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Have you ever thought that the paper industry is actually good for the environment, that it’s an essential part of the Canadian Forestry ecosystem? When sustainable practices are followed, they protect the environment from diseases, wildfire and pests all while still maintaining the different types of forests that exist in Canada. Canada in fact holds some of the strictest laws for forest management in the world. These laws are Nationwide to protect areas that are harvested on public land ensuring that they are reforested by means of:
- Natural Regeneration
- Protecting Wildlife (including species at risk)
- Proper Timber Harvesting
Misconceptions About The Paper and Forest Products Industry
We’ve all heard at one point in the past few years that “paper industry is dying,” or “forest products are destroying the environment” and many others, but the fact is that both the Canadian paper and forest product industry have given Canada a steady stream of environmental improvement. For every available tree that is harvested (which is less than 1%), each tree is then replaced with a seedling. This also means that since the early 90’s, the Canadian forestry sector has been able to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 70% with no signs of stopping. Paper is not a wasteful product as some claim it to be, it actually holds the highest recycling rate over any other material from Canadian landfills at an increasing rate according to CM Consulting.
Sustainable Forest Management in Canada
This is done in a way that specifically cares for the forests allowing them to maintain their natural environment, as well as cultural, economic and social values over time. The sustainability of these decisions come from:
- Scientific research
- Extensive planning and processes
- Consulting the public
To ensure that these decisions are maintained and followed, there are strict forest laws in addition to regulations and policies that have been put in place. As noted above, Canada holds one of the strictest forest laws in the world bringing confidence to consumers that any wood product that has been purchased from Canada has been harvested legally. When is comes to public consultation, the public is welcomed to be apart of an open dialogue that will discuss processes such as:
- Specific regeneration and harvesting practices
- Respecting Indigenous treaty rights and values
- Protecting biodiversity and setting aside protected areas
- Prevent any illegal logging in Canada
- Prohibiting any importing of illegal timber products into Canada
Canada's Forests Overview
Did you know that a staggering 94% of Canada’s forest land is publicly owned? That’s combined between Provinces, territories and Federal governments which makes for only 6% that is privately owned. To break these statistics down further, according to the Natural Resources of Canada, forest ownership is as follows:
Of these forests, boreal forests specifically, covers over 270 million hectares of land which are vital to not only Canada’s climate, but regulating the world’s climate as a whole from purifying both the air and water working towards lowering greenhouse gas emissions. By carefully monitoring and following all laws and regulations to sustain these forests, it benefits the job market for Canadians as the economy heavily relies on this sector for timber and non-timber products, as well as the social and cultural significance to Canada’s Aboriginal peoples which reside in 70% of forested areas.
Forest Certification and Biodiversity Conservation
In Canada there are three separate third-party companies that are internationally recognized for providing Canada with forest management certifications for sustaining both environmental and social standards. The benefit to these certifications is that it sets a high standard for forest companies to meet and follow. Approvals are required in order to verify to customers that they are buying products which have legally met threshold requirements that have been set in place. In addition to the certifications, The Montréal Process is a group that was formed back in 1994 to set criteria that would protect sustainable forests globally. It does not go unnoticed that this group has grown to hold 12 countries as members, all vying for the protection of our forests. Specifically what The Montréal Process requires is that these countries need to conserve all biological diversity at a genetic, landscape and species level.
When laws and regulations are adhered to for the sustainability of Canadian forests and our environment, it really can make a difference from the air we breathe, to the wood products we purchase or even the paper products we use daily such as a notepad, or that cardboard package sitting in your kitchen cupboard. It’s all around us, whether we notice it or not. We can all do our part as individuals to create a positive environment that will lead us on this path to a sustainable future. To learn more on how we plan to continue on the path of sustainability, follow us here.