"... Government and companies go on allocating and cutting trees on the basis of phantom estimates of what is there and how long it will be available for use. It's always possible to make figures support a given goal; but reality is relentless : unless we begin acting as if we believed, once and for all, that the forest, like any other living thing, is finite and fragile, we will destroy it, just as we have destroyed the forest of  mighty pines that covered much of southern Ontario a  century-and-a-half ago. And, if the tree isn't there, no amount of political rhetoric or public relations gloss will make it grow."
J.E.J. Fahlgren, Commissioner,  The Royal Commission on the Northern Environment, June, 1985

Northwatch Submission on Proposed changes to the Forest Management Planning Manual, July 2009

Sweeping Revisions of Forestry Rules

Updated Forest Management Planning Schedule

Tembec Pleads Guilty to Charges Under the Fisheries Act

Forest Sector Competitiveness Report Draws Mixed Reviews

MNR Announces Biodiversity Council

LCC Snapshot: Nipissing Local Citizens Committees

Salamanders - sensitive, secretive indicators of forest health

Intensive Forest Management Research Underway in Northeast

Biodiversity Strategy Under Development for Ontario

MNR Drops Proposed Wood Supply Amendment

LCC Snapshot: White River Area Co-Management Committee

Proposed Management Strategy for Ontario Wolves

Forestry by the numbers - Northwatch Holds Workshop on Forest Modeling

Independent Forest Audits - A Check on the Forest Management Planning System

Sierra Legal Releases Citizens Guide to Certification

Revised Forest Management Planning Manual Released

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

Wanted: Old Trees

New Planning Process Launched for Temagami

Forestry Maps Available On-line

Intensive Forest Management - Five Years After the Forest Accord

New Forest Management Planning Manual to be Released September 1

LCC Snapshot: Wawa and Sault LCC's Working Together on Algoma Forest

April Workshop on Ecological Objectives a Success

Summer Workshop Tour August 16-25

Campers' Association Opposed to Herbicide Spraying Takes on Alternative Approach

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?

MNR Releases Wood Supply Strategy - Comment by March 10

Forest Management Planning Manual Revision Underway

Roads and Water Crossing Report Released

Forest Management Plans under Preparation for 2004, 2005 and 2006

FSC Assessment Underway for Certification of Romeo Malette and Smooth Rock
Falls Forests

CSA Certification Being Sought for Iroquois Falls and Nighthawk Forests

Recovery Strategy for Ontario's Woodland Caribou

Proposed revisions to the Forest Management Planning Manual
Comment by  January 20, 2004

Timiskaming White Pine on the Chopping Block ... Again

New Forest Mangement Environmental Asssessment Order

Forest Management Planning Manual Under Revision

MNR Gets Green Light on Open-Ended EA Approval

Further Revamping of Forest Mangement Rules by Ministry of the Environment

MNR Finalizes Old Growth Policy

Temagami Forest Management Plan - Clearcuts and Roads! - Comment by May 26th

MOE Releases Timber EA "Declaration Order" with April 12 Deadline for Comment

Timber EA Review Moving Ahead

MNR Launches Crown Land Use Atlas

Northwatch Project to Support Public Participation in Forest Management Planning

Planning Underway for Algoma Headwaters Signature Site

Ministry of Natural Resources Releases "State of the Forest Report, 2001"

Northeastern Ontario Forest Management Plans in Preparation

Ministry Moves Forward with Discussion of Intensive Forest Management

Review of Forestry Rules Moves to Ministry of the Environment

"At Work in the Natural World: Mining and Milling Ontario's Natural Resources"

Tories Unleash Living Legacy (1999)




Sweeping Revisions of Forestry Rules

Mid-December, the Ministry of Natural Resources posted a notice on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry of their intentions to revise the Forest Management Planning Manual (FMPM). The manual is regulated under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, and provides direction for the development of forest management plans (FMPs), which outine how forestry operations may proceed, including logging, access roads, and regeneration activities, such as herbicide use or tree planting.

MNR describes the objective of the proposed revisions as being to make the forest management planning process "more efficient". Based on the review by a  number of environmental organziations - including Northwatch, Wildlands League, Earthroots and Ontario Nature - the 146 proposed sets of changes signal some fairly significant changes. The revisions give insufficient direction on climate change, encourage and expedite the use of biofuels without addressing the full range of environmental impacts, and inadequately define sustainability. In addition the new guidelines will reduce public participation with fewer opportunities for comment and reduced transparency. The draft of the proposed revisions are available through a link provided in the EBR posting

As part of a collaborative review effort among several environmental organziations, statements summarizing  concerns in the three key areas of forest sustainability, climate change and expanded biofibre production were produced and submitted to the Ministry of Natural Resources. In addition, Northwatch and several others provided additional comments.

