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Data Sources and Methods for the Sustainability of Timber Harvest Indicator

Methods

The Sustainability of Timber Harvest indicator compares total wood supply to total harvest.

Wood supply, the volume of timber that may be sustainably harvested, is estimated for each province and territory. Provincial and territorial wood supplies are summed to estimate Canada’s total wood supply.

Each provincial or territorial contribution to total wood supplyFootnote [1] is the sum of:

  1. The estimated Annual Allowable Cuts (AAC, known as Allowable Annual Cut in British Columbia) for province-owned or “provincial Crown” lands.

    This is the volume of wood, estimated by professional foresters, that may be sustainably harvested each year from provincial Crown lands. Provincial Crown lands make up 77% of Canada’s forest and other wooded land, but the proportion varies by province. (Details on land ownership by province can be found in The State of Canada’s Forests Annual Report 2011.Footnote [2]) Most provinces establish AAC levels for their Crown lands based on a policy of maintaining a non–declining future wood supply while considering a complex range of factors. For example, AAC levels may be decreased in order to maintain animal habitat or increased to permit salvage of insect-damaged wood or in light of silvicultural investments to increase forest growth. The importance of individual factors to the AAC varies significantly among provinces and even among forest management areas within provinces because of regional differences in forestry policies. The extensive rationale behind an AAC determination for an individual forest management area is under provincial jurisdiction and additional information may be obtained from provincial resource management organizations.Footnote [3] The volume of wood harvested may be above or below the AAC in any one year, but needs to balance out over the regulation period. AACs are set based on an assessment of a wide range of ecological, social and economic factors and are therefore only a proxy for the sustainable level of harvest.

    with

  2. Estimates of wood supply on federal, territorial and private lands.

    Federal and private lands account for 16% and 7%, respectively, of Canada’s forest and other wooded land. Wood supply estimates are based on sustainable management plans (when available) or on past harvest levels. Estimation methods may be similar to those used for the AAC but such estimates are not standardized among private woodlot owners.
    The 2010 ownership (provincial Crown vs. federal, territorial and private lands) breakdown of wood supply by province is available from the National Forestry Database (NFD).Footnote [4]
    Total harvest (from the NFD Table 5.1 D6)Footnote [5] volumes refer to roundwood,Footnote [6] which includes sections of tree stems, with or without bark; logs; bolts; pulpwood; posts; pilings; industrial fuelwood; and household firewood. It does not include other forest products like Christmas trees.

Canada’s total harvest is an aggregate of the following:

  1. The reported total roundwood harvested from provincial Crown lands.

    Provincial laws require harvest from such lands to be reported and compared against the AAC value for individual forest management areas. Though the harvest must not exceed the AAC over multi-year regulation periods, a deviation by as much as 50% may be allowed in a given year. Regulation periods are 5 to 10 years in most cases. This provides the forestry industry with flexibility to respond to market conditions, while periodic limits ensure the long-term sustainability of supply.

    and

  2. The roundwood harvested from federal, territorial and private lands.

    Because there is generally no legislated mechanism to report harvest on these lands, these volumes are estimated by either provincial or federal forest authorities. Harvest from such lands is unregulated, meaning that harvesters are not required by law to compare their harvest to a sustainable level.

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (2012) National Forestry Database, Wood Supply – Background. Retrieved on 6 July, 2012.

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Footnote 2

Natural Resources Canada (2011) The State of Canada’s Forests Annual Report 2011. Retrieved on 6 July, 2012.

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Footnote 3

Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (2012) National Forestry Database, Partners. Retrieved on 6 July, 2012.

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Footnote 4

Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (2012) National Forestry Database, Wood Supply Quick Facts. Retrieved on 6 July, 2012.

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Footnote 5

Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (2012) National Forestry Database, Total roundwood harvested, Table 5.1 D6. Retrieved on 6 July, 2012.

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Footnote 6

Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (2011) National Forestry Database, Glossary – Forest Products. Retrieved on 6 July, 2012.

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