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Silviculture

Silviculture is the branch of FORESTRY that deals with establishing, caring for and reproducing stands of trees for a variety of forest uses including wildlife habitat, timber production and outdoor recreation.

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Soil

Soil is the thin, fragile surface layer of Earth. It is a dynamic, loose and porous body of variable thickness (between a few centimetres and a few metres). Soil is formed by continuous transformations of rock or deposit through physical, chemical and biological processes. It is one of the two main components of Earth — the other being oceans — in which life is particularly active. Soil is the source and site of many human activities, and human life greatly depends on it. In Canada, agricultural, environmental and natural-resource scientists are at the forefront of research on soil.

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Solar Energy

The energy contained in sunlight is the source of life on Earth. Humans can harness it to generate power for our activities without producing harmful pollutants. There are many methods of converting solar energy into more readily usable forms of energy such as heat or electricity. The technologies we use to convert solar energy have a relatively small impact on the environment. However, they each have disadvantages that have kept them from being widely adopted.

In Canada, the use of solar energy to generate electricity and heat is growing quickly and is helping reduce pollution related to energy production. Despite Canada’s cold climate and high latitudes (which get less direct sunlight than mid-latitudes), solar power technologies are used in many places, from household rooftops to large power plants. The Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) expects solar power to make up 3 per cent of Canada’s total electricity generation capacity by 2040.

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Tidal Energy

Tidal energy is a largely untapped, renewable energy source based largely on lunar gravitation. While the potential of tidal hydroelectricity has long been recognized, compared to river dams, tidal power projects are expensive because massive structures must be built in difficult saltwater environments.

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Forestry Education

Throughout the late 1980s and the 1990s, there was a tremendous evolution of FORESTRY in Canada and around the world. Forestry became increasingly important for both the ECONOMY and the ENVIRONMENT, and the practice of forestry became more complex.

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Soil Science

Soil science is the science that deals with soils as a natural resource. Studies focus on soil formation, classification and mapping, and the physical, chemical and biological properties and fertility of soils as such and in relation to their management for crop production.

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Zinc

Zinc (Zn) is a bluish-white metal of low to intermediate hardness that melts at 419°C and is estimated to comprise about 0.013% of the earth's crust. Zinc is an essential element for human health; over 200 enzymes in the body require zinc for proper functioning.

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Reforestation

Many people believe a new sapling must be planted to replace every tree that is harvested. In fact, the FOREST regenerates naturally. After logging, young shoots grow and develop quickly because they have more room and good exposure to sunlight.

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Resource Towns

Resource towns, or "new towns," are the small, isolated communities built around resource-based industries and transportation, such as mining towns, mill towns, railway towns and fishing villages. Examples include: Fort McMurray, Alberta (oil); Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland (pulp and paper); Glace Bay, Nova Scotia (coal); Black's Harbour, New Brunswick (fish packing); Murdochville, Québec (copper); Elliot Lake, Ontario (uranium); Snow Lake, Manitoba (copper, zinc); and Kitimat, British Columbia (aluminum). Resource development has long been recognized as a significant factor in shaping patterns of Canadian development. It has been argued that all Canadian urban growth ultimately depends on the production of staple products. Resource towns have been important agencies in this process of staple exploitation. Because of their dependence on single industries, the economies of resource towns are often unstable and precarious.

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Sustainable Development

The WCED was formed to consider the key issues related to environment and development, and to provide feasible and innovative ideas to deal with them. Sustainable development was proposed to meet this challenge.

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James Bay Project

In 1971, Hydro-Québec and the Québec government initiated the James Bay Project, a monumental hydroelectric-power development on the east coast of James Bay. Over the course of two phases they built a total of eight generating stations, allowing for the pollution-free production of a significant portion of Québec's electricity. However, the projects also profoundly disrupted the environment and the Indigenous communities living in the region, the effects of which are still felt today.

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Forest Harvesting

Forest harvesting involves cutting trees and delivering them to sawmills, pulp mills and other wood-processing plants. Its practical components include road construction, logging and log transportation.

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Soil Classification

Classification involves arranging individual units with similar characteristics into groups. Soils do not occur as discrete entities; thus the unit of measurement for soil is not obvious.

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James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement

The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) is a legal agreement signed on 11 November 1975 by the government of Quebec, the government of Canada, Hydro-Québec and two of its subsidiaries, the Grand Council of the Crees of Quebec and the Northern Quebec Inuit Association. Described by many as the “first modern treaty,” the JBNQA redefined and framed land management as well as the relationship between the Quebecois state and the Indigenous peoples of the James Bay and Northern Quebec region (see James Bay Project, Treaties with Indigenous Peoples in Canada).

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Not for Saps: Tree Planting in Alberta

Over a century’s worth of shifting environmental policy means that today, maintaining Canada’s forests is as important as cutting them down. Tree planting is an essential part of this maintenance, and each year thousands of young Canadians trek through rough conditions and remote areas to replant thousands of trees.

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Fur Trade in Canada (Plain-Language Summary)

The fur trade began in the 1600s in what is now Canada. It continued for more than 250 years. Europeans traded with Indigenous people for beaver pelts. The demand for felt hats in Europe drove this business. The fur trade was one of the main reasons that Europeans explored and colonized Canada. It built relationships between Europeans and Indigenous peoples.

(This article is a plain-language summary of the fur trade. If you are interested in reading about this topic in more depth, please see our full-length entry, Fur Trade in Canada.)

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Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project

The Trans Mountain Expansion is a project to build about 980 km of new pipe, most of which will run parallel to the existing Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The new line will carry diluted bitumen, or “dilbit,” from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia. The expansion will increase the pipeline route’s overall capacity from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day.

The project’s first owner, Kinder Morgan Canada, sold it to the Government of Canada in 2018. The Trans Mountain Expansion has been a focus of environmental and economic debates, as well as political conflicts. The $12.6 billion project is now under construction.