Click HERE to view the ENGO statements.
Click HERE to view Northwatch's submission.

February 2009


Tembec Pleads Guilty to Charges Under the Fisheries Act

Tembec  appeared before a Quebec Court judge on May 15 and pleaded guilty to charges of having deposited a deleterious substance (final effluent from the biological treatment system) into the Ottawa River 16 times between April 9, 2003, and December 14, 2004, in violation of subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act. In addition, the company twice failed to monitor final effluent from the biological treatment system. Lastly, between March 1 and June 14, 2004, the company partially ignored a direction issued by an inspector under 38(6) of the Fisheries Act requiring the implementation of measures to prevent further deposits of deleterious substances from occurring.

The $750,000 penalty that Tembec was ordered to pay consists of a $250,000 fine and a $500,000 payment to the Environmental Damages Fund, administered by Environment Canada. The payment to the Environmental Damages Fund will be used to promote rehabilitation projects. Local community and environmental groups will have an opportunity to submit project proposals for the funds. The Environmental Damages Fund ensures polluters take responsibility for offences and gives courts a way to guarantee that money is directly invested to improve the quality of the environment.

Northwatch News, Summer 2006

Forest File - June 2005

Forest Sector Competitiveness Report Draws Mixed Reviews

MNR Announces Biodiversity Council

LCC Snapshot: Nipissing Local Citizens Committees

Salamanders - sensitive, secretive indicators of forest health

Intensive Forest Management Research Underway in Northeast


Forest File - February 2005

Biodiversity Strategy Under Development for Ontario

MNR Drops Proposed Wood Supply Amendment

LCC Snapshot: White River Area Co-Management Committee

Proposed Management Strategy for Ontario Wolves

Forestry by the numbers - Northwatch Holds Workshop on Forest Modeling

Independent Forest Audits - A Check on the Forest Management Planning System

Updated Forest Management Planning Schedule



Sierra Legal Releases Citizens Guide to Certification

Sierra Legal Defence  Fund  has released "Understanding Canada's Forest Certification Schemes: A Complete Guide to Filing Appeals and Complaints". This report shows concerned  members of the public how to become engaged in the increasingly important issue  of forest certification.

Across Canada and internationally,  logging companies have increasingly been challenged to respond to public demand  to protect and preserve the environment, and the need to maintain their market  share, by pursing forest certification. While the Forest Stewardship Council  (FSC) logo is the only certification mark conservation groups and First Nations  accept as credible for the promotion of sustainable forest management, other  industry-supported systems have proliferated in the marketplace. The guide  released today shows the public the nuts and bolts of these different  certification schemes and walks through the process of challenging claims that  certification means sound forestry.

Copies of the report can downloaded  from the Sierra Legal website at: http://www.sierralegal.org/publications. html

Northwatch News, Winter / Spring 2005

Forest File - October 2004



Revised Forest Management Planning Manual Released

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

Forest File, October 2004



Wanted: Old Trees

Ancient Forest Exploration and Research is seeking examples of old trees of each species native to Ontario. They intend to publish the final list of Ontario's oldest trees on the website of Ancient Forest Exploration & Research, and it will likely form part of an upcoming book on old-growth forests in Ontario. AFER is interested in currently living trees in Ontario, recently dead trees, and historic records of trees, which have been accurately aged using ring counts.

All submissions are welcome. Visit www.ancientforest.org for more information or send an email inquiry to  mhenry@ ancientforest.org or write to 633 Aylmer St. N. Peterborough ON, K9H 3X2.

Northwatch News, Fall 2004.



New Planning Process Launched for Temagami

The Ministry of Natural Resources launched a new planning process for the Temagami area on June 25th. Intended to integrate the planning needs of five provincial parks, eight conservation reserves, and crown land recreational uses, the two year exercise will address commitments made in the 1997 Temagami Land Use Plan for recreational planning, as well as satisfying the outstanding need for parks planning. Three different but integrated management plans will be developed.

