BC Forest Facts
Age of Trees
Today, BC has more forests that are over a century old than it did 40 years ago – 25 million hectares (62 million acres) compared to 18 million hectares (44 million acres). And there are 13 million hectares (32 million acres) of forests older than 160 years, compared to only 10 million hectares (25 million acres) four decades ago (based on MoF comparison with 1957 inventory).
Before 1900, fires burned an average of 500,000 hectares (1.2 million acres) of forest per year. Currently, due to fire control efforts, fires burn an average of 30,000 hectares (74,000 acres) of forest per year. Logging currently occurs on about 190,000 hectares (470,000 acres) per year. The net result is an overall decrease in area disturbed, which has allowed many forests to survive to older ages.
In eight years, BC has doubled its protected areas to 13.8 percent of the province – one of the highest percentages in North America.
BC’s protected areas are larger than all of the forest area ever logged in the forest. BC’s protected areas total 11.7 million hectares (29 million acres). A total of about 9.4 million hectares (23.2 million acres) of the province’s forested area has been logged over time (5.6 million hectares or 13.8 million acres are forests).
BC’s protected areas size comparisons:
- Same size as the Cuba
- The same size as either the United Kingdom or Romania
- Three times the size of Switzerland
- Same size as Louisiana or Pennsylvania
- Larger than the size of Kansas
- 2/3 the size of Washington State
Amount of Trees
BC is 95 million hectares (235 million acres) in size (about double the size of California). Almost 64% of the province – about 60.3 million hectares (149 million acres) – is forested.
Less than one-third of one percent of BC’s forest land is harvested annually.
Only 42% (25 million hectares or 62 million acres) of BC’s provincially owned forests are available for logging.
58% percent of BC’s forests (35 million hectares or 86 million acres) will remain as original forests. How large is that? Almost as large as California (which is 100 million acres) and considerably larger than Nevada (70.3 million acres).
Original forests are areas that have never been logged or reforested. Original forests include parks; protected areas; areas unsuitable for logging; reserves around streams, lakes, and wetlands; and environmentally sensitive areas.
There are more forests growing in North America today than on the first Earth Day in 1973 (Canadian Wood Council).