Canada map

Canada occupies much of the continent of North America, sharing land borders with the contiguous United States to the south and the US state of Alaska to the northwest. By total area (including its waters), Canada is the second-largest country in the world, after Russia. By land area alone, however, Canada ranks fourth; the difference is due to it having the world's largest proportion of fresh water lakes. Since the end of the last glacial period, Canada has consisted of eight distinct forest regions, including extensive boreal forest on the Canadian Shield. Canada has over 2,000,000 lakes (563 of the lakes are greater than 100 km2), more than any other country, which together contain much of the world's fresh water. There are also fresh-water glaciers in the Canadian Rockies and the Coast Mountains. (Wikipedia)

Quick Facts

Land use

Total land area
909,351,000 hectares
Area of forest
38.2% of land area
Area of agriculture
7.2% of land area
Area of permanent cropland
0.5% of land area


35.9 million
Population growth
0.9% annually
Rural population

Economics and development

GDP per person
43248.50 USD

Climate change and biodiversity

CO2 emissions
13.50 metric tonnes per person
Threatened animal and plant species
National Restoration Targets
Sixth National Communication to the UNFCCC (2014)

In Section 4.4.4 on Land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF). NC 6 listed improved practices that include more reliance on tree planting as opposed to natural regeneration. In Annex 2, the rate of land converted to forest land, in a business as usual scenario, was pegged at 2,700 ha/yr.

Also cited was the Ontario 50 Million Tree Program, an 18-year program that was started in 2007 with a goal of investing $79 M to plant 50 M trees to sequester carbon and help restore forest cover on highly fragmented landscapes.

Fifth National Communication to the UNFCCC (2010)

The NC5 discusses policies and measures under the Offsets System, saying that projects exist across the economy and may include reforestation/other forestry projects.

At a provincial level, it cites several initiatives including:

  • Manitoba: The Manitoba government will encourage the establishment of agricultural soil sinks, which is expected to provide reductions of 25 megatonnes of CO2 - equivalent by 2012 and 37 megatonnes by 2050. In addition, the reforestation of 20,000 hectares by 2017 is expected to contribute 4.9 megatonnes of reductions.
  • British Columbia: Forests For Tomorrow which focuses on reforesting areas hardest hit by the mountain pine beetle and past wildfires. The program works to ensure resilient forest ecosystems and sustainable forests by planting the right tree species in the right areas to ensure faster growth and healthy forests. Over six billion trees have been planted in BC since replanting efforts began in the 1930s.
  • Ontario: Afforestation – Trees Ontario which looks to plant 50 million trees in Southern Ontario by 2020. 
  • EcoAction Community Funding Program which focuses on integrating carbon sequestration and conservation goals on conserved forest lands. Under this, the Galiano Conservancy Association is working to restore provincially and globally endangered coastal Douglas Fir ecosystems on Galiano Island. Restoration efforts undertaken will increase carbon sequestration on the site. This will help reduce the impacts of climate change. Restoration will also increase biodiversity, improve ecosystem health and enhance the site’s ability to adapt to the impacts of a changing climate.
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Country Profiles – NBSAPs, National Reports (5th)
Fifth National Report (2015)

Canada's fifth NR to the CBD includes a reference to afforestation activities conducted in the country: Between 1990 and 2008, about 1,000 km2 (100,000 ha) of land was afforested. Most afforestation activities occurred in eastern Canada on abandoned cropland (Environment Canada, 2013a). Tracking of afforestation at the national level has received less emphasis in recent years, and there are no national data on afforestation activities since 2008.

It details how Canada is contributing to progress towards the Aichi Biodiversity Targets 14 and 15:

Target 14 states that by 2020 ecosystems that provide essential services are restored and safeguarded and Target 15 states that by 2020 ecosystem resilience and the contribution of biodiversity to carbon stocks has been enhanced through conservation and restoration, including restoration of at least 15% of degraded ecosystems. Canada's NR includes a draft national target to conserve or enhance Canada's wetlands by 2020 with a goal of sustaining their ecosystem services through retention, restoration, and management activities. The indicators listed include: habitats are retained, managed, and restored under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.

