Browse "Natural resources"

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Natural Gas in Canada

Natural gas ranks among the fastest-growing energy sources in Canada and is seen by many in the energy industry as a game-changer, a comparatively clean, low-cost and versatile fuel. It can directly generate power and heat and can be chemically altered to produce a wide range of useful commodity chemicals. It burns cleaner and more efficiently than other fossil fuels, releasing significantly fewer harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Natural gas is colorless, odourless, shapeless, lighter than air and contains a mixture of several hydrocarbon gases, which are organic compounds consisting of some combination of hydrogen and carbon molecules.

The primary consumers of natural gas are the industrial (54.1 per cent), residential (26.6 per cent) and commercial sectors (19.3 per cent). Canada is the fifth largest natural gas producer after the United States, Russia, Iran and Qatar. Currently, all of Canada’s natural gas exports go to the United States through a network of pipelines, making Canada the largest foreign source of US natural gas imports. At the end of 2016, Canada had 76.7 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves and had produced 152 billion cubic metres of natural gas that year. It is forecasted that global natural gas consumption will double by 2035.


Natural Resources in Canada

Natural resources are aspects of the natural environment from which goods and services can be obtained and produced. They include air, sunlight, water, land, vegetation, animal life and geological resources. People can also value natural resources for their own sake or for their aesthetic qualities. Humans must manage natural resources to sustain the benefits they offer.

Canada is among the most resource-rich countries in the world. Its large and varied natural resources are essential to its economies and cultures. But there are ongoing debates about how to use, share and manage natural resources.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.


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.



Peat, living and partially decomposed organic matter, consists principally of decayed brown mosses, Sphagnum plants, sedges and other semiaquatic plant remains.



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.


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.


Resource Use

Since prehistoric times, the inhabitants of what is now Canada used vegetation and animals for food, clothing and shelter. They fashioned implements and ornaments from MINERALS and, after the arrival of Europeans, used furs for trading.


Scotian Shelf

Scotian Shelf, a 700 km section of the Continental Shelf off Nova Scotia. Bounded by the Laurentian Channel on the NE, and Northeast Channel and the Gulf of Maine on the SW, it varies in width from 120 to 240 km; the average depth is 90 m.



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.