (0.01) and the vast majority of forest disturbances are from fires and pests.
  • Over 12,500 Indigenous people work in forestry, the sector enjoys working with some 1,400 Indigenous forestry businesses from coast to coast, and Indigenous communities are engaged in regional forest planning consultations under our provincial laws and regulations.
  • Canada’s working forests are helping lead the fight against climate change. Natural Resources Canada’s State of the Forests Report (2018) confirms that the forested area under active management in Canada continues to be a carbon sink of 20 million tonnes.
  • The boreal zone is thousands of years old, but the trees in the boreal are not. Based on natural disturbance patterns, trees in the boreal forest will only live for around 100 years.  By planning to harvest them before they succumb to pests, fires, or simply falling over, we can realize economic value, and support environmental values by replanting and regenerating.  Younger forests absorb more carbon than older ones.
  • Canada has more third-party certified forests than any country in the world, meaning consumers can rest assured products from our forests are produced from environmentally responsible and sustainable practices.
  • We could not be more proud of the fact that Canada’s labour, human rights, and health and safety standards are among the best in the world.

Our boreal forest is a Canadian treasure. We plan to keep it that way.

Our Made in Canada approach to forest management brings environmental, social, and economic benefits to our country. It is why we will stand up against US-funded activists who will say anything to stifle responsible resource development, putting Canadian workers at risk in the process.

On behalf of our forestry professionals, their families, and their communities, FPAC can play the pun game too. We believe it’s the recent NRDC report that belongs in the toilet.

For more information contact:
Kerry Patterson-Baker
Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs
Follow FPAC on Twitter: @FPAC_APFC
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