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 September 07, 2007
Canada - Sustainable Forest Management Leader

 Ottawa, Canada (GLOBE-Net ) - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) has re-affirmed that Canada is a global leader in sustainable forest Management by having retained 91% of its original forest area, more than any other country in the world, while having had a large and thriving forest products industry for more than a hundred years.

"Concern for the state of the world's natural resources and the environment in general has never been more focused. People want to know that the forests are being regenerated, that wildlife habitats are being protected, and that forest biodiversity is respected and maintained," said Avrim Lazar, President and CEO of FPAC.

  • Canada's rate of deforestation is zero and has been for over two decades (United Nations FAO State of the World's Forests report issued in March 2007).
  • Canada has world leading forestry practices and regulatory regime - conclusion of an independent third party report conducted by Dr. Benjamin Cashore, Associate Professor of Sustainable Forest Policy, and Chair of the Program on Forest Certification at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
  • Canada is home to 30% of the world's boreal forest. The remainder is found in other large forestry nations such as Russia (50%) and Scandinavia - Finland, Sweden and Norway - (about 20%).
  • 93% of Canada's forests are publicly owned and regulated. This provides assurance that companies operating on these lands are bound by: comprehensive legislation and enforcement; 20-25 year forest management plans; rolling 5 year development plans and site specific annual operational plans; and forest management plans subject to public review prior to approval.
  • Canada retains more (91%(2)) original forest area than any other country in the world.
  • Only one quarter of Canada's forests are managed for commercial use. The vast majority (70%) of the boreal region remains un-accessed. Of this only .5% (1 million hectares) is harvested annually. By law, all harvested areas must be promptly regenerated.
  • Canada has more protected forest (over 40 million hectares(3)) than any other country - 28 million hectares of these protected areas occur in the boreal.
  • Canada has the most (134 million hectares(4) of certified forest- 75% of which is in the boreal) 3rd party independently certified forests (CSA, FSC, SFI) in the world.
  • Canada is home to nearly 45% of the world's certified forests; and its area of certified boreal forest is 3 times larger than any other country's area of certified total forest.
  • Canada's forest products industry is a global leader in climate change mitigation. Members of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) have reduced their greenhouse gas emissions by 44% since 1990 - seven times Canada's Kyoto targets. Source: FPAC

Canadians can be proud of Canada's forest management practices which are recognized as world leading. From an environmental and forest stewardship standpoint, there is simply no better place in the world from which to source forest products," he added.

In January 2002, the member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada undertook an ambitious commitment, the only one of its kind by a national forest products trade association in the world. FPAC members committed to certify all of their forestry operations to one of three major internationally recognized 3rd-party SFM standards by the end of 2006.

Certification imposes rigour and goals and intensifies the focus on continual improvement. FPAC announced this past February that all FPAC forestlands under the January 2002 commitment had been certified. "FPAC's certification commitment has brought about a rapid growth in SFM certification in Canada. Testament to this growth is that one month before the FPAC commitment, 17 million hectares were certified in Canada, and just 5 years later, the number has increased nearly 8 fold, to 134 million hectares," continued Lazar. "

"This was yet one more commitment by FPAC members to provide their customers with the assurance that they are buying products from the most sustainable of sources," added Lazar. "Today less than 10% of the world's forests are certified but nearly 45% of those certified forests are found in Canada. While we know that we can do better, we encourage other forest producing nations to do the same."

FPAC is the only trade association in the world with a commitment regarding 3rd-party SFM certification as a condition of membership. And, with an eye towards continual improvement, FPAC members are collaborating with environmental and conservation groups to protect and restore sensitive habitats and endangered species.

Interestingly, FPAC'S re-affirmation of Canada's leadership in sustainable forest management comes on the same day as the release of a new Leger Marketing poll commissioned by Greenpeace that suggests 86 per cent of Quebecers support the suspension of logging in the last remaining intact areas of Boreal Forest in the province. Additionally, only 18% per cent of respondents believe that forest companies and the government of Quebec are managing forests in a way that serves the public interest and forest workers.

"The public's lack of confidence in the government and logging companies is significant," said Melissa Filion, a forest campaigner with Greenpeace. "Without taking quick and concrete action to protect the forest, the government and logging companies will not regain the public's trust."

FPAC is the voice of Canada's wood, pulp and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade and environmental affairs. Canada's forest industry is an $80 billion dollar a year industry that represents 3% of Canada's GDP. The industry is one of Canada's largest employers, operating in over 320 Canadian communities and providing nearly 900,000 direct and indirect jobs across the country.

For More Information: Canada News Wire (CNW)