Provincial Wood Supply Strategy Predicts Impending Shortages
RAC Looking at Access Issues
LCC Snapshot: Temagami Local Citizens' Committee
Crown Land Use Atlas Provides On-line Access to Land Use Policies
Proposed Amendmment to the Temagami Land Use Plan - Comment Period Ends May 2
Forest Certification - Who is Doing What?
A provincial wood supply strategy is now almost complete, according to a Ministry of Natural Resources spokesperson, and could be finalized as early as mid-May, several weeks before its June 25, 2004 deadline.
The strategy was posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry for a 30 day comment period which ended March 10. Reportedly, over 100 comments were received in 8 separate submissions. The Ministry of Natural Resources has been reviewing all of the comments and determining which, if any, will result in changes to the draft Strategy. The MNR review of public comments is being done with input from the Partnership for Public Lands (a coalition of three Toronto based conservation groups) and two forest industry associations.
According to the MNR summary, the Provincial Wood Supply Strategy draft proposal was "developed to provide a consistent provincial approach to sustaining a long-term wood supply for economic benefits in Ontario. It documents wood supply forecasts and industrial demand, identifies significant wood supply issues and proposes strategies to address the wood supply challenges". A Provincial Wood Supply Strategy was required to meet Condition 48 of the terms and conditions of the Declaration Order regarding MNR's Class Environmental Assessment Approval for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario. Condition 48 was a last minute addition to the MNR's July 2002 EA proposal.
Concerns With Quality
The Provincial strategy includes 20 sub-strategies which relate to either all or parts of the province. Eleven apply to both the Boreal and Great Lakes-St. Lawrence forest regions, with an additional 9 applying to the Great Lakes- St.Lawrence. The province-wide strategies largely relate to issues around quality of information, and include objectives such as reviewing the wood demand for mills; providing demand information to planning teams; promoting best practices for forest management modeling; and improving growth and yield information and the forest resources inventory. Other strategies relate to improving knowledge of stand conditions and forest succession and the effectiveness of various silvicultural treatments.
The Provincial Strategy makes for interesting reading, in that the document represents a consolidated wood supply picture and attempts to identify critical wood supply issues and provide approaches or strategies for addressing those issues. While the strategy document is provincial in scope, each of the three MNR administrative regions has a separate section to provide a regional context and discussion of regional scale issues, and significant issues and related strategies are identified on a regional basis.
The two key issues identified in the Boreal Forest zone were an anticipated drop in future wood supply to below current demand, and the questionable quality of wood supply information. The same issues were identified as being relevant to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest zone, although with a somewhat different context.
Drop in Wood Supply Predicted
Across the Boreal Forest zone, wood supply is predicted to fall below the level of industrial demand in the near future. The spruce-pine-fir supply is forecast to fall below the demand level in five to ten years, while the poplar supply is forecast to fall below demand in 15 years. The supply gap is said to be "by far the most critical issue facing the forest industry in this part of the Province. The developing gap between wood supply and demand presents an unavoidable dilemma: increase the wood supply or reduce mill consumption."
Wood supply issues identified as significant and particular to the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Forest zone included the current shortage of high-quality sawlogs and veneer in the region; a long-standing surplus of low-grade hardwoods; questions about the sustainability of the private land harvest; a long-term regional trend towards declining poplar supplies; and regeneration problems in older white pine shelterwood treatments.
MNR's Northeastern Ontario Regional Advisory Committee has embarked on a special exercise to examine issues and conflicts regarding access on Crown Land. The project goal is to bring forward "innovative approaches and solutions for local access problem resolution." The Committee will work at an overview perspective and does not intend to make recommendations on specific roads.
Using the Wawa area as a case study, the RAC will make recommendations in the form of a formal report to the Regional Director next fall. A brief stay in the Wawa area is planned for mid-June.
Temagami has one of the longest track records of public advisory committees in northeastern Ontario. The Temagami Area Working Group was established in 1987, and was replaced by the Temagami Advisory Council (TAC) the following year. TAC's mandate was to provide advice on land use and resource management in the Temagami area, and to monitor the construction and post- construction use of contentious Red Squirrel Road extension. A Comprehensive Planning Program was initiated for Temagami, with the Temagami Advisory Council playing a major role, until it was replaced with the Comprehensive Planning Council (CPC) in 1991. Membership was expanded from 9 to 13, and in 1993, the Teme Augama Anishnabai (TAA) joined the CPC on an interim basis, and another 5 members were appointed. The CPC mandate was completed on March 31, 1996, with their report on land use for the Temagami Comprehensive Planning Area dated April 1996.
The Temagami Local Citizens Committee was created in August 1996 to participate in the development of the 1997 interim Temagami FMP as required by the Forest Management Planning Manual and Class EA for the Timber Management on Crown Lands.
The Temagami LCC is a 12 member committee, chaired by Rudi Ptok, who resides in New Liskeard. Municipalities, youth camps, local environmental groups, the forest industry, tourist operators, anglers and hunters, cottagers associations, fur harvesters, economic development and snowmobiling are all local interests represented by the membership.
A current vacancy exists for the mining / mineral sector. The Temagami First Nation (TFN) is also a member of the LCC. TFN, TAA and Matachewan First Nation were represented on the planning team for the recently approved 2004-2024 FMP. The LCC opted for a rotating member on the planning team for the development of the 2004-2024 forest management plan.
