Industry Info - Forest Facts

forest-facts-01BC’s Forests

  • BC’s land base is 95 million hectares, or just a little larger than France and Germany combined
  • 62% of BC (55 million hectares) is forested
  • Less than 3% of original forest converted to human use
  • More than half of BC’s forested area has had little or no human disturbance
  • BC has more than 40 different species of native trees
  • About 83% of BC’s forests are predominantly coniferous, 6% are mixed forests, and 6% are broadleaved
  • 32% of BC forests are in coastal regions while the remaining 68% are in interior regions
  • 41% of BC forests are over 140 years old
  • 6 million hectares, or almost 15% of BC’s forests, are in protected areas
  • 13% of all forests in protected areas are 141-250 years old
  • BC is home to less than one percent of the world’s boreal forest
  • BC is Canada’s most ecologically diverse province, with temperate rainforests, dry pine forests, alpine meadows, and more
  • BC is Canada’s most biologically diverse province; it is home to more than half of the country’s wildlife and fish species

Sustainable Forestry

  • Forests cover 62% of the province of British Columbia, but only 24% (22 million hectares) is available for harvesting.
  • Of that amount, only 200,000 hectares – or less than 1% – are harvested on an annual basis.
  • BC has 52 million hectares of forest covered by third-party certification — more than any other single COUNTRY in the world.
  • Already, 75% of BC’s annual harvest comes from operations that are certified for sustainability or meet internationally-recognized criteria for environmental management systems.
  • 200 million trees are planted annually in British Columbia, or about three seedlings for every tree cut.
  • Almost 50% of all silviculture expenditures in Canada occur in BC
  • Trees planted in BC have captured 2 billion tonnes of carbon.
  • Over 4 million tons of carbon is stored in forest products each year.
  • The forest industry has kept green house gas emissions at 1980 levels despite a 23% increase in energy use and a 30% increase in pulp and paper production.
  • Canadian forests release a net average of 45 million tons of carbon per year due to natural causes of decay, fire, and other processes.
  • Early estimates indicate that Canada’s forests contain more that 89 billion tons of stored/sequestered carbon.
  • Buildings made of wood reduce the need to burn fossil fuels.
  • Compared to other materials, wood requires less energy to extract, process, transport, construct and maintain over time.
  • Wood is a better insulator than other materials: 15 times better than concrete and 400 times better than steel.
  • Growing forests absorb carbon dioxide.

Forestry Planning

  • BC takes a collaborative and integrated approach to land use planning. Evaluations are undertaken to see that objectives for conservation are being met
  • The Forest and Range Practices Act contains special measures to protect biodiversity, wildlife and fish habitat, soils, water and community watersheds
  • The province relies on professional foresters, biologists, agrologists and engineers to make decisions about forest practices
  • The Forest Practices Board is an independent public watchdog that reports to the public about forest practices in BC. The board conducts audits on the forest practices of government and licence holders on public lands
  • Pilot projects are conducted to test new approaches to forest management, like ecosystem-based management.

Forestry and BC’s Economy

  • The BC forest industry contributes $12 billion annually to the provincial GDP.
  • BC is the largest producer of softwood lumber in Canada (52%).
  • 145,000 jobs in BC depend on a healthy forest industry.
  • 1 in 16 jobs in BC is tied to the forest industry, and 40% of BC’s regional economies are dependent on forestry.
  • BC is the largest producer of bioenergy in North America.
  • 23% of all rail traffic in BC is forest products.
  • 8.5% of all cargo through Port Metro Vancouver is forest products.
  • 60% of all BC Hydro’s industrial revenues come from the forest industry.


BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Operations
BC Market Outreach Network Canadian Forest Service
Council of Forest Industries
Wood Promotion Network
Canadian Council of Forest Ministers
Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials
Statistics Canada
BC Stats

From the Newsroom

COFI Welcomes Measures Addressing Competitiveness in 2017 B.C. Budget

For Immediate Release

Vancouver, BC – The Council of Forest Industries (COFI) today welcomed the Government of B.C.’s s fifth consecutive balanced budget which provides some tax relief to encourage competitiveness and a continued commitment to expand our…

COFI Announces Winners of Forestry Photo Contest

Vancouver, B.C. – The Council of Forest Industries (COFI), with media partner Canadian Forest Industries (CFI) Magazine and prize sponsor London Drugs, today announced the winners of the Forestry Photo Contest.

“The photos we received truly captured the story…

BC’s Forest Sector Welcomes Tax Competitiveness Commission Report

Vancouver, BC – The Council of Forest Industries (COFI) welcomed today’s release of the report by the Commission on Tax Competitiveness, an independent panel established earlier this year to consult and review B.C.’s corporate tax structure and develop…