Canada’s oil and gas industry doing its part to re-forest the country

From 2009 to 2018, major producers planted more than 25 million trees. And tree planting initiatives are ongoing.  

By Cody Ciona
Photo courtesy of Suncor Energy

Ensuring forests continue to thrive is a major focus during National Forest Week, Sept. 17-21. As the week wraps up, the importance of forests and their crucial role in promoting biodiversity across Canada is a highlighted through various organizations and businesses across the country.  

Increasingly, Canada’s oil and gas producers are planting more and more trees to help reduce the impact the sector has on forests.  

The Faster Forests program developed by Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance has helped drive the planting of trees and shrubs over the last decade. Started in 2009, by 2018 the initiative had planted more than five million trees and shrubs on 2,250 hectares of land.  

Faster Forests is part of a larger reclamation and tree planting initiative across the oil sands sector. From 2009 to 2018, major producers planted more than 25 million trees. And tree planting initiatives are ongoing.  

According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Canada ranks as the third-largest forest area in the world with almost 362 million hectares of forest total, with 280 million hectares across the boreal region. Canada’s forests are also resilient, with less than half of one percent being deforested since 1990. 

While Canadian forests play a crucial role in maintaining a thriving ecosystem, they are also important regulators of climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it. 

According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, each year since 2000 forests have removed two billion tonnes of CO2. Canada’s forests in some years have removed more carbon than they emit 

According to NRCan, climate change has increased natural disturbances such as forest fires and insect infestation which can increase emissions leading to these fluctuations. That’s why it is incredibly important to maintain our forests and ensure good forest management practices to increase emissions reduction potential. 

Here’s what some of Canada’s top oil and gas producers are doing to help ensure Canada’s forests remain healthy, according to the latest environment, social and governance (ESG) reporting:  

  • Suncor planted approximately one million seedlings in its oil sands operations in 2022.  
  • Imperial Oil reports planting over 1.7 million trees since 1999 at its Cold Lake oil sands project. 
  • Canadian Natural Resources reports that it planted 1.2 million trees in 2022. 
  • Cenovus planted 570,000 trees across its operations in 2022. 
  • ARC Energy planted 225,905 trees in 2022. 
  • Tourmaline notes that it intends to plant 50,000 trees each year. 
  • MEG Energy has planted more than 400,000 trees since 2011. 

Tree planting is important to reforest disturbed sites back to an equivalent of their original state and Canada’s oil and gas industry is doing its part to re-tree the country. 

The unaltered reproduction of this content is free of charge with attribution to Canadian Energy Centre Ltd.