“The earth is what we all have in common!”
At the UN Climate Change conference, India made a net-zero commitment by 2070 while Canada aims to achieve that by 2050 despite its strictest forestry laws and regulations. In fact, Canada’s forest sector has also been one of the few who committed to the Kyoto protocol in the late 1990s.
Contrary to popular belief, harvesting forests is essential to keep forests healthy. Ageing forests periodically become less efficient in taking in carbon dioxide; whereas decaying forests release stored carbon slowly in the atmosphere as they degrade. Thus, reforestation and sustainable forestry ensure that the carbon cycle continues through healthy forests that store carbon.
Looking at the scenario in India, our forests are protected and the country ranks 3rd among the top 10 countries that have gained forest cover in the last decade. Not just that, India has also managed to increase its forest covered area to 24.56%, i.e., around 807,000 sq. kms in 2019. India is also the second most populous nation in the world with a fast-paced economy, thus increasing demand for its resources, making it fibre dependent on imported wood to meet its needs.
In order to live up to the commitment made, India will ensure that the wood imported is certified and from sustainably managed forests. Wood is a carbon-negative multi-purpose material whose product life cycle helps reduce the impact of climate change. Wood’s carbon locking capability makes it an eco-friendlier choice when compared with non-renewable materials with high carbon footprint such as steel or concrete.
At Canadian Wood, we believe that the use of wood can take out more carbon from the environment and deliver reduced carbon emissions. A good practice can be building with wood instead of extensive non-renewable materials (such as steel and concrete) that tend to maximise the emissions. The best way to avoid that can be by maximising its reuse and recycling. Lately, there has been an increasing recognition of benefits of wood products sourced from sustainably managed forests in tandem with other climate change mitigation initiatives.
Canada is home to about 9% of the world’s total forest cover, over 347m hectares of forest, and boasts of 36% of the world’s independent, third-party audited and certified forests. This positions Canada as a respected, long-term, and sustainable source for forest products for fibre deficit nations such as India. Not only that, it also contributes to accelerate the world’s collective fight against climate change.
Canada’s British Columbia is the world’s largest producer of softwood lumber and Canada’ second largest producer of pulp and paper products. About 50% of Canada’s wood exports are from British Columbia (BC). BC also contributes over $1.1 billion to public revenue. Its value-added manufacturers make a variety of mass timber and next-gen lumber products. Apart from the wood production, BC is also home to leading architects, consultants, and engineers who drive the innovative use of wood in buildings and infrastructure. As a result, their services are also high in demand worldwide.
Just 23% of BC forests are available for harvesting, out of which only 0.2% is allowed to be harvested annually. BC’s approach to sustainable forestry focuses on ‘Forests Forever’. Its forest industry works hard to ensure that the forests flourish and remain healthy forever. BC’s diverse forests are reforested promptly using a mixture of planted native tree species in combination with natural regeneration. This approach has garnered international recognition for British Columbia as a global leader in sustainable forest management.
Sustainable forest management is important not only to mitigate climate change but also to contribute to achieve sustainable development goals. In addition to this, certification is a voluntary and market-based mechanism aiming at sustainability. Globally, there are 525 million hectares (11%) of certified forests. A certification system also gives us an assurance of sustainability from source to consumers through a third-party verification covering the entire supply chain, including the forest, the processing, and the retail system.
To know more about how India is contributing to climate change with sustainable forestry practises and more information on the certifications, watch our Canadian Wood webinar on “Sustainable Forestry, Certification & Climate Change”.