To protect the forests of Canada, human industrial activity both inside and outside the forests must be carefully regulated. Large reserves must be set aside so that the ecological integrity of the forest can be maintained. Large-scale industrial activity that is likely to have a negative impact on the environment needs to be prevented. Because over 90 percent of Canadian forest land is publicly owned, forest management plans and operations must meet the many broad needs and goals of all Canadians.
In February of 2006, the Government of British Columbia announced a series of new protected areas in British Columbia’s temperate rainforests. The announcement also included promises to change logging practices and planning. The protection of the temperate rainforest is a first step, but much remains to be done to ensure that this rare and endangered ecosystem is a world treasure of biodiversity for generations to come.
The current practice of replacing complex forests with monoculture must end. Renewal efforts should maintain the natural diversity, productivity and structure of the forest landscape and ecosystems. Tree planting will continue to be important for ensuring prompt renewal, for reforesting difficult sites or for intensive management to meet specific needs for wood supply. Better methods of encouraging natural regeneration in selected areas will ensure that those areas reflect their inherent diversity and productivity, and may help to control costs. Reforestation will also contribute to removing carbon from the atmosphere, a process known as carbon sequestration.
Adopting sustainable development and management practices in the forests of Canada is perhaps the most significant solution. In order to conserve what remains of many forests around the world, industrial logging methods need to be replaced with more ecologically responsible and sustainable methods that consider all the values of a forest.
Forest certification is a method aimed at promoting sustainable forest management practices. It is a voluntary process which involve forestry operations being audited by an independent third party. If they are seen to reach a level of “good” forestry management practices they are issued a certificate by the Forest Stewardship Council in Canada. Successful certification allows companies to claim that their products come from sustainably managed forests.
In Canada, as of April 2001, 44 million hectares, or 37 percent, of Canada's 119 million hectares of managed forest land, had been certified under one or more of the four main certifications systems currently in use in Canada. This certification process while not stopping the forestry industry attempts to encourage better, more sustainable management.
There is no single solution to protecting forests in Canada or in other parts of the world. It must, however, be recognised that unsustainable forestry practices and pressure from development and exploration needs to be managed and controlled to help maintain these forest ecosystems.