Our forests. Our resources. Our Future.
One-third of our country is covered with trees, and forests are in every province and territory. Forests and forest resources are integral to Canadian life and participation in decisions relating to forest use and management is key to their well-being. Through ongoing discussion and dialogue, governments, scientists, Indigenous Peoples, environmentalists, industry, and individuals all have roles to play in finding balanced solutions that work for our economy, communities, the environment, and life itself on our planet.
Forests: An integral part of our communities
Forests define our Canadian geography, identity and lifestyle while being a dominant feature of our economy. They have also long played an integral role in meeting the cultural, spiritual and material needs of Indigenous Peoples. Furthermore, forests are often central to the health and well-being of life globally and provide many environmental services and recreational activities. All of these benefits combined are important to people and their communities in both rural and urban Canada.
Public involvement and participation
With 92 per cent of forests being publicly owned, Canadians have a vested interest in the decisions being made on how forests and its resources are managed and key factors influencing their future.
Governments at all levels have responded to this interest in public involvement and participation with policy development that is open and transparent, based on community involvement and backed by comprehensive legislation.
Innovative partnerships in every region of Canada—from temperate rainforests on the Pacific Coast to the northern boreal region—have fostered dialogues involving input from communities, governments, science, industry, and a range of interest groups.
Together, divergent interests are exploring issues ranging from biodiversity to climate change, cultural and spiritual connection to economics and then finding consensus-based solutions that recognize and take into account these differences in needs and values to support a holistic forest management approach.
Indigenous Peoples and forests
Indigenous and treaty rights are protected by Canada’s constitution, and this is increasingly reflected in forest policy and forest management practices. Indigenous involvement in the land is being formally acknowledged through processes that include land claims, treaty making, treaty land entitlement and tenure.
As the First Peoples living in and managing our vast and abundant land for millennia, forests are fundamental to the livelihood of Indigenous Peoples. The sustainable use of forests within their traditional territories is critically important for subsistence, economic, and ceremonial practices. Given that most Indigenous communities are located in or near forested lands (over 70 per cent of First Nations) and have a long history of forest management, encouraging increased Indigenous involvement in decision-making and in the forest sector will strengthen Indigenous communities and provide significant contributions to Canada’s forest-based economy and sustainable forest management objectives.