Is there a deforestation problem in Quebec?



There is no deforestation in Quebec’s public forests. Deforestation is contrary to Quebec’s forest regime. It is important not to confuse logging with deforestation: the change to the forest cover caused by logging is only temporary, and the forest will regrow quickly because the land’s forestry vocation is protected and maintained. All logged areas must be regenerated. In Quebec, deforestation occurs in some urban areas, where woodlands are converted into residential developments or industrial parks. In these cases, the forest will not regenerate.



How is caribou survival affected by logging and the duty to preserve biodiversity?


The woodland caribou is a vulnerable species under Québec’s Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species. Knowledge of the woodland caribou has developed significantly in recent years. For example, we now know more about the impact of land development in general and forest management in particular on caribou habitats. This information also allows us to suggest adjustments to forest management practices in order to minimize their impacts on the woodland caribou. In April 2016, for example, Québec published its Action Plan for Woodland Caribou Habitat Management, with a view to implementing a long-term habitat management strategy. The Action Plan proposes a weighted approach in which most of the protection effort focuses on key habitat elements, where the chance of success is greatest. Significant steps have already been taken, including a change to the northern harvestable forest boundary and the creation of large protected areas for caribou. Other measures are currently being introduced, such as a caribou population monitoring program and the use of forest management methods adjusted to woodland caribou habitats.


What happens to the CO2 absorbed by a tree when it is harvested?


As long as carbon is stored in wood, it is not in the atmosphere. This is positive for the environment. At the end of its life, the tree dies and decomposes, releasing all the carbon it has stored into the atmosphere. In doing so, it becomes a source of carbon emission and not a carbon sink, so the benefit is cancelled out. However, a mature tree that is processed into a durable material continues to store carbon over time. In this case, the benefit to the environment is maintained.


How does Quebec’s forest compare to forests worldwide?


Quebec’s forest often compares favourably to the world’s forests in many respects. First, it is public and available for a wide variety of social uses; it retains its biodiversity thanks to government regulations; its scale has been preserved and it still covers half of Québec’s total area; and to this day, many regional communities earn a living from the forest. There are many publications that present the comparison in easy-to-understand terms :


Does clear-cutting still take place in Quebec’s public forests?


No, there has been no clear-cutting in Quebec since 1995. It has been replaced by cutting with protection of regeneration and soils (CPRS). In both types of cutting, all adult trees are harvested in mature forests composed of a single species. However, there is a major difference in the harvesting techniques used; for example, in CPRS, machinery movements are restricted to protect established saplings. For additional information, see Cutting with protection of regeneration and soils (CPRS).


Do forestry activities have an impact on the environment?


Yes, some forestry activities, because of their nature, can substantially change the environment. They are studied carefully to see whether they produce negative effects and, if so, to identify remedial actions. For a brief overview of these actions, see:

Les effets des activités forestières sur l’environnement
(link available in French only).


I would like to work in the forest in Quebec. Where should I go for information?


There are many companies that work in the forest, and they are all responsible for hiring their own personnel. Here are some websites that may help you in your search :


Have forestry practices evolved over time?


The Sustainable Forest Development Act, which came into force on April 1 2013, introduced a number of important changes. For example:

  • The Department is now responsible for
    planning forest management
    in Quebec’s public forests.
  • The Act provides for participatory management through local integrated land and resource management panels, where the interests and concerns of the individuals and organizations involved in forest management activities are heard and taken into account.
  • Individuals and organizations can now buy wood from the public forest through auctions conducted by the Bureau de mise en marché des bois;
  • Québec has moved toward ecosystem-based management
    by reducing the differences between the forest under management and the natural forest.


We use cookies on our website to provide you with the most relevant experience by remembering your preferences and repeat visits. By clicking “Accept”, you consent to the use of ALL cookies.