Canadian Geographic
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Future of forestry


The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) ushers in a new era of joint leadership, bringing together forest-products companies and leading environmental advocates. Their shared challenge is to address social and environmental imperatives while still capturing emerging economic opportunities for high-environmental-quality forest products. The Agreement’s signatories recognize the need to work with Canadian and First Nations governments to define and realize a future where forestry in Canada’s boreal zone is sustainable and where effective conservation measures are taken to protect habitats for resident species.

Understanding the importance of protecting key ecological values in the boreal forest is on the rise in Canada. As per the Agreement, logging activities are being suspended in boreal woodland caribou habitat. In addition, signatories are working together to identify world leading forest-management practices and new protected areas.

Transformation is happening not only on the ground but also with product outputs. In working to achieve a “zero-waste” imperative with respect to harvested timber, the industry is gaining knowledge about the smart use of poor-quality wood grades as well as wood fibre and residues from traditional mills, which would otherwise be sent to landfills.

Forest-products companies already using leading technologies to improve their environmental performance are now exploring the biotransformation of their operations by creating bioproducts, biofuels and biomaterials from wood fibre and residues. New technologies currently in development include changing solid wood fibre into a liquid form to produce biofuels to replace fossil fuels and using pulp residues, a by-product of the milling process, to replace resins in wood panels and more.

In addition to benefiting the environment, this biotransformation will boost the industry’s economic return, according to the findings of the Future Bio-pathways Project*, a study commissioned by the Forest Products Association of Canada. Mills that integrate the production of traditional wood products, such as lumber and pulp and paper, with bioenergy and biomaterials can create more jobs and have higher economic returns.

Ultimately, the viability of Canada’s forest industry depends on its transformation into an engine of the 21st century’s new bioeconomy, driven by the need for clean energy to address climate change and for the widespread adoption of sustainable environmental and business practices.


This piece features an interactive, animated presentation of a tree’s lifecycle. Users can also learn about the forest product lifecycle, with facts and statistics on forestry operations, supported by photography.


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Quiz :

How many hectares of third-party certified forests does Canada have?