Temagami is known throughout the world for its rugged landscape, old-growth forests and cultural, recreational and natural resources. The Temagami area is popular for wilderness camping, with more than 2,400 kilometres of canoe routes. One-sixth of Temagami's 103,000 hectares is wilderness or waterway provincial parks, with 41,000 more hectares of conservation reserves around the parks.

 A 1995 user survey estimated 60,000 visitor-days of wilderness canoeing and backcountry travel in the Temagami area, with 40 % occuring within the five parks. The majority of travel into the parks and conservation reserves begins at access points on crown land a considerable distance away. Use is expected to increase. The resulting management plans will serve as guides for protection and management of resources, visitor use, and overall development within the parks and conservation reserves over the next 20 years. A Crown land recreation plan will address specific management issues related to recreational use of Crown land within the  Temagami Land Use Planning area.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has indicated that they expect that the integrated plan will address a wide range of issues, including the distribution of recreational users, maintenance of backcountry canoe routes, environmental protection  and restoration, and the protection of natural and cultural heritage features.

Email comments or requests to be included on the mailing list to TIP@mnr.gov.on.ca or call MNR District Planner Rick Calhoun at 474 5546 or faxing to 475 5500.

A public review of background information will begin this fall, with final plans in place in 2006.
 

Northwatch News, Summer 2004



Forestry Maps Available On-line

The Sierra Club of Canada and Global Forest Watch Canada have undertaken a joint project to collect and make available on-line Forest Management Plans maps developed by forest companies operating in Canada's forests.

The maps made available on-line are intended to be a resource for anyone who is interested, including those working on conservation issues.

According to a disclaimer on the web site, the maps are a product of the forest management planning process and are intended to summarize the proposed harvest operations for the 5-year term and management unit indicated on each map. These maps and associated plans are normally renewed on a 5-year cycle. In most cases, only the outside boundary of the entire 5-year harvest area is shown. Individual trees and other internal blocks of trees that are required to be left unharvested are not necessarily shown. Actual harvest methods are not indicated.
To view the maps and other project info, visit www.globalforestwatch.ca/managementplans/on.htm

Northwatch News, Summer 2004


July 2004 Forest File

Intensive Forest Management - Five Years After the Forest Accord    (link to July 2004 Forest File)

New Forest Management Planning Manual to be Released September 1    (link to July 2004 Forest File)

LCC Snapshot: Wawa and Sault LCC's Working Together on Algoma Forest    (link to July 2004 Forest File)

April Workshop on Ecological Objectives a Success    (link to July 2004 Forest File)

Summer Workshop Tour August 16-25    (link to July 2004 Forest File)

Campers' Association Opposed to Herbicide Spraying Takes on Alternative Approach (link to July 2004 Forest File)



April 2004 Forest File

Provincial Wood Supply Strategy Predicts Impending Shortages   (link to April 2004 Forest File)

RAC Looking at Access Issues   (link to April 2004 Forest File)

LCC Snapshot: Temagami Local Citizens' Committee   (link to April 2004 Forest File)

Crown Land Use Atlas Provides On-line Access to Land Use Policies   (link to April 2004 Forest File)

Proposed Amendmment to the Temagami Land Use Plan - Comment Period Ends  May 2   (link to April 2004 Forest File)

Forest Certification - Who is Doing What?   (link to April 2004 Forest File)




MNR Releases Wood Supply Strategy - Comment by March 10

A Provincial Wood Supply Strategy draft proposal was released in February for a 30 day comment period, ending March 10th. The strategy, by the Ministry of Natural Resources description, 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.

The Strategy has been developed by the MNR in conjunction with the forest industry and the Partnership for Public Lands. The Provincial Wood Supply Strategy will replace the Regional Wood Supply Strategies which was posted on the EBR registry in November 2002 and published as an approved policy in April 2003.

The requirement for a Provincial Wood Supply Strategy was an eleventh hour addition to MNR's revised Class Environmental Assessment Approval for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario. The Strategy is also linked to the Ontario Forest Accord through the Room to Grow recommendations of the Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board. That Board has recommended that the Strategy include the utilization benchmarks.

Key concerns are that the provincial wood supply strategy will be used to trump other values - including ecological objectives - in the forest management planning process.

Copies are available on-line at <http://ontariosforests.mnr.gov.on.ca/spectrasites/internet/ontarioforests/publications.cf m#ebrproposals> or by calling (705) 235-1183. Comment deadline is March 10.



