Generally speaking, Quebec’s ecosystems are being affected by climate change, and forest ecosystems are no exception. Quebec contains approximately 905,800 km2 of forestland, 92% of which lies in the public domain. The government therefore plays an important role in the forests of the province. The forestry industry is an important economic engine in Quebec:
In 2019, exports in this sector totalled $9,610M (1.6% of GDP) and provided approximately 59,130 jobs in the province. The majority of harvested timber comes from public forests (22,596,190 m3 in 2019), with privately-owned woodlands contributing 6,422,200 m3 the same year.
Some of Quebec’s forestland is private, meaning it lies on property owned by different landowners. However, the majority of forests are public, meaning they are managed by the Government of Quebec. Some public forests lie within protected areas, which represent 9.16% of all land in Quebec. Industrial activities are prohibited in these zones, which help maintain areas where biodiversity is intact.
Forests represent an economic resource while at the same time providing habitat for biodiversity. They also help regulate the climate, in addition to offering recreational, social and cultural benefits. Additionally, they act as carbon sinks to help offset climate change.
Although all forest regions are impacted by climate change, those lying in southern Quebec face further pressure from human activities, and have been for decades.
Definition | Carbon sink
A carbon sink is a reservoir that absorbs and retains CO2, one of the greenhouse gases responsible for climate change. By removing this gas from the atmosphere, a carbon sink is an effective measure for mitigating climate change.