Sustainable forest management is essential to the Canadian paper-based packaging industry and its circular economy.
The Canadian paper packaging industry does not harvest much of Canada’s forests because most paper packaging made in Canada is produced with recycled content. The little amount of trees that are harvested must be successfully regenerated by Canadian law. The latest data from Natural Resources Canada’s State of Canada’s Forests Annual Report shows the total forest harvest (for lumber and all paper grades including packaging) represented 0.2% of Canada’s forest land.
Canada’s 347 million hectares of forest area is stable, with less than half of 1% deforested since 1990. The paper packaging industry is not a major cause of deforestation in Canada. Deforestation is when forest land is permanently cleared and converted to make way for new, non-forest land use. In 2020, deforestation accounted for 49,352 hectares of area permanently changed, primarily by the agriculture, mining, oil and gas, and built-up (new homes, ski hills, and golf courses) sectors, which together represent 96% of deforestation in Canada.
Insects are the number one cause of forests disturbances in Canada. Canadian forests are most affected by natural disturbances such as insect infestations, diseases, and fires. In 2020, insects represented the largest cause of disturbance with 17.7 million hectares of area defoliated. The second largest cause was fires with 4.3 million hectares of area burned in 2021 (the largest on record since 1990).
Canadian mills use independent certification to verify their paper fibres are responsibly sourced. All paper fibres used are verified to be responsibly sourced by independent, third-party certification bodies. In Canada, there are three internationally recognized forest certification organizations: the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). These organizations assess forestry operations against standards for sustainable forest management, and complements Canada’s rigorous forest management laws and regulations.
Though the recycling of paper-based packaging, renewable resources are protected contributing to the sustainable management of Canada’s forests.
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