Ontario’s forests

Ontario has 70.5 million hectares of forest. This represents:

  • 66% of Ontario
  • 2% of the world’s forests
  • 20% of Canada’s forests

Read more about Ontario’s forests in the Forest Resources of Ontario or use this interactive summary of the area of land and water, forest types and tree species across Ontario.

Forest data

Each year, forest managers report on the activities they conduct under approved forest management plans. This information is consolidated into the following facts and figures for Ontario’s Managed Forest. The extent of the Managed Forest is described below.

Not all statistics are updated to the same year because of the variation in data collection schedules. Each statistic shows when it was updated, in most cases the data is for a fiscal year. For example, 2019 represents April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020.

Managed Forests

Ontario’s public forests are sustainably managed under Ontario’s forest policy framework.

The Managed Forest is an area in the middle of the province where forest management occurs on public land. It has a large quantity of productive forest that is suitable for timber production.

It spans from Kemptville in the south east to Pikangikum in the north west and includes parts of the Boreal Forest and the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest, encompassing:

  • 46 million hectares of land and water
  • 27.8 million hectares of public forest
  • 80% productive forests

The Managed Forest is divided into administrative areas known as management units. They range in size from 300,000 to 3.6 million hectares. 

Managed Forest and management units 2021

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Map showing the Managed Forest and management units within the province.

 

 

 

Forest management plans are prepared and approved for each management unit. The plans determine:

  • how much can be harvested
  • where roads can be built
  • how the forest will be regenerated

There are many uses and users of Ontario’s public forests. All forest uses and users are considered when we develop objectives and long-term management direction, and in planning forest operations.

Natural forest disturbances

Natural disturbances occur throughout the life cycle of a forest. A natural forest disturbance is when trees are damaged or killed from:

  • wildland fire
  • insects
  • disease
  • weather

In 2021:

  • 3.3 million hectares of forest area was affected by natural disturbances
  • 186,047 hectares of forest area was lost to mortality from natural disturbances
  • 19.0 million cubic metres of wood volume was lost to natural disturbance mortality
  • 18.2 million cubic metres of wood volume was lost to wildfire
  • 679,131 cubic metres of wood volume was lost to insects and disease
  • 47,471 cubic metres of wood volume was lost to weather events

Find out more with these interactive disturbance charts or download the disturbance data.

Read the annual Forest health conditions report for more on specific forest pests, diseases and severe weather.

Find out more about how we manage forest fires.

Forest harvesting

Through sustainable harvesting, public forests support a forest industry that provides jobs and forest products. About 0.2% of Ontario’s forest is harvested annually.

In 2020:

  • 125,317 hectares of forest area was harvested. This represents 47% of the approved area that was available to harvest

In 2021:

  • 12.6 million cubic metres of wood volume was harvested
  • $278.7 million was generated in timber charges (stumpage) for the wood harvested
  • 40% of the harvested wood was spruce
  • 27% of the harvested wood was jack pine
  • 16% of the harvested wood was poplar
  • 69% of the harvested wood went to the sawmill product sector
  • 13% of the harvested wood went to the pulp product sector
  • 11% of the harvested wood went to the composite product sector

Find out more with these interactive harvest charts or download harvest area data or volume data.

Read more about:

Forest renewal

A forest that has been harvested remains a forest. There is no change in land use.

Harvested forests are regenerated (renewed) to be similar to a natural unmanaged forest and to meet long term management goals.

In 2020:

  • 117,850 hectares of forest area was regenerated
  • 70,199 hectares of forest area was renewed through natural regeneration
  • 47,651 hectares of forest area was renewed through assisted regeneration such as planting and seeding
  • 35,933 hectares of forest area was site prepared
  • 46,090 hectares of forest area was tended
  • 62.4 million trees were planted
  • 126.2 million seeds were dispersed
  • $58.9 million was spent on forest renewal activities

Find out more with these interactive renewal charts or download renewal data.

Read more about:

Forest industry

Forest industry operates under the requirements of Ontario’s forest policy framework to conserve the ecological processes and biological diversity of our forests, while providing economic opportunities.

In Ontario the forest industry generated:

  • $4.3 billion in gross domestic product in 2020
  • $18.0 billion in revenue in 2020
  • $7.5 billion in exports in 2021
  • 49,500 direct forest industry jobs in 2021

Find out more with this interactive industry data or download stumpage data.

Monitoring and oversight

Monitoring and oversight are important components of Ontario’s forest policy framework.

We monitor and audit forest management operations to assess compliance and evaluate progress and results.

In 2020:

  • 134,339 hectares of regenerating forest area was surveyed
  • 85% of the area surveyed was established and met regeneration standards (previously called free-to-grow)
  • 56% of the area surveyed met the target forest type

In 2021:

  • 1,332 inspections were conducted on forest operations
  • 93% of inspections showed operations were in compliance
  • 4 independent forest audits were conducted
  • 100% of the audits showed forests were managed in compliance
  • 74% of management units were certified to an international standard

Find out more using these interactive monitoring and compliance charts. Download established area data or compliance data.

Read more about how we: