Mark Anielski told the National Forest Congress that forests’ storage of 67 billion tonnes of carbon annually was worth C$1.8bn. He also estimated the value of water filtration and erosion control at C$77bn, while forests generated “billions” in tourism.

Mr Anielski argued that the values be considered when decisions affecting forests are made, such as logging and mining.

He recommended a natural capital accounting system which would guide land use planning, resource management and future economic development.

The Canadian Forestry Association said industrial land users have already been looking at taking into account intrinsic land values, beyond timber, oil or gas. It said an official accounting system would help define such values.