International Year of Forests

April 21, 2011

Did you know that more than 1.6 billion of the world’s people depend on forests for their livelihood? Or that worldwide, the forest industry is responsible for $270 billion in trade, annually? Here in Canada, our forests are among the largest and most diverse in the world—and have long been central to our economy.

Canadian forests cover 41% of the country’s land mass, which amount to roughly 10% of the world’s forest. In addition to moderating climate and filtering the air we breathe, they also provide a home for countless wildlife species.

Given the importance of forests to our economy, our environment and our well-being, the essential role they play in countries around the world and the way in which issues surrounding the future of the forest unite us globally, it comes as no surprise that the United Nations has declared 2011 as International Year of Forests. This global initiative, launched in February during the 9th session of the United Nation’s forum on forests, seeks to “raise awareness and strengthen the sustainable forest management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests for the benefit of current and future generations.”

In honour of the U.N.’s International Year of Forests, Canada Post is releasing a two-stamp issue that speaks to both the diversity and intrinsic value of Canada’s forests. Designed by Vancouver’s Subplot Design, the stamps offer two views of the contemporary forest; one showing the marvel of life found in the forest floor and the other depicting the sheer strength and lush fecundity of a new growth North American rainforest through a close-up of new trees that culminates in a fresh canopy of green leaves.

Matthew Clarke, creative director and senior designer at Subplot explains, “One of the challenges with a topic this broad is to bring it down to a single image that is sufficiently complex to encompass the topic, and yet simple enough to be iconic and compelling. IYF isn’t just about ‘trees,’ it’s about complex ecosystems of flora and fauna that make up what we know as a ‘forest’.”

Clarke continues, “We created a vertical panorama that could visually depict the layers of the forest. While a traditional forest landscape would be a horizontal image, we chose to create a view that pans down from the sky, down the canopy, down a central tree and onto the forest floor. This gave us not only an opportunity to show these vertical layers, but then to create two distinct images once the stamps are separated from the souvenir sheet.”

According to Danielle Trottier, Stamp Design Manager for the issue, “Forests in Canada was such an all-encompassing topic that there was a risk of over-utilizing the factual information and environmental warnings to the point that we literally could no longer see the forests for the trees. This design provided not only an intellectual reminder of the importance, economically, culturally and environmentally, of the forest riches we are privileged to have, but is also a moving and dramatic vision of the natural wonder of the Canadian forest.”

Booklet of 8 stamps

Booklet of 8 stamps


  • Product #: 413796111
  • Denomination: 2 x PERMANENT™ domestic rate
  • Design: Subplot Design Inc.
  • Dimensions: 30 mm x 40 mm (vertical)
  • Printer: Lowe-Martin
  • Printing Process: Lithography in 8 colours
  • Quantity: 2,700,000
  • Gum Type: Pressure sensitive
  • Illustration: Subplot Design Inc.
  • Perforations: Simulated perforation
  • Tagging: Lithography in 8 colours
  • Photography: Anthony Redpath
  • Paper Type: Tullis Russell
  • OFDC Cancellation Location: Forest, Ontario
Souvenir sheet of 2 stamps

Souvenir sheet of 2 stamps


  • Product #: 403796145
  • Denomination: 2 x PERMANENT™ domestic rate
  • Dimensions: 70 mm x 125 mm (vertical)
  • Quantity: 200,000
  • Gum Type: P.V.A.
  • Perforations: 13+