The permanent (or long-term) reduction of Canada’s tree canopy cover (deforestation) was 39,700 hectares in 2015, according to recent estimates of the National Deforestation Monitoring Group of the Canadian Forest Service. What percentage of total forest was that? Here’s the math:
In other words, just one-hundredth of one per cent (0.01%) of Canada’s total forest land was deforested in 2015. This makes absolute nonsense of any claims about massive or major or even substantial or significant deforestation in Canada. This applies to Canada’s largest forest region, the Boreal, too.
Canada’s annual deforestation rate has been steadily declining over the last 25 years, mainly because less forest land has been cleared for agriculture, forestry and hydro-electric development.
How does our performance compare to that of other countries? Very well. While international data on deforestation are not easy to acquire and calculate, and are several years old (the latest being for 2010); United Nations’ data do reveal that Canada’s deforestation rate was then amongst the lowest in the world: fourth lowest of the 45 countries listed in UN comparative tables. Most of the deforestation occurring in the world today is occurring in tropical countries where forests are being removed for the growing of agricultural crops, soy and palm oil, timber and pulp, or being cleared for cattle grazing and wood fuel.
And now here’s something that most Canadians will find really hard to believe: forestry is not the major cause of deforestation in Canada. Forestry was responsible for only four per cent of Canada’s deforestation in 2015. How could this possibly be? Especially when the most common image that Canadians see of deforestation is a nasty looking clearcut?