January 2004 Forest File

Forest Management Planning Manual Revision Underway  (link to January 2004 Forest File)

Roads and Water Crossing Report Released (link to January 2004 Forest File)

Forest Management Plans under Preparation for 2004, 2005 and 2006 (link to January 2004 Forest File)

FSC Assessment Underway for Certification of Romeo Malette and Smooth Rock
Falls Forests (link to January 2004 Forest File)

CSA Certification Being Sought for Iroquois Falls and Nighthawk Forests (link to January 2004 Forest File)

Recovery Strategy for Ontario's Woodland Caribou (link to January 2004 Forest File)
 



Timiskaming White Pine on the Chopping Block ... Again

The Ministry of Natural Resources has announced an October 23rd deadline for comments on a proposed "minor" amendment to the 2001 Forest Mangement Plan for the Timiskaming Forest, which will incorporate the White Pine strategy proposed by the Timis- kaming Forest Alliance. The strategy includes logging some of the few remaining old growth white pine forest ecosystems in Temiskaming District, outside of those in provincial parks.

The White Pine strategy was first proposed as part of the 2001 plan, but was not approved by the Ministry of Natural Resources, following objections by Northwatch and the Temiskaming Environmental Action Committee. Issues included the rarity of pine on the landscape, commitments to a moratorium on the cutting of white pine by MNR and industry in 1995, the failure of the forest industry to do any of the followup research which would have allowed reconsideration of a harvest strategy, and the absence of any evidence that the white pine strategy proposed would not further diminish the pine component of the forest. TEAC and NW have reviewed the revised strategy, which is being used as the basis of the proposed amendment, and find no significant improvements.

Comments should be forwarded to Bill VanSchip, MNR, fax 705 568 3200 or email bill.vanschip@mnr.gov.on.ca

Northwatch News, Fall 2003


New Forest Mangement Environmental Asssessment Order

In early July, the Ministry of the Environment  released their "Declaration Order" okaying the Ministry of Natural Resources' proposal to "extend and amend" the 1994 Timber Class Environmental Assessment Approval. After receiving 603 written comments on the draft version, MOE made one change from the draft, by adding a reference to the Forest Accord's "room to grow" strategy.

In a significant change from the 1994 Timber EA approval, the new Declaration Order does not have an expiry date. A five year report will be produced, but with no accompanying public review. Another significant change is that the term for a forest management plan has been extended from 5 years to 10 years, beginning with plans to be approved April 1, 2007.

The Declaration Order came into effect immediately for Conditions 27 to 55, but Conditions 1 to 26 will not come into effect until June 25th, 2003, after the Forest Management Planning Manual has been revised.

Northwatch News, Fall 2003


Forest Management Planning Manual Under Revision

The first 26 conditions of the newly amended and indefinitely extended Class Environmental Assessment Approval for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario (it's a new name, but no shorter than the old one) will require amendments to the Forest Management Planning Manual in order to both detail and actually implement many of the changes resulting from the Timber EA review and the Ministry of the Environment approval.
Key changes include an extension of the planning term from 5 years to 10 years, with operational planning occurring in two 5-year phases, and a change to the management unit annual reporting by including enhancements ( ie. additional information)at Years 3, 7 and 10. The road planning system has also been the subject of major changes, including changes in road classification and planning requirements.
MNR is in the process of revising the manual, and released a very preliminary working draft version this summer for internal MNR and industry review. A posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry is anticipated later this fall, with June 2004 the anticipated date for completion.  The new manual is expected to be used to prepare forest management plans for those forest management units with plans scheduled for implementation on April 1, 2007.

Northwatch News, Fall 2003



MNR Gets Green Light on Open-Ended EA Approval

On the first sweltering Friday of July, the Ministry of the Environment quietly released their "Declaration Order" okaying Ministry of Natural Resources' proposal which would replace the 1994 Timber Class Environmental Assessment Approval.

The 603 written comments provided in response to the MOE's draft declaration order appear to have had little effect. The MOE notice indicates that only one change was made, that being the addition of a reference to the "room to grow" strategy developed as an outcome of the Forest Accord,  a deal signed by 3 Toronto-based conservation groups, the forest industry and MNR in 1999.

The MOE order does not place any limits on the extent of  clearcutting or any expiry date for the EA approval.

Conditions requiring a roadless wilderness policy and the development of a conservation strategy for old growth forest ecosystems have been removed.

