B.C. is a world leader in sustainable forestry. Healthy forests are part of the ecological and natural heritage that the people of B.C. take great pride in, and the commitment of forest producers to honour these values is firm. B.C.’s sustainable forests, and the products made from them, play a critical role in helping Canada meet its carbon emissions commitments for the long term.
B.C.'s forest is larger than France and Germany combined
B.C. is home to beautiful parks and expansive protected areas. Much of the natural beauty of the province is derived from its forests, which make up 62% of the province’s land base. Since European settlement the amount of forested land in B.C. has remained virtually unchanged, with less than 3% of the land being permanently converted to other uses, such as urban development or agriculture.
Canada has three times more third-party certified forest than any other nation in the world, and the majority of B.C.’s annual harvest comes from operations that are certified to sustainable forest management standards or meet internationally-recognized criteria for environmental management systems. To ensure that the beauty and ecosystems of B.C.’s forests are preserved, we harvest less than 1% of the forest each year, and by law these areas must be replanted after harvesting. In fact, for every tree that is harvested, three seedlings are planted in its place to ensure that our forest is robust and healthy forever. That’s why customers of B.C. and citizens of our province can continue to use B.C. pulp, paper, and wood products with confidence that they are making a sound choice for the planet.
Trees planted in B.C. have captured 2 billion tonnes of carbon
B.C.’s forest management approach plays a role in how Canada will meet its carbon emissions targets for the long term, and contributes to climate change mitigation in a number of different ways. In addition to ensuring reforestation of harvested areas, wood products developed from those forests continue to store the carbon for as long as they are in use. As trees grow they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their roots, wood, leaves or needles, and exchange it for oxygen which they release into the atmosphere. Younger trees grow at a faster rate than mature trees, so they exchange carbon for oxygen at an accelerated pace. As trees reach the end of their lifecycle and die, whether it be from forest fire, insect infestation, or decay, they release their stored carbon back into the atmosphere.
Carbon remains in the wood not only for the life of the tree, but for decades after in products such as lumber, millwork or furniture. For example, a typical 2500 square-foot wood frame home is estimated to have 30 metric tonnes of carbon stored in it, the equivalent of driving your car for seven years. In comparison, the carbon footprint of a steel frame house is 26% higher than that of a wood frame house, and concrete frame house is 31% higher than wood. Building with wood represents a significant opportunity in sustainable development and emissions reduction.
We use virtually 100% of the harvested log
The B.C. forest industry strives to utilize 100% of the harvested log. Almost half of the harvested log becomes high-quality lumber that is well suited for construction. About 1/3 of the log becomes residual wood chips. These are used in the creation of pulp, paper, and panels, or pellets, which can be used as a green source of energy in the form of biofuels. The sawdust, shavings and bark are repurposed as a biofuel to generate electricity in the manufacturing process or exported as wood pellets. Finally, the ends that are trimmed off of the finished lumber are turned into finger-joined lumber, which is an engineered wood product.
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