Hands up if you thought the answer was the forestry and pulp and paper industries! Most Canadians would probably agree with you. But you would be wrong.
The largest consumer, by far, of Canada’s commercial forest in 2010, the latest year for which data are available, were insects and bugs, primarily the mountain pine beetle. These guys chomped their way through 12.7 million hectares of commercial forest.
That’s an incredible 18 times more than the area that was harvested by the entire lumber and pulp and paper industries (0.7 million hectares). Forest fires consumed 2.6 million hectares (almost four times the harvest). Here’s what it looks like in graphic form:
The State of Canada’s Forests, Annual Report, 2012, Natural Resources Canada, page 11.Harvest area (0.7 million hectares); Fire burned (2.6 million hectares); Defoliated by insects and beetle-killed trees (12.7 million hectares).