The term for a forest management plan has been extended from five years to ten years.

The MOE has stated that the Forest Management Planning Manual must be amended within 1 year to  incorporate Conditions 1  through 26 of the new EA decision, but neither  MNR or MOE have provided any indication of when or how MNR's internal review process  will become public.

Northwatch News Spring / Summer 2003
Ministry of the Environment Announcement, July 2003

Environmental Bill of Rights Electronic Registry Posting

Ministry of Natural Resources Announcement, July 2003

Northwatch Comments on Draft Declaration Order

Related March Posting on Northwatch Web Site




Further Revamping of Forest Mangement Rules by Ministry of the Environment

On March 13th, the Ontario Ministry of the Environment released their response to the Ministry of Natural Resources' July 2003 proposal for the revision and renewal of the 1994 Class Environmental Assessment Approval of Timber Management on Crown Land in Ontario, often referred to as the "Timber EA Approval". The Timber EA approval consisted of 115 terms and conditions, issued by an Environmental Assessment hearing panel in 1994.

Called a "Declaration Order", the MOE proposal  – if given final approval –  will replace the Timber EA approval and will provide the legal basis for forest management planning and forestry operations on crown land in Ontario.

The Ministry of the Environment sent a one page notice on March 13th to those who had previously commented as part of the Timber EA review process, indicating that the MOE proposed Declaration Order had been posted on the Ministry's web site, along with a supporting document which the Ministry described as including "a comparison between recommended terms and conditions in MNR's Review and the conditions of MOE's proposed Declaration Order". Notice of a 30 day comment period was also posted on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry, and on the Ministry of the Environment's Environmental Assessment Branch web site.

The untitled and undated report issued in support of the MOE draft Order mentions in its introduction that 155 written submissions  were received by MOE, from the public and stakeholders, in response to the MNR's July 2002 proposal. However, in the body of the report there is no discussion of the public submissions or of how they were considered when MOE was reviewing MNR's submissions and making the decisions which resulted in the MOE's draft Order. The one exception to this is a very general reference to "some Aboriginal communities have(ing) expressed the view that negotiations with MNR ... have not provided sufficient opportunities to them". For some key issues, the Ministry of the Environment provides no explanation or discussion of the reasons for the decision, or how they evaluated the MNR proposal. For example, the Ministry of the Environment makes no mention of the proposal to change the term of a forest management plan from 5 years to 10 years in their supporting document. Upon receipt of the report, many public reviewers were also disappointed to find that the "comparison chart" referred to in the letter from EA Branch, the introduction to the MOE report, and in the posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry consisted only of a listing of changes that MOE had made to the MNR proposal.

The Ministry of the Environment's draft Declaration Order is 43 pages plus a glossary, and includes 54 conditions of the approval. The conditions follow the format and generally endorses the 55 terms and conditions included in the MNR proposal, with the exception of MOE having dropped the MNR proposed term and condition (#49) that would have made up to 2% of the available harvest area available for horse logging.

The Ministry of the Enviroment has accepted the majority of MNR's July 2003 proposal, including:

The Ministry of the Environment did make some changes to the MNR proposal. Unfortunately, some of these changes made by EA Branch might be seen by Local Citizens Committees as unhelpful.

For example, in their July 2002 submission the MNR had attempted to address potential conflict of interest issues on LCC's by rewording a condition to state that "persons directly employed by the Sustainable Forest Licensee preparing the local forest management plan are not eligible members unless no other person is nominated to represent their local interest group", which the MOE then amended to state that "persons directly employed by the Sustainable Forest Licensee preparing the local forest management plan are eligible to be members, but shall not make up the majority of the Committee" (emphasis added). The MOE also made changes to MNR draft Condition 22 to allow MNR to categorize amendments without consulting the LCC, and to approve administrative amendments without consulting the LCC.

Over 600 submissions were received by the Ministry of the Environment on the MOE's draft Declaration Order. MOE staff describe a number of them as being "substantive" and say that they are now in the process of reviewing the comments and determining if changes to the draft Declaration Order are to be made. No indication of the timeline or of the types of changes being contemplated could be provided by MOE staff as of mid-May.

May, 2003
Related March Posting


Ministry of Natural Resources Finalizes Old Growth Policy

A draft Old Growth Policy for Ontario Crown Forests, released for a 30 day public comment on March 13th , has now been finalized. According the Ministry of Natural Resources' May 12th decision, both the draft policy and the March 2002 report "Old Growth Forest Definitions for Ontario" are now finalized.   MNR received 407 comments on the draft old growth policy, including 13 substantive submissions.

