Deforestation is the intentional destruction of forested land for permanent reuse for agricultural, urban, industrial, or other non-forest operations. It is distinguished from natural disturbances such as forest fires and insect damage which are unplanned and while damaging to forested land, do not permanently destroy a forest. Canada has increased the area of land which is protected from deforestation year after year, totaling over 1 million square kilometers in 2014, a 50 percent increase since 2000. According to Natural Resources Canada, the Canadian government department responsible for the management of natural resources, deforestation has declined from 64,000 hectares lost in 1990 to 45,800 hectares lost in 2012, a 28 percent reduction.
The majority of deforestation in Canada is due to the agricultural industry, accounting for 41 percent of all causes. Resource extraction, such as mining and oil drilling, comes in at a close second of 37 percent. As of 2010, 18,900 hectares of forested land was repurposed for agricultural use. This pales in comparison to the area of land affected by insect damage and forest fires. In 2014, 20.3 million hectares of forest was suffering moderate to severe defoliation due to insect damage and 4.6 million hectares of land was burned by forest fire.