Canada’s forest products industry is booming but faces a long-term threat from climate change, according to a new federal report tabled in the House of Commons.
The industry, while enjoying thriving and growing markets in Asia and a rebound in U.S. housing construction, could see its long-term supplies jeopardized, according to 2013 edition of Natural Resources Canada’s annual report, The State of Canada’s Forests.
“Canada’s forests are undergoing significant changes as a result of a changing climate, including more frequent fire, drought, and disease and insect attacks,” the report states.
“This increase in disturbances … could impact Canada’s supply of quality fiber in the long run, posing some risks to both industry transformation and sector competitiveness. Innovative, science-based policy solutions, mitigation strategies and forest management approaches will therefore be needed to help decision-makers at every level navigate the way forward.”
Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver, in a statement, focused on the more immediate-term strength of the forestry sector. “This year’s report confirms that Canada’s forest sector is emerging from the economic downturn more diversified and energized than ever before. Canada’s forest sector is providing exciting new products for the domestic and international markets, providing jobs for 234,000 Canadian workers and contributing $19 billion to our nation’s economy,” he said.