A mature tree absorbs around 22 kilos of CO2 a year. Here is a picture of what Canadian forests contribute to fight carbon emissions.
Canada has 388 million ha of forest land; 40 million ha is northern, remote, scattered and alpine forest; 348 million ha is closed-canopy forest. Canada has the third largest area of forest in the world after Russia and Brazil. Our forest is diverse with about 40 common, commercially valuable species of trees – half conifer and half deciduous hardwoods.
The 348 million ha of closed-canopy forest is comprised of eight forest regions, each with a distinct mix of tree species. From east to west the regions are: Acadian and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence (the forest around us) both are mixtures of hardwoods and conifers. The small deciduous forest region in the Niagara area is composed almost completely of hardwood species. In the west we have the Columbian Wet belt, the BC Coastal forest and the Montane and Sub-Alpine forest regions. The Boreal Forest stretches across the north from Newfoundland & Labrador to the Yukon.
Fire is a common natural feature of three forest regions: Montane, Sub-Alpine and Boreal. They are often described as ‘fire-driven ecosystems’. Some common tree species rely on the heat of fires to open their cones and drop seeds.
The 348 million ha of closed canopy forest is divided into two parts based on location and economic factors. Approximately 210 million ha is ‘non-reserved timber productive forest land’. The other 138 million ha is in parks or is too remote and slow-growing to offer an opportunity for management and harvesting.
The ownership of 210 million ha of managed, timber-productive forests are:
• Provincial governments own and regulate the use and management of 185 million ha (88%). Perhaps 165 million ha of this Crown land forest is under active management.
• 450,000 rural families (125,000 in Quebec) own 20 million ha of private woodlots (9%), averaging 40 ha in size, scattered across the country.
• Perhaps 100 larger blocks of private forest land covering six million ha (3%) are owned by private investors, companies, foundations and pension funds.