THUNDER BAY – The Forest Products Association of Canada is bullish on the future of forestry in Canada. “Recognized globally for its unmatched environmental leadership, Canada’s forest products industry is entering the International Year of Forests with a return to profitability and a growing demand for its lumber, pulp and specialized papers produced from well-managed forests,” states Avrim Lazar, the President and CEO of the FPAC. “The United Nations General Assembly declared 2011 as the International Year of Forests to raise awareness of sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests”.
“Our industry’s environmental leadership is known worldwide,” says Lazar. “In 2010 we signed the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the largest conservation agreement of its kind in history. We’re adopting the most sophisticated technology in sawmilling and migrating to a bio refinery model on the pulp and paper side. The industry has also been innovating to extract more value from every tree such as energy, chemicals and pharmaceuticals and as such is becoming a player in the new bio-economy.”
With virtually zero deforestation, more protected forest, and more third-party certified forest than any other country, and some of the toughest forestry regulations in the world, Canada’s forest industry is second to none when it comes to environmental stewardship.
“We’re on track to become the envy of the world because of our natural resources, pursuit of technical brilliance and environmental excellence in harvesting and processing,” says Lazar. “This will be a clear strategic advantage as we enter 2011 and in the decades to come.”
Canada is not only the globe’s most successful exporter of forest products but is also Canada’s most successful exporter to the emerging Asian markets. Over the past 5 years the industry has more than tripled its wood exports to China – going from $109 million in 2005 to $385 million in 2009.
“The planet is becoming crowded and more affluent. Between now and 2030 the world’s population will grow by 1.3 billion, about the size of the current population of China,” says Lazar. “Over that same period global GDP will double and personal income in the developing world is expected to triple. That translates into a huge upsurge in demand for increasingly scarce natural resources and a clear economic edge for Canada.”
“Demand will strain supply not just for energy and minerals but also for land available for farming. The United Nations predicts a 50 percent shortfall of arable land in the next twenty years. This will be an obvious advantage for our agriculture sector but also for our forestry sector since it works sustainably in natural forests instead of relying on the huge tree farms found in other countries. Canada’s forest products industry is preparing itself for this opportunity.”