Canadian Forest Service Publications

Sustainable management of Canada’s boreal forests: Progress and prospects. 2006. Burton, P.J.; Messier, C.; Adamowicz, W.L.; Kuuluvainon, T. EcoScience 13(2): 234-248.

Year: 2006

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28135

Language: English

Availability: PDF (download)

Mark record


The last decade of innovation in forest management in Canada is reviewed. Institutions such as the Sustainable Forest Management Network and Canada’s Model Forest Program have attempted to develop a better understanding of ecological disturbance patterns and processes. Additional research has explored socio-economic dimensions of sustainable forestry, such as ways to incorporate the aspirations of indigenous peoples, build community capacity, and facilitate forest certification. The most promising innovations tend to have both environmental benefits (sustaining non-timber values) and economic benefits (reducing costs and sustaining future timber values), making their implementation more likely. Some on-the-ground examples of “win-win” solutions at stand and landscape levels in Canada’s boreal forests include: patch retention in conjunction with the creation of large cutblocks; protection of advance regeneration during timber harvesting; promotion and prediction of natural regeneration; various approaches to mixedwood (broadleaf and conifer) management; avoidance of unnecessary brush control; extended rotations and selection management for some tree species and stand types; promoting the flow of fibre to its highest value uses; and zoning in support of intensive silviculture, thereby potentially reducing harvesting pressures from lands with high conservation value. More closely emulating natural patterns of forest disturbance and forest recovery can help sustain biodiversity and ecosystem services, but may not generate all values desired from managed forests. Further research is needed to calibrate indicators of ecological sustainability. Institutional and policy innovation must also be evaluated in the context of adaptive management to improve the effectiveness of forestry practices and nurture the social license for the utilization and management of public forests.