Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
July 2005

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Forestry in Canada


[This article was written in the 1930's and was publihed in 1948. For the precise citation, see the end of the document.]

Forestry. The forest area of Canada is nearly one-third of the total land area, and is nearly five times as large as the area under agricultural cultivation. Of this more than one-third carries timber of commercial value. This merchantable timber, however, is subject to destruction by various agencies-by forest fires, by epidemics of insects and fungous diseases, and by uneconomic methods of lumbering. In the early period of Canadian development, indeed, trees were regarded as the natural enemy of the agriculturist, and were ruthlessly cut down and burned. During the nineteenth century, consequently, little was done to conserve this vast source of Canadian wealth. It was only toward the end of the century that the necessity of protecting the forests of Canada came to be recognized.


One of the first signs of public interest in the care and protection of the forests of North America was the American Forestry Congress held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in April, 1882. To this meeting Canada dent several delegates; and in August, 1882, a session of the Forestry Congress was held in Montreal. The result was the appointment in Ontario in 1883 of a clerk of forestry by the provincial government; and since that time practically all the provincial governments in Canada have established forestry services. In 1907 the University of Toronto inaugurated a faculty of forestry, for the training of foresters, under B. E. Fernow, who had been for twenty years chief forester of the United States ; and since that time other schools for foresters have been established. A Forest School was added to the University of New Brunswick at Fredericton in 1908, and this school has played an important part in forestry education in Canada since that time. In 1910 a School of Forestry was founded by the government of Quebec, which was later amalgamated with the School of Surveying, and is now known as I'Ecole d'Arpentage et de Génie Forestier, which is affiliated with Laval University at Quebec. In 1922 a Papermaking School was also established at Three Rivers, Quebec, and a Forest Ranger School at Berthierville, Quebec. Lastly, in 1921, a department of forestry was inaugurated in the University of British Columbia, at Vancouver . This department has the advantage of having in connection with it the Dominion Forest Products Laboratory at Vancouver .


The problem of forest administration has been complicated by the fact that in some parts of Canada large forest areas have been alienated to private ownership. In Prince Edward Island all the forest land is in private hands; in Nova Scotia three-fourths, and in New Brunswick one-half, of the forest area is privately owned. In the other provinces, approximately 10 per cent. of the forest area has been alienated; but in these provinces, the general policy has been to dispose of the timber by means of licences to cut, rather than to sell timber land outright. The regulations governing lumbering licences vary in the different provinces; but they are on the whole granted on terms conducive to scientific forestry. The national parks of Canada, as well as the Indian reserves, are forest preserves.


Consult Forest facts (Ottawa, Department of the Interior, 1934), and B. E. Fernow, A brief history of forestry (3rd. ed., Toronto, 1913). See also Lumbering.

Source  : W. Stewart WALLACE, ed., The Encyclopedia of Canada , Vol. II, Toronto , University Associates of Canada , 1948, 411p., pp. 361-362.



© 2005 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College