Canadian Forest Service Publications

Socio-economic status of boreal communities in Canada. 2007. Patriquin, M.N.; Parkins, J.R.; Stedman, R.C. Forestry 80(3): 279-291.

Year: 2007

Available from: Northern Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 27340

Language: English

Abstract

The boreal forest region contains nearly 20 per cent of the world's forest resources. Canada contains 30 per cent of the world's boreal forest and the future of Canada's boreal region has been the subject of spirited debate, with some advocating more extensive and intensive harvest, while others argue for increased protection. Since the boreal region lags behind Canada as a whole on most indicators of socio-economic status, arguments for expanded harvest and for increased protection invoke the need to sustain human communities. To provide context for these discussions, we use Census of Canada data to examine the relationship between forest dependence and socio-economic status in the boreal region, and whether this relationship has changed over time. Controlling for other forms of economic development and place-specific characteristics, we find mixed results of forest dependence on socio-economic status. The forest industry plays a relatively small role in direct employment and labour income. Forest dependence is associated with increased income (especially in the lumber and pulp sectors), but relatively unstable employment. Examining the trend data, the forest industry appeared to have the greatest positive impact on socio-economic status in 1996, with a subsequent decline in 2001. Results signal a need for multi-faceted policy development associated with intensive management zones for industrial expansion and additional protected areas to support, in part, the maintenance of traditional activities such as trapping and fishing.