Did you know that both the U.S. and Canada celebrate the founding of our countries around the same time every year? Canada Day is celebrated on July first, just before Independence Day is celebrated in the U.S. on July fourth.
Both countries share a past in which forests played a critical role, beginning with the earliest settlers. Timber was used to make homes, protect livestock, establish towns, build ships and grow international trade. The production of ship masts, from white pine, for export was one of the first North American industries.
In fact, the white pine has been called the tree that built America. Pine was also the major species of Canada’s lumber trade for decades, exported to build the canals and railways that connected cities and towns throughout North America.
Today, in the U.S. almost 900,000 people work in the forest sector and they contribute almost $240 billion to the economy. In Canada, the forest sector creates more jobs and contributes more to the balance of trade for every dollar of value added than either the minerals and metals sector or the energy sector. Almost 225,000 people work in the Canadian forest sector with another 670,000 people working in sectors indirectly related to forestry.
Aside from the enormous economic benefits, Canadians and Americans also still rely on forests to provide food, shelter, and many products we use every day. Forests clean the air we breathe and the water we drink, and we couldn’t survive without them. Forests will continue to fulfill our needs as long as they are managed sustainably.