Canada’s forests hold the world’s largest biomass reserves, the basis for making renewable bioenergy, biomaterials and other bioproducts. Leveraging this renewable resource will help spur innovation, investment, research and partnerships. The Canadian Council of Forest Ministers has recently supported a comprehensive approach for increasing and accelerating bio-based activities in its Forest Bioeconomy Framework for Canada at their annual meeting. The Framework is a non-binding commitment among CCFM partners and specific pathways may be endorsed, adopted and mobilized by jurisdictions accordingly.
To take immediate action in advancing Canada’s forest bioeconomy, the Council identified short-term priority areas. Through collaborative efforts, federal, provincial and territorial governments will focus on stimulating the supply of forest bioproducts through improved standards and enhanced data collection and increasing demand for biomass through outreach and effective regulations.
The Council also reaffirmed that federal, provincial and territorial governments have a strong leadership role to play in catalyzing new opportunities through collaboration, engagement and mobilization. While Canada’s forest bioeconomy is supported by robust sustainable forest management practices backed by sound forest science, the CCFM recognizes that it also requires investment to diversify this important Canadian industry, bring green jobs to rural communities and youth, and help foster greater collaboration with Indigenous peoples. These issues are targeted by the framework’s four pillars: Communities and Relationships; Supply of Forest Resources and Advanced Bioproducts; Demand for Advanced Forest Bioproducts and Services; and Support for Innovation.
More and more, Canadians are seeking clean technologies, renewable energy sources and bio-based manufactured products that limit or reduce carbon output while preserving biodiversity. Canada’s forest bioeconomy represents the future, providing innovative low carbon solutions without significantly disrupting the daily activities of Canadians. It includes forest and biomass supply chain management, building design, community resilience, consumer behaviours, and the sustainable production of ecological goods and services from Canada’s forests. A forest bioeconomy will maintain and enhance the role that forests have played in the cultures, shared heritage and economic future of Canadians.
“The bioeconomy – said Jim Carr, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources – presents Canada with tremendous opportunity to create more jobs, develop new supply chains and build a new industry. The Framework endorsed lays the groundwork for Canada to achieve this potential.”