Forest History

Welcome To The Forest History Portal!

The Canadian Institute of Forestry/Institut forestier du Canada was founded in 1908 and has played a strong role in the changes and improvements to sustainable forestry practices since that time. Growth Rings: 100 Proud Years of Forestry in Canada is a documentary celebrating our first 100 years!


The Forest History issue of the Forestry Chronicle was officially released in June 2014! Click here to view this exciting edition!


To submit content for future issues, please contact

February 2015 English French
July 2014 English French
August 2013 English French
April 2013 English French


The “Old Growth” section of The Forestry Chronicle was introduced to the November/December 2010 issue. It contains articles relating to Canada’s forest history and legacy, including forest practices and policies as well as popular culture and folklore that forestry has influenced and produced over many centuries. Here you can read the current and past “Old Growth” articles.

Current and Past Old Growth Articles

Date Title Author
January/February 2015 Erratum  N/A
November/December 2014 Archival Donation Guide – Canadian Forest History Perspective Project David Brownstein
September/October 2014 Kapuskasing Logging Camp 1936–1938 N/A
July/August 2014 The Des Crossley Demonstration Forest: A Life in Review Jessica Ambler
May/June 2014  The Beginnings of Mechanization in the Algonquin Park Forest Industry Jamie McRae
March/April 2014 Alberta’s Wildfire and Forest Management Mascot – Bertie Beaver Bruce Mayer
January/February 2014 Rick Arthur
November/December 2013 You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby! Ron Ayling
September/October 2013 Canada’s Forest History Societies Rebecca Launchbury
July/August 2013 Petawawa – the Relevant Research Forest Loni Pierce
May/June 2013 History of the “Forest Capital of Canada” Designation Emily Gray
March/April 2013 A Brief History of Canada-China Partnerships in Forestry Ron Ayling
January/February 2013 Where did all the loggers go? Peter J. Murphy
November/December 2012 The Great Fire of 1922 Rob Galloway
September/October 2012 Vision in Forest Publicity R. M. Watt
July/August 2012 A History of Forests and Climate Change under the IPCC Ron Ayling
May/June 2012 One Hundred Years of Federal Forestry Presence in New Brunswick Bernard Daigle
March/April 2012 Celebrating 100 Years of Forest Management in British Columbia Laura Pickering
January/February 2012 The Petawawa Research Forest Laura Pickering
November/December 2011 The Class of ’60 – A Class Act Ken Plourde
September/October 2011 Alligator in the Ottawa Dave Lemkay
July/August 2011 A Prairie Odyssey John Pineau
May/June 2011 To the Editor Gordon F. Weetman
January/February 2011 Commemorating Two Forest Pioneers in Ontario N/A
November/December 2010 The Forestry Chronicle Volume 1 – 1925 N/A

Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Ongoing History Of Canada’s Forests

Listen To The Electronic Lectures

Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Ongoing History of Canada’s Forests – Series #29 Canadian Institute of Forestry
05/16/12 Jim Farrell & Dr. Khulberg Canada’s Forest History: Deep Roots Support Strong Growth & Watching the Dust Settle for the First Time PDF WAV
05/23/12 Stan Chester & Mike Apsey BC Forest History: Past, Present and Future BC Forest Service Centenary PDF WAV
05/30/12 Bruce Mayer & Peter Murphy AB’s forest history and the Forest History Association of AB &Tie logging in Jasper Park in the 1920s PDF WAV
06/06/12 Ken Armson & Rob Galloway The Ontario Forest History Society: Background and Activities & Englehart Management Unit Area Forest History 1912-2000 PDF WAV
06/13/12 Martin Hébert Multiple histories, multiple perspectives: the challenges and opportunities of Forest History in Québec PDF WAV
06/20/12 Mark McLaughlin & William Parenteau The New Brunswick Forest Authority, 1973-1980: An Experiment in Government-Managed Forests PDF WAV
06/27/12 David Brownstein Canadian Forest History: A Path Forward? PDF WAV
07/04/12 David Brownstein Writing Forest History: Archival Research for Beginners PDF WAV

International Forest History Links

The Forest History Society, based in North Carolina, is a nonprofit library and archive dedicated to collecting, preserving, and disseminating forest and conservation history for all to use.

The US National Museum of Forest Service History is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1988, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting the entire national history of the USDA Forest Service for the education and enjoyment of the general public, scholars, and historical researchers.

The Australian Forest History Society aims to advance historical understanding of human interactions with Australian forest and woodland environments.

Canadian History Links

Quebec Forest History Society

  • History of forestry and forest heritage in Quebec

    The SHFQ is particularly interested in the origin and development of Quebec forestry from the second half of the 19th century (1849-1986), but also in the pro-European (before 1534), French (1534-1759) and Colonial period (1759-1849). It is also concerned with Québec’s forest heritage, which includes a group of public goods to be passed on to future generations.

  • Dialogue, values, ethics and ecosystem management

    The SHFQ specializes in understanding the historical and social aspects of the forest. It stands out with an approach that puts forward the expertise of the social sciences in complementarity with that of foresters and biologists.

