The Chaudière-Appalaches region covers an area of 16,118 km2 , of which 11% is publicly-owned land, including five ecological reserves, two wildlife management areas (ZECs), and part of a national park. The region has a population of almost 400,000, mainly concentrated in the urban pole of Lévis, and is mainly rural. Its economy is firmly based on the extraction and processing of natural resources, in addition to a strong manufacturing sector.
An area of 11,302 km², or 73% of the total land area in the region, is used for forestry, and 86% of this land is under private ownership. The Chaudière-Appalaches region has 59 wood processing mills, which support an annual average of 2,000 direct jobs. The forest industry includes sawmills and plants producing flooring, doors and windows, and mouldings. Around 67% of the supplies for the plants come from outside Québec, 26% from private forest land, and 7% from public forest land. Maple syrup production is also a major economic activity in the region.
Wildlife-related activities, recreation and tourism
The region has over 44,000 sports fishers and 29,000 hunters. Overall, wildlife-related activities generate over $70 million and 600 jobs in the region each year.
The Chaudière-Appalaches region offers a range of tourist activities. Most cottages are located on private land, but there are also two regional parks and one national park where numerous outdoor activities are available, as well as an extensive network of snowmobile trails.
Energy and mining
The Chaudière-Appalaches region has the largest underground storage site for natural gas in Québec. It also has one oil refinery, which accounts for 40% of total production capacity in Québec. The total installed capacity for electricity generation in the region is less than 1% of the total for Québec.
Mining in the region mainly involves the extraction of industrial minerals and construction materials. The Chaudière-Appalaches region is known for its world-class chrysotile deposits. Quarries for stone, sand and gravel are an important source of construction materials. The region also has two commercially-operated peatbogs and a steatite and talc-carbonate quarry that supplies a plant producing sawn steatite blocks used as refractory plates and for sculpture.
The region offers several development possibilities. Recent initiatives to develop outdoor recreation and tourism activities, and the growing demand for wildlife-related activities, demonstrate some of the potential, as do wind energy and gas development projects.
The region has mineral potential, with numerous deposits of chrysotile, talc and steatite. Its geographic location is an important element in the development of architectural stone production, with strong potential for granulates.