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FPAC responds to WRI report on tree cover loss in Canada

April 2, 2015 - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and its members understand and embrace the value and importance of managing Canada's forests responsibly. Canada has the second largest forest cover in the world, and by law all harvested areas must be regenerated. 

We harvest much less than one per cent of the forests annually, and can proudly boast that Canada retains 90 per cent of its original forest cover.

A recent World Resource Institute (WRI) report indicates that forest fires have increased in Canada's boreal forest which puts Canada second on a global list for tree cover loss in 2013.  It is important to define what WRI means by tree cover loss. The distinction between natural cycles and man-made land use changes are necessary considerations when calculating tree loss.

Permanent forest loss from urbanization and agriculture expansion is vastly different from temporary tree loss caused by harvesting or natural occurrences like forest fires and pest infestations where trees regrow. 

Forecasts using climate change scenarios suggest that fire and pest activity will increase across much of Canada's forests. The forest products industry continues to collaborate with governments, academics and other stakeholders on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.

“Canada is a world leader in sustainable forest management practices, and the forest products industry is doing more every day to improve its environmental footprint,” says president and CEO of FPAC, David Lindsay. “Canadians can be proud of our careful management of our renewable forest resources. Even with our already strong green environmental credentials, the forest products industry has pledged under Vision2020 to do more and improve our environmental footprint by another 35 per cent by the end of the decade.”

Canada has 163 million hectares or 43 per cent of the world's certified forests, four times more than any other country. Certified forests are independently assessed giving assurance that they follow sustainable forest management practices. A Yale University study also says that Canadian forest management practices are among the most stringent in the world.

“In Canada, 100 per cent of harvested areas are regrown by law and natural disturbances such as forest fires and infestations are part of a natural cycle,” explained Lindsay. “In fact, some trees species in the boreal forest depend on fire to regenerate so we need to be clear when discussing the difference between temporary loss and permanent loss of forest cover. Our industry wants to work with governments and environmental groups to insure a healthy and sustainable forest for Canada.”

About FPAC
FPAC provides a voice for Canada's wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $58-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2 per cent of Canada's GDP and is one of Canada's largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 235,000 direct jobs across the country.

April 2, 2015  By Forest Products Association of Canada

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