"The LCC worked as a unit, while respecting the different interest of the groups represented. While the members did not reach consensus on all issues, every member was given adequate time to express opinion, ask questions and seek support and consensus from other members. Majority and minority opinions are recorded in the minutes and all pertinent recommendations were given to the North Bay District Manager", explained Rudi Ptok, LCC chair.
The LCC is credited with having increased visitation and public participation at information centres during the development of the 2004-2024 plan. Extra efforts included flyers, newspaper ads, phone calls, emails and LCC members' organizations efforts to increase attendance and input throughout the planning process.
The Temagami Local Citizens Committee continues to play an important role in a range of planning issues unique to the Temagami area, including providing feedback on a proposal by the Temagami First Nation, Teme Augama Anishnabai and the Town of Temagami for a community based sustainable forest license, which is currently under consideration by the provincial government.
The Crown Land Use Policy Atlas is an electronic registry that brings all area-specific land use policies for Crown Lands into a single location. This map-based tool is now the official source of specific land use policies for Crown lands. In most areas, primary sources of land use policy come from the 1983 District Land Use Guidelines (DLUGS) and the 1996 Ontario Living Legacy Land Use Strategies. These and other guiding policy documents such as the area specific Temagami (1997) and Madawaska (1996) Land Use Plans, and the Cochrane Remote Tourism Wilderness Strategy are cited as supporting documents.
Atlas land use details are
linked to an on-line map or through a series of pull-down menus. Details
include name of the area, size, land use designation, features, values,
general land use intent, permitted uses and source of policy direction.
Amendments , which MNR will classify as administrative, minor or major - will be posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry with an opportunity for public comment, as well as a notice being posted on the Crown Land Use Atlas web site. These will by the primary consultation method.
The Crown Land Use Policy Atlas is online at http://crownlanduseatlas.mnr.gov.on.ca/index.html and is available in printed form from the Land Use Coordination Section of the MNR in Peterborough, 1-800-667-1940. A CD with a complete set of maps, policies and supporting documents is available from MNR for $30.00 plus tax.
A proposed amendment to the Temagami Land Use Plan (TLUP) will create a new management area to be known as Lake Temagami Waterway Provincial Park. The park will be 15, 075 hectares in size.
The new management area will "reflect the government's intent to create and regulate a new provincial park on 80 % of the mainland shore of Lake Temagami". The area of the current Management Area 39 will be reduced by 7, 966 hectares to 20, 787 hectares in size, reflecting the creation of a new provincial park from within part of Management Area 39.
The creation of the waterway park is related to the settlement of the Temagami land claim and the planned creation of a new Indian Reserve.
The new provincial park will include 80% of the mainland shore of Lake Temagami and much of the Lake Temagami mainland shore of the new Indian Reserve. Regulation will ensure that the shoreline remains undeveloped and managed in accordance with provincial parks policy and legislation.
The proposal can be viewed on the EBR Registry at http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/envregistry/021591ep.htm.
Abitibi-Consolidated, Domtar, Tembec and the global forest industry are all struggling with the demanding expectations of society. Will forest certification sufficiently recognize our social and ecological values such as water quality and endangered species?
The growing popularity of
forest certification among key industry players suggests it may, at least,
contribute towards improved public relations, including with environmental
groups and aboriginal communities. It's been more than two years since
The Forest Products Association
of Canada (FPAC) announced that its members would commit to a forest-specific standard by the end of 2006.
Certification intentions have nearly tripled since this statement was released and today 57 million hectares (142 million acres) of Canada's forest have been certified to one of the following three forest-specific standards:
Sustainability, the buzzword of the 1990s', includes social values and the general public need to know that the wood they use to build their houses and the paper they load into their printer trays come from responsibly managed forests.
Canada's National Standard
on Sustainable Forest Management Standard, CAN/CSA Z809 was developed throughout
the 1990s. The Canadian standard differed significantly from FSC
and SFI in that it was created as a process-based standard similar to the
International Organization for Standardization (ISO) environmental standard;
it has evolved to include performance
requirements that must be specific to each local forest. The U.S. based American Forest and Paper Association developed the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, while the Worldwide Fund for Nature and other environmental groups, as well as timber industry representatives, founded
the FSC certification system in 1993. All the standards are voluntary and 3rd party certification is required. Third party certification is intended to provide more credibility as it involves an objective evaluation by an independent auditing group.
Gordon Cosens (Tembec Inc.)
was the first boreal forest to be FSC certified last year and Tembec has
committed to having each forest management unit FSC certified by 2005.
Domtar has recently formed a working relationship with the World Wildlife
Fund and is planning on having its forest FSC certified, subject to the
outcome of two pilot projects. Abitibi-Consolidated Inc. and Weyerhauser
have over 4 million hectares of CSA certified forests in Ontario. FSC certified
forests cover a similar area across the province, including Gorden Cosens
and the Nipissing Forest Management Unit. Each company sees the potential
opportunities such as improved forest management plans and increased market access, however, limitations do exist.
Public consultation is part of each certification process, this consultation component may offer an arena to discuss opportunities, limitations, and your view of the forest.
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