United Nation Forum on Forests (UNFF) National Reports
Voluntary National Report to the 11th Session of the UNFF (2014)

The National Report references Ontario's contribution to the United Nations Billion Tree (per annum) Campaign, saying that Ontario partnered with Trees Ontario to implement a commitment to plant 50 million trees planted by 2025.

Answering a question on activities undertaken since 2007 to reverse forest cover loss and/or enhance area/quality of forests, the report lists:

  • Afforestation: 3,200 ha (2007-09 in Ontario)
  • Reforestation: 41,425 ha (Newfoundland) and 54,182 ha (Saskatchewan)

The examples given include:

  • Ontario: afforestation via 50 million trees initiative (new figures every 5 years in State of Ontario’s Forests)
  • Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest Region: Forestry Futures Trust Ontario (silviculture program) (no summary of hectares is available)
  • British Columbia: 1,100,000 ha has been reforested under Forests for Tomorrow Program (program began 2005)
Voluntary National Report to the 10th Session of the UNFF (2012)

This report mentions that Canada is fully committed to Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) and says, that by law, all forests harvested must be successfully regenerated. [This is Global Objective on Forests (GOF) 1]

Voluntary National Report to the 9th Session of the UNFF (2010)

Responding to the Global Objective on Forests (GOF) 1, Canada listed the work it had been doing:

On new provincial forest codes and land use planning frameworks, New Brunswick has a new long-term management approach which includes an aggressive public land silviculture program that annually plants 13,000 ha.

It provided examples of  ecosystem restoration initiatives in Canada’s national parks which resulted in the successful restoration of fire as an ecological process, reintroduction of species, removal of non‐native species, development of wildlife corridors and control of hyper‐ abundant species. For example in Banff, Jasper Yoho and Kootenay national parks, by restoring the ecological role of fire through prescribed fires, removing non‐native plant species and reducing the spread of mountain pine beetle, the diverse and resilient plant and forest communities in the mountain parks are being restored while at the same time the threat of catastrophic wildfires has been reduced.

Other (National Strategies and Plans, Rural Development Programs, Natura 2000 areas, projects, and goals)
Quebec - Plan Nord

Plan Nord lists several key objectives including: By 2020, establish protected areas in 20 % of the area covered by the Plan Nord

The significant potential for the development of natural resources requires sustainable and responsible management. Sufficient knowledge of the environment and an emphasis on ecological considerations integrated into the responsible development of resources constitutes a fundamental element of a balanced and viable approach to development.

The renewed Plan Nord offers an opportunity to establish and specify conservation measures to protect 50% of the land lying north of the 49th parallel from industrial activities, including a measure to establish protected areas.

More specifically, by 2020, the Government of Québec aims to:

  • Designate 20% of the area covered under the Plan Nord as protected areas, with at least 12% comprised of boreal forest north of the 49th parallel.
  • Introduce a mechanism for the priority allocation of the remaining 30% of the area for non-industrial activities, dedicated to the environment, the safeguarding of biodiversity and the promotion of various types of development.

Implement the measures to protect 50% of the area covered by the Plan Nord from industrial activities by a series of actions related to the four components of conservation:

  • Preservation—mainly through the establishment of a network of protected areas.
  • Protection—through the use of legal means, regulations and best practices with regard to development, harvesting activities and the various ways the land is used.
  • Sustainable use—based on a high level of knowledge and risk management that must be supported by ecological planning exercises, development work and the development of the natural environment, and on development that respects the carrying capacity of the ecosystems.
  • Restoration—to ensure that ecosystems provide the biological and ecological services that they offer naturally
Ontario Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan (2011-2014)

Goal 2 of the vision of this plan reads: Take all reasonable and practical measures to increase climate resilience of ecosystem and Action 16 is to: Conserve Biodiversity and Support Resilient Ecosystems.

It also specifies that the Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves Act mandates these areas be planned/managed to maintain or restore their ecological integrity.

National Conservation Plan

This policy allocates $100 M from 2014-2019 for two restoration initiatives, wetlands and supporting voluntary actions to restore/conserve species and their habitats.

FLR Assessments

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