OTTAWA – Politics – Our government is pleased to support the International Day of Forests. Our country is known around the world for its majestic, forested landscapes, and our citizens have every reason to be proud of the quality of our forest products and Canada’s international leadership on forestry issues.
Our country’s reputation positions us well to meet the growing world demand for products derived from sustainably managed forests. With nearly 150 million hectares of internationally certified forests — far more than any other country — Canada is widely recognized as a responsible supplier of forest products from legal and sustainable sources.
Globally, demand for wood products is on the rise, and with 10 percent of the world’s forest cover, our nation is well positioned to help meet that demand as a leading producer and exporter of high-quality forest products. In 2013, the value of those exports totaled $28.4 billion, supporting 600,000 jobs in regions all across the country. We are now capitalizing on the tremendous trade opportunities emerging in the Asia-Pacific area. In fact, growing shipments of wood products to China and Japan, combined with rebounding shipments to the U.S.A., increased total Canadian softwood lumber exports by $1.7 billion in 2013 —an increase of 30 percent compared to 2012.
From an innovation perspective, Canadian forestry companies are now leading the world in demonstrating the viability of advanced new technologies aimed at improving efficiencies, reducing environmental impacts and creating higher-value products from Canada’s enviable forest resources.
The growth and expansion in Canada’s wood products sector means that the industry is now focused on finding enough skilled millwrights, engineers, pipe fitters, truck drivers, heavy equipment operators, technologists and more. This represents a tremendous opportunity for young Canadians — particularly for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth in rural communities — to obtain work in high-paying jobs in an industry globally recognized as innovative and responsible.
Canada’s expertise in sustainable forest management is founded on world-class science. We continually share our knowledge and expertise so that forest managers around the world can benefit from our approach to balancing the wide range of benefits derived from this valuable natural resource. Just last month, for example, NRCan scientists reached a milestone in sharing their expertise in monitoring the carbon stored and generated by forest ecosystems. They have now trained more than 500 professionals worldwide and distributed over 1,000 copies of modelling software they developed to support decision making and international reporting on the role of forest carbon in climate change.
On this International Day of Forests, I am proud to join my counterparts around the world in encouraging our citizens to reflect on the important role that Canada’s forests and trees play in our history, our society and our future.
Minister Greg Rickford MP
Minister of Natural Resources