Harvesting Practices: Managing Canada's Forests

In Canada, silvicultural practices must address ecological issues as well as timber production.

  • Companies that harvest Canada's public forests must regenerate them to reflect the original natural diversity.
  • Canada's diverse forests are generally managed under one or a blend of three silvicultural systems, clearcutting being the most common.

A silviculture system covers all management activities related to growing forests - from early planning through harvesting, replanting and tending the new forest. Forest managers consider a variety of ecological, economic and social factors when choosing a silviculture system.

The silvicultural systems most commonly used in Canada are the clearcut, the shelterwood and the single tree selection systems. The clearcut and shelterwood systems are used to manage even-aged forests, which are defined by relatively small age differences between individual trees. The selection system is used to manage uneven-aged stands, which means the forest has trees in various stages of development. It is appropriate for species that thrive in shade.

Natural Disturbances

The three globally recognized certification standards used in Canada - CSA, FSC and SFI - all allow clearcutting as an acceptable harvesting method when used appropriately.

Certification standards used in Canada:

Forest Certification

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Canadian Council of Forest Ministers