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Forest growth in P.E.I. outpaced forest harvest

December 20, 2023  By Government of P.E.I.

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Prince Edward Island’s forests are projected to capture and store between 0.04 and 0.08 megatonnes of carbon emissions per year in the coming decades with the help of P.E.I.’s 16,000 woodlot owners, according to the latest State of Forest Report.

The report covers P.E.I. forest trends from 2010 to 2020.  It gives residents and decision-makers a snapshot of P.E.I.’s forests and is intended to stimulate discussion and inform individual management decisions.

“For the first time, this State of the Forest Report includes information on forest carbon storage. Given that more than 85 per cent of P.E.I.’s forests are privately owned, encouraging forest expansion and supporting sustainable management will be critical to ensuring Island forests can capture carbon for decades to come.” – Environment, Energy and Climate Action Minister Steven Myers

Some highlights of the report are as follows:

  • P.E.I.’s forests are projected to sequester between 0.04 and 0.08 megatonnes per year in the coming decades.  That is the equivalent of sequestering emissions from 12,600 to 25,200 passenger vehicles annually.
  • In 2020, P.E.I. had 245,919 hectares of forest, a net decrease of just over 4,000 hectares from 2010. Most of this was forested land converted to agriculture.
  • P.E.I.’s forests are 60 per cent hardwood dominated and 40 per cent softwood dominated, which hasn’t changed in the past decade.
  • The most common forest community (representing one third of our forest) is an intolerant hardwood mix (i.e. trees such as white birch, red maple, and poplar).
  • An average of 380,000 cubic meters of wood was harvested annually between 2010 and 2020, a decrease of 30 per cent from the previous reporting period (2000-2010)
  • The volume of P.E.I.’s forest is estimated to be 41.2 million cubic metres, an increase of 2.7 million cubic metres (7.2 per cent) from 2010, indicating that forest growth outpaced forest harvest.

P.E.I.’s Forestry Commission is looking at the real-world outcomes of extreme weather and climate change. The State of the Forest will help inform development of a new forest policy, with public consultations led by the Forestry Commission expected in 2024.

The Forests, Fish and Wildlife Division has released satellite imagery it acquired following post-tropical storm Fiona in 2022. The division is completing estimates of the impacts Fiona had on P.E.I.’s forest communities, wood volume, and carbon

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