MNR Drops Requirement for Sustainable Wood Supply
LCC Snapshot: Timmins Local Citizens' Committee
Forestry by Numbers: November 26 Workshop on the Use of Computer Models in Forest Management Planning
Updated Planning Schedule
Revised Forest Management Planning Manual Released
The revised edition of the Forest Management Planning manual was released on September 1, and came into affect the same day. Plans being prepared for April 2007 approval will be the first to go through the revised planning process.
Reportedly, 43 sets of comments were received during the two month comment period, including from Aboriginal organizations, communities, individuals members of the public, and various stakeholder organizations. The submissions contained 776 suggestions or concerns, which MNR assessed and categorized into five broad categories: 144 comments requested a change to a requirement in the Forest Management Planning Manual; 266 requested further description of the requirements; and 92 were editorial. An additional 196 comments were categorized by MNR as being beyond the scope of forest management planning and 78 related directly to the MNR's Class Environmental Assessment Approval for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario and could not be changed in the Forest Management Planning Manual.
The 410 suggestions or concerns that related to content and / or clarification of the Manual's direction were sorted by the Ministry of Natural Resources into seven subject areas: public consultation, Aboriginal, resource stewardship agreements, roads, social and economic, objectives and indicators and sustainability. The decision notice from MNR indicates that less than a dozen changes were made to address the 410 suggestions made across those seven subject areas.
Changes to Plan Term
One of the most significant changes to the planning process overall, as outlined in the draft version of the Forest Management Planning Manual released last year, is the shift from a five year to a 10 year planning term. The new 10 year plans will include two five year operational phases, but the planning approach - including management direction and objectives - will be made on a 10 year basis.
Commentators made numerous
suggestions to address what many see as a diminished role for the public
under the new 10 year planning regime. One suggestion was that there be
a public role in the review of a newly required Year Three Annual Report.
The Year Three report will form the basis of a decision by the Ministry
of Natural Resources on whether to allow the licensee to proceed to operational
planning for the second five-year operational phase, or to require an "unscheduled
plan renewal", ie. development of a new forest management plan. Given the
significance of that decision, contributors to the review of the draft
Planning Manual recommended that there be a role for the public provided
in reviewing the Year Three Annual Report, but the proposal was rejected
and public input will be limited to that which is provided by the Local
Citizens Committee following the presentation of the Year Three Annual
Report to the LCC.Roads Planning and Management
Some changes were made to the Manual's requirements for road planning and access management in response to comments received. A complete roads inventory will be used as background information, with all roads on the management unit that are the responsibility of the Sustainable Forest Licensee identified, complete with an associated use management strategy and plans for monitoring. Stage One of the planning process will now require a map showing access controls on all existing roads. At Stage Two, road use management strategies, including access, will be added to the information and maps which are available.
Objectives and Indicators
Several new or revised indicators have been added to the requirements for development of objectives and indicators, including new requirements to include the amount and distribution of old growth as an indicator that the biological diversity of Ontario's forests are being conserved. Road density (measured by kilometres of road per square kilometre of Crown Forest) must also be included, as an indicator of the maintenance and enhancement of Ontario's framework for sustainable forest management. Indicators related to forest structure and composition, landscape pattern, and landscape level habitat have been revised.
Concerns were also raised by commentators about the relationship between objectives and indicators and the determination of sustainability. According to the decision notice, Section 1.2 of the Forest Management Planning Manual has been re-written to clarify the role of objectives and indicators in the assessment of objective achievement and the determination of sustainability, but there were no changes made to the directions provided with respect to the relationship between determination of sustainability and objective achievement.
The revised manual is available on-line at www.mnr.gov.on.ca/mnr/forests/forestdoc/reg_manuals/fmpm_pdf/intro.pdf. A copy can be purchased from the Natural Resources Information Centre in Peterborough; call 1 800 667 1940 for ordering information.
Almost three months after introducing an amendment to the Crown Forest Sustainability Act which would remove the requirement that new mills show sustainable supply is available before being licensed, the Ministry of Natural Resources has posted a notice on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry of a 30 day comment period on this major change to Ontario's key forestry legislation. Bill 106 was introduced on June 21, 2004, and eliminates the requirement that a new mill demonstrate sustainable supply before receiving a licence.
Bill 106, titled "An Act to implement Budget measures and amend the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994" contains only 9 lines that relate to the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) but they are lines that pack quite a punch. The Bill sets out replacement text for sections 54 (1) and 69 (1) which, singly and in combination, remove the requirements that a new mill demonstrate that a sustainable wood supply is available prior to receiving a license.
Section 54 (1) of the CFSA currently states that "The Minister may, in accordance with the regulations, issue a forest resource processing facility licence to a person if the Minister is satisfied that the person has a sufficient supply of forest resources to operate the facility" and will be replaced with the wording "The Minister may issue a forest resource processing facility licence in accordance with the regulations".
Section 69 (1) of the CFSA currently states that "governing the issuance, transfer, renewal, amendment, suspension and cancellation of forest resource processing facility licences and governing the determination of whether a person has a sufficient supply of forest resources to operate a forest resource processing facility" and will be replaced with the wording
"governing the issuance, transfer, renewal, amendment, suspension and cancellation of forest resource processing facility licences".
The Ministry of Natural Resources' rationale for the changes is that the amendments "remove redundancy given existing regulatory and forest management planning provisions which require Crown forests to be harvested sustainably" and that "the provision for a sufficient supply has been identified as a trade issue by the U.S. parties in the context of the softwood lumber dispute. The sufficient supply provisions for facility licensing are viewed by the U.S. parties as a barrier to market entry and, therefore, a restriction of free market conditions".
However, in early September, a North American Free Trade Agreement Panel found that the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has no legal grounds for the softwood lumber dispute in which Canadian companies had been penalized with countervailing and anti-dumping duties.
Comments must be forwarded by October 8th to Greg Pawson, Industry Services Officer, MNR Industry Relations Branch, Roberta Bondar Place, 70 Foster Drive Suite 400, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6A 6V5. They can also be sent by fax to 705 541-5111 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Timmins Local Citizens
Committee has taken many shapes over the past few decades. The origins
of the Committee are embedded in land use, resource management, and operational
activities on Crown Land. The Northeast Strategic Land Use committee represented
the initiation of the local advisory group. Several frustrated years later
a Public Advisory Committee was formed, and that committee most recently
became the Timmins Local Citizens Committee. Several members of the original
group can be traced back to the Timmins Fur Council which was formed in
1968. The Fur Council had a similar mandate, ie. to provide local input
to Ministry of Natural Resources planning activities as well as communicate
with the general public about natural resources.
The long history of volunteer contribution from the community of Timmins is evident; however, hard numbers always emphasize the point. Once the Timmins LCC was formed, members decided that they should document the total hours spent and today have logged over 4,000 hours of volunteer effort. Doing the math, if the 21 LCC's across the northeast are contributing a similar effort, LCC's are volunteering more than 80, 000 hours of time.
A piece of advice from the Timmins LCC chair Bill Russell, one of the founding members of the Timmins Fur Council, is to "get involved in a variety of resource management activities."
The Timmins LCC has participated in several projects ranging from fisheries to mining to enforcement issues. Exposure to a cross section of local activities can help representatives from across the LCC spectrum relate to other interests and values, and emphasizes the balance involved in resource management.
Recent Timmins LCC accomplishments includes the Regional LCC Conference held at the Days Inn, September 17th-19th. The theme of the conference was silviculture and participants had the opportunity to tour operations within a local jack pine stand. The tour went through an allocation boundary exercise, observed site preparation, reviewed tree harvest techniques and even planted a few trees. The next time Timmins hosts the conference, the same dedicated volunteers will be able to look over their trees and see their fingerprints on the forests, on our future.
Current representation on the Timmins LCC includes: campers, cottagers, general public, municipalities, large forest industry, mining, naturalist, small business, snowmobilers, chamber of commerce, environmentalist, and angler/hunters. Last spring, the Timmins LCC put out bilingual newspaper ads and attracted five new members representing environmentalists, anglers/hunters, and mining. This fall they are planning on more recruiting efforts targeted towards logging trade unions, tourism, trappers and First Nations.
Timmins Local Citizens Committee provides advice to MNR on management of Nighthawk and Romeo Malette Forest Management Units, both in the Boreal Forest region; Abitibi-Consolidated is the license holder from the Nighthawk Forest, and Tembec is the license holder for the Romeo Malette Forest. Visit the Timmins LCC web site at http://www.timminslcc.org/
Local Citizens Committees (LCCs) also known as Co- Management or Resource Management Advisory Committees operate in almost every forest management unit in Ontario. The role of the 'LCC' includes identifying values and providing the vital communication linkage between the planning team and the community. LCC's may differ in their membership, and have different ways of operating, but it is their ability to represent a variety of interests that will ensure that all can enjoy the benefits of a sustainable forest.
Province Launches Public Review of Protected Areas Legislation
A review of Parks and Natural Areas legislation, recently announced by the Province, will include the Provincial Parks Act, the Conservation Reserves Regulation (the Public Lands Act) and the Wilderness Areas Act.
The review will be done through meetings with key stakeholders and Provincial Treaty Organizations, inviting input from Aboriginal communities, and through public surveys and open houses held in September and October. The Ontario Parks Board of Directors will review input and provide recommendations to David Ramsay, the Minister of Natural Resources, before draft legislation is prepared.
In 1954, when the Provincial Parks Act was last reviewed, there were only 8 provincial parks in Ontario. Today, there are 316 provincial parks, 249 conservation reserves, and 10 wilderness areas in Ontario.
Announcements of the legislative review note that protection of these areas and their "ecological integrity" is of primary importance. Parks and protected areas make up 9% of the land base in Ontario. They contribute to ecosystem health and diversity, provide wildlife habitat (including species at risk), preserve genetic material, and provide opportunities for diversifying local economies through the development of recreation, tourism, and non-timber forest products.
Benefits related to forest management outside of the parks include the opportunity afforded to scientists to study natural processes in un-harvested forests. By studying plant succession, wildlife populations and cycles, and disturbances such as fire, insect outbreaks and wind events in un-harvested areas, scientists and managers are better able to predict the effects of proposed harvest and regeneration activities on future forest conditions and/or future wildlife populations.
Parks that contain mature and old growth forests are also useful in fulfilling mandatory forest unit management requirements to maintain either pine marten or pileated woodpecker habitat on the landscape.
A discussion paper on the protected areas review is available through the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Parks Ontario web site. Questions and challenges related to the legislation include:
Comments must be in writing, reference the EBR registry number (AB04E6001), and be received by November 8, 2004. Comments should be addressed to the Ministry of Natural Resources contact person: Bob Moos, Strategic Planning Officer, Protected Areas Legislation Review, P.O. Box 7000, 300 Water Street, Peterborough, On. K9J 8M5 phone 705 755 1731, Fax 705 755 1701.
Additional information andpaper copies are available from Solange Latour at the Government Information Centre in Peterborough (705) 755 2000, or Nora Borgs at the MNR Information Centre in Toronto (416) 667 1940. The discussion paper is available on-line at www.ontarioparks.com
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