Forest History Association of Alberta

The association’s objectives are to promote, foster, develop and enhance a recognition of, and appreciation for the importance of forestry in the life of Alberta. To achieve this, the FHAA will:

  • Act as the curator of photographs, documents and other historical items and present them in a manner that helps to educate and inform Albertans about the history of forestry in the province
  • Sponsor and/or participate in the development of new materials such as books and other media that educate, inform and promote the understanding of forest history
  • Collect and store new information, eg. interviews on Alberta’s rich forest history, locating and documenting historic sites

Forest History Ontario

The mission of the Society is to further the knowledge, understanding and preservation of Ontario’s forest history. This is achieved through: DISCOVERY – locate published and unpublished written documents, photographs, archival holdings, art, music, and other historical artifacts about Ontario’s forest history; PRESERVATION – create and maintain databases of documents and archival holdings; support preservation of individual artifacts; INFORMATION – provide a central avenue into Ontario’s forest history to support education on our forest history, further forest history research, support future forest policy development, and facilitate access for general interest pleasure. One of the purposes of the Forest History Society of Ontario is to facilitate the placing of forest history collections of importance in appropriate archives where they can be available for research and study. Recently through the graciousness of Donald S. Macdonald the FHSO was offered the opportunity of reviewing a collection of diaries and correspondence of his father, Donald Angus Macdonald, the third and last Dominion Forester of Canada. The collection has been catalogued and is now in the archives, Harriet Irving Library of the University of New Brunswick, Fredericton. The FHSO is planning to establish a memorial to Frank A. MacDougall. As part of this project the Society wishes to place memorabilia associated with Lands & Forests forestry activities and programs during this period in a semi-permanent display. If you have personal or related items to Mr. MacDougall and his period with Lands & Forests and would consider donating them for consideration in such a display, please contact the FHSO. Click here for more information.

Forest History Association of British Columbia

Almost by definition, foresters and other forestry workers are historians. Because their raw material is the timber of ecosystems, they deal in rotation ages that can span three to four human generations. Given the long-term perspective of British Columbia’s forest industry, the FHABC seeks out and shares forestry’s stories by: – acting as a coordinating agency in the collection of historical records pertaining to the conservation, management and use of the forests of British Columbia; stimulating interest by individuals and groups in the collection and use of such information; – cooperating with individuals and organizations in the collection, cataloguing, storage and preservation of forest history records; – encouraging the publication of material relating to the various facets of BC’s forest history; to undertake such other matters which relate to the forest history of the province; – publishing a newsletter for the membership and for distribution to libraries, archives and other institutions.

Network in Canadian History and Environment

NiCHE brings together historians, geographers, and other researchers who study nature and humans in Canada’s past. They offer a forum for the field, support collaboration among scholars, and ensure that this research is shared with policymakers, scientists, and the Canadian public. Check out their Forest History Project.

Artefact Of The Month

The CIF/IFC has a large collection of historic documents, which we aim to showcase over the coming months.

Canadian Lumberman-Soldiers Offered Expertise During World War 1 Lumberman-soldiers from various Canadian provinces supported France throughout World War 1 (1914-1918) by offering their expertise cutting and harvesting wood used in the construction of trenches for soldiers on the battlefields. Click here to view the document.

Previous Artefacts

Tree Farm Certificate

Association Forestiere Quebecoise This certifies that the forest lands of Mr. … of … consisting of … acres, are being adequately protected from forest enemies and are being managed in a manner which will assure continuous production of useful timber crop in accordance with forestry practices approved by the Tree Farm Committee of the Quebec Forestry Association. In recognition thereof, those lands are hereby designated a TREE FARM to remain as long as the owner, his heirs, and assigns comply with the said approved standards of Tree Farm practice.

On The St. Maurice River

This photo was originally printed in the Report of the First Annual Meeting of the Canadian Forestry Association, held in Ottawa on March 8th, 1900. It depicts logs on the St. Maurice River.

Practical Woodlot Management

This cartoon is from “Practical Woodlot Management: How to Use the Forest Soundly and Profitably” by A. Koroleff, published by the Canadian Forestry Association in 1948. The first man says, “How is it, Joe, that you have been cutting more logs than I but your woods are fine and mine almost gone?” to which Joe replies, “You have butchered your forest; and a dead cow can bear no calf. I cut only the right trees at the right time, so that nature does the restocking.”

Plan Of Action To Fully Utilize and Perpetuate Canada’s Forests. 1943. Canadian Forestry Association

Click here to view the entire Plan as a PDF.


Canada Lumberman

Click here to view this image as a PDF.

This month’s forest history artefact is a set of two articles in “Canada Lumberman” pertaining to the establishment of the Canadian Forestry Association, referred to as the Dominion Forestry Association in the first article. Click here to view the artefact!

A Woman Advetur in the Arctic

Click here to view this advertisement as a PDF.

Forest Fire Prevention Lecture Car

Canadian Forestry Association Forest Fire Prevention Lecture Car Forest protection is my business, your business, and mighty good business. This photo was taken in Vancouver in 1928. See more photos at the City of Vancouver Archives.

National Forest Products Week

This table card from National Forest Products Week, 1964, offers a snapshop of Canada’s forest industry and its contribution to the national economy. “CN transports about ten million tons of pulp, paper and wood to market every year. We know that forest products account for 30 per cent of the value of Canada’s export trade. They also mean $1,200,000,000 in annual paychecks to 300,000 Canadians.”

Australia’s Forest Regions

Principle commercial forest regions of Australia. Included in the programme for the Seventh British Commonwealth Forestry Conference, hosted in a variety of locations in Australia and New Zealand in 1957. Speakers from Canada included C. D. Schultz from the Canadian Forestry Association.

Canadian Forestry Journal

Click here to view this advertisement as a PDF.