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, 2021 represents April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.

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 southeast to Pikangikum in the northwest 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 2023

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:

  • forest fire
  • insects
  • disease
  • weather

In 2022 approximately:

  • 2.4 million hectares of forest was affected by natural disturbances
  • 18,000 hectares of forest was lost to mortality from natural disturbances
  • 1.3 million cubic metres of wood was lost to mortality from natural disturbance including:
    • 225,000 cubic metres lost to wildfire
    • 511,000 cubic metres lost to insects and disease
    • 524,000 cubic metres 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 2021 approximately:

  • 120,000 hectares of forest was harvested (this represents 42% of the approved area that was available to harvest)
  • 13.4 million cubic metres of wood was harvested
  • $287.9 million in timber charges (stumpage) for the wood harvested
  • 41% of the harvested wood was spruce
  • 27% of the harvested wood was jack pine
  • 16% of the harvested wood was poplar
  • 70% 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.

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Forest renewal

Harvested forests are renewed (reforested) using tree planting, seeding, or natural regeneration. A forest that was harvested remains a forest. There is no change in land use.

In 2021 approximately:

  • 156,000 hectares of forest was renewed
  • 88,000 hectares was renewed with natural regeneration
  • 68,000 hectares was renewed with assisted regeneration like planting and seeding
  • 30,000 hectares of forest was site prepared
  • 43,000 hectares of forest was tended
  • 71.0 million trees were planted
  • 248.8 million seeds were dispersed
  • $57.7 million was spent on forest renewal activities

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

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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 generates:

  • $4.4 billion in gross domestic product (2021)
  • $20.9 billion in revenue (2021)
  • $8.2 billion in exports (2022)
  • 47,400 direct forest industry jobs (2022)

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

Monitoring and oversight

Oversight is a key component of Ontario’s forest policy framework. We monitor and audit forest management operations to check compliance and evaluate progress.

In 2021 approximately:

  • 88,000 hectares of regenerating forest area was surveyed
  • 90% of the area surveyed was established (met regeneration standards)
  • 2,000 inspections were conducted on forest operations
  • 96% of inspections showed operations were in compliance

In 2022:

  • 4 independent forest audits were conducted
  • 100% of 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: