Forests play an important role in environmental cycles, providing a habitat for plants and animals, absorbing water and acting as carbon sinks and stores. They remove a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and are integral to addressing and mitigating climate change, specifically greenhouse-gas emissions.
According to Canada’s 2007 national greenhouse-gas inventory report, Canada has some 230 million hectares of managed forest land, areas where ecological, economic and social functions of the forest are carried out in a sustainable manner.
Human activities, such as tree harvesting and replanting, fire prevention and insect management, have a direct impact on the carbon stored in a forest. Canada’s managed forests have been carbon sinks for 11 of the 18 years between 1990 and 2008, according to the most recent Natural Resources Canada report on the state of the country’s forests.
While the forest sector has produced significant greenhouse-gas emissions in the past, it has recently made positive changes in the way it manages its forest practices. FPAC members have reduced their greenhouse-gas emissions by 66 percent since 1990, far surpassing the country’s Kyoto goals, while increasing production. In addition, Canada has almost zero deforestation and replants trees at the rate of 688,428,000 seedlings annually. Also, the use of biomass in the forest-products industry is significantly cutting its fossil-fuel-based energy consumption.
The Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement builds on these advancements, aiming to promote and implement the world’s best sustainable forest harvesting practices while developing green mill operations and creating new products.