The boreal forest has fed, clothed and housed humans for thousands of years. Today, it continues to be a source for people’s livelihood through direct employment – in harvesting and regenerating forests, and in manufacturing operations – and indirect employment; the grocery stores, schools, hospitals and thousands of other businesses and organizations that depend upon boreal communities.
Boreal Forest Economic Facts
- More than 233,800 Canadians are directly employed in forestry jobs, and more than 600,000 Canadians rely on the industry for their livelihoods.
- The forestry sector’s contribution to Canada’s GDP was $24 billion dollars CDN in 2012, or nearly 2 percent of the entire Canadian GDP (and 12 percent of Canada’s manufacturing GDP).
- Over 800 First Nations communities are located in Canada’s boreal region, and an estimated 17,000 First Nations people in Canada make their living in the forest products industry.
- The average wage of a forest products industry employee is $52,673, or 16 percent above the national Canadian average. The Canadian forest products industry pays roughly $9 billion in wages annually.
- The industry is a vital contributor to trade between Canada and the United States — the U.S. alone counts for 65 percent of Canada’s wood and paper product exports for use in a range of products, from printing paper to building materials to packaging to labels and advertising.
Preserving these communities and their way of life is a major reason why the industry has invested so heavily in science-based conservation of forests to ensure environmental, social and economic sustainability.