Canadian Forest Service Publications

A new approach for mapping forest management areas in Canada. 2019. Stinson,G., Thandi, G., Aitkin, D., Bailey, C., Boyd, J., Colley, M., Fraser, C., Gelhorn, L., Groenewegen, L., Hogg, A., Kapron, J., Leboeuf, A., Makar,M., Montigny, M., Pittman, B., Price, K., Salkeld, T., Smith,L., Viveiros,A., Wilson, D. The Forestry Chronicle, 95(02): 101-112.

Year: 2019

Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 39934

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.5558/tfc2019-017

† This site may require a fee

Mark record


Canada’s forests have frequently been characterized using binary classifications such as intact/non-intact or managed/unmanaged. A more nuanced classification approach is needed to better understand the geography of forest management in Canada. The best way to represent Canada’s complex diversity of forest management regimes with a simple classification is to categorize according to ownership, protection status and tenure. We gathered federal, provincial and territorial geospatial datasets and used a binary decision tree approach in GIS to classify land into nine classes: (i) Protected, (ii) Restricted, (iii) Federal Reserve, (iv) Indian Reserve, (v) Treaty/Settlement, (vi) Private, (vii) Long-Term Tenure, (viii) Short-Term Tenure, and (ix) Other. These classes are broad; management intensity may vary considerably within classes. Not all forests in Long-Term Tenure or Short-Term Tenure areas are available for timber supply. Government regulations establish considerable reserve areas within forest management units where harvesting is not permitted. The resulting map dataset is current to 2017 and will need to be updated as land designations change.

Plain Language Summary

This publication describes a new approach for mapping forest management areas in Canada. Canada’s forests have frequently been characterized using over-simplified classifications such as intact/non-intact, managed/unmanaged or protection/production. Simplistic maps can be informative, but they do not provide enough information to understand where the forest is being managed, by whom and for what objectives. Simplistically treating all non-intact forests as being equal, for example, can lead to the development of policies that fail to encourage sustainable forest management. This publication describes how a new approach to mapping the managed forest was developed using ownership, tenure and protection status as the basis for classification. The mapping process is described in detail for transparency. This will help users make well-informed use of the dataset and engage practitioners in the development of further refinements for future versions. The publication will improve understanding of where forests in Canada are managed, by whom and for what objectives. The dataset will be a useful input for national forest science and policy analyses.