Ecosystem-Based Sustainable Forestry & Climate Change

West Fraser is committed to climate-smart forestry: growing forests absorb large amounts of CO2

  • Renewal: We reforest where we harvest, planting more than we take. 63.4 million native tree seedlings planted in 2019 in Canada.
  • Reforestation: 99.2% of sites meet legal reforestation milestones within 5 years
  • Responsible timber sourcing: 100% certified supply chain
    • All timber from any origin is traced to ensure it comes from responsible, legal sources – read more about chain-of-custody certification

Forestry for Forests: More About Sustainable Forest management

Healthy, abundant forests sequester more carbon per unit area than almost any other type of land cover. West Fraser manages forests with the goal of ensuring these forests remain resilient and vibrant so that they will continue to provide environmental, social, and economic benefits for society and for mitigating and adapting to climate change.

A changing climate has many effects on the health and growth of forests and their capacity for storing carbon. It also affects the frequency and severity of natural disturbances, including insects, disease, droughts, floods, and wildfires. Climate change effects on tree species will be ongoing, cumulative, and interactive. Active forest management is increasingly credited for its vital role in mitigating and adapting to a changing climate.

From the Government of Canada:  Sustainable forest management is managing the forest to maintain an ecologically sustainable and socially desired balance of values. Forests in Canada are managed for a variety of economic, ecological, and social benefits for both current and future generations. Canadian protected forest areas are growing. Most forest cover loss characterized as temporary due primarily to natural disturbances, such as fire and insects. Canadian reporting of forest carbon emissions separates the effect of human and natural disturbances on forests. Canada’s GHG reporting to the IPCC shows forests managed for timber production are a carbon sink. Human activities in Canada’s managed forests accounted for removals of about 8 Mt CO2e in 2018, while large-scale natural disturbances accounted for emissions of about 251 Mt CO2e, resulting in net emissions of 243 Mt CO2e.

Our goal is that all the values currently in a forest (such as recreation, biodiversity, habitat protection, and clean water) will also be there for future generations to use. Like a smart long-term investment, good forest management is about protecting the balance and withdrawing only interest. The forest is the balance, and forest growth each year is the interest. After accounting for natural disturbances (like wildfires), and conservation measures to support diverse forest values, we harvest the available annual growth.

Where we manage forestland, our operations are subject to regulation by federal, provincial, state, and local environmental authorities. These regulations include industry-specific environmental regulations relating to air emissions and pollutants, wastewater (effluent) discharges, solid waste, landfill operations, forestry practices, site remediation and the protection of endangered species and critical habitat.