MNR has categorized the comments as focusing on the need for landscape level targets outside of the protected areas system (MNR has decided to proceed with establishing old growth objectives at the local level), improving old growth definitions, the role of the parks system in meeting old growth objectives, habitat for old growth dependant species, the potential impact of the old growth policy on wood supply, and the need for further consultation on definitions and on the development of the spatial modelling tools related to the implementation of the old growth policy. MNR made a number of changes to the draft policy before finalizing it, including an expansion of the discussion on old growth as habitat, and clarifying that old growth distribution, abundance and persistence will be assessed on a geographic basis.

The approved "Old Growth Policy for Ontario's Crown Forests" provides provincial direction for the identification and conservation of old growth conditions and values for major tree species or forest community associations in Ontario's Crown forests. The old growth policy and definitions were required by May 2003 to respond to Condition 103 of the Timber Class Environmental Assessment approval.

May, 2003


Temagami Forest Management Plan - Clearcuts and Roads! - Comment by May 26th

Background
The Temgami Forest is located northeastern Ontario, and development plans over the last several decades have been some of the most controversial in Canada. A renowned recreational and wilderness area and host to some of the most significant old growth forests in Ontario, Temagami has also been Ontario's symbol and prime subject of controversy and land use conflict, over logging and road construction, and their impacts on the wild areas, old growth forests and recreational backcountry. A forest management plan now being developed for an anticipated April 1, 2004 approval has all the ingredients of past controversies, particularly the key ingredients: extending the road system into backcountry wilderness areas and clearcutting of the old pine forests.

About 89 percent of the land in the area defined as the Temagami Forest Management Unit is Crown land, with about 63 percent of the Crown land available for forest management purposes. While the area is host to some significant protected areas, including the Lady Evelyn Wilderness Park and the Obabika River Waterway Park - many of the signficant wilderness areas and old growth forests are outside of the parks and protected areas system, and are vulnerable to logging operations.

2004 Forest Management Plan Schedule
Planning for the 2004-2009 Forest Management Plan was initiated in the spring of 2003. The plan is now mid- point in development, with "preferred" logging areas and new roads having been identified and made the subject of public consultation. Based on comments received (the official deadline is May 26th) a draft forest management plan will be prepared for the early fall, with approval by the Ministry of Natural Resources scheduled for (approximately) January 2004.

Key Concerns


ACTION NEEDED

By May 26th, write to the Plan Author expressing your concerns about the proposed logging and road building in the Temagami forest:

 Kevin Rankin, Acting Area Forester, Ministry of Natural Resources,  North Bay District
 3301 Trout Lake Road,  North Bay, Ontario, P1A 4L7,  PHONE: (705) 475-5524  FAX: 475-5500

Send a copy of your letter to the Minister of Natural Resources:

 Hon. Jerry Ouellette, Minister of Natural Resources
 Whitney Block, 6th Floor, 99 Wellesly Street West, Room 6630, Toronto ON M7A 1W3
 

For More information about the 2004 Forest Management Plan being developed for Temagami, contac the North Bay office of MNR. Copies of Plan objectives and proposed timber allocations are available, as well as a plan summary and summary map.

More information about Forest Mangement Planning




MOE Releases Timber EA "Declaration Order" with April 12 Deadline for Comment

The Ontario Ministry of the Environment has released their "Declaration Order", responding to the Ministry of Natural Resources July 2003 proposal for the revision and renewal of the 1994 Class Environmental Assessment Approval of Timber Management on Crown Land in Ontario. A thirty day comment period closes on April 12, 2003.

The following excerpts from the MOE notice and order summarize the MOE response:
 

The Ministry of the Environment has accepted the majority of MNR's July 2003 proposal, including: DEADLINE FOR COMMENT IS APRIL 12, 2003. ADDRESS YOUR COMMENTS TO:

                    Blair Rohaly, Project Manager, Environmental Assessment and Approvals Branch
                    2 St. Clair West Suite 12A, Toronto, Ontario, M4V 1L5
                    PHONE: (416) 314-7087  FAX: (416) 314-8452

                Send copies to:
                    Honourable Ernie Eves, Premier,  Fax (416) 325-3745
                    Honourable Chris Stockwell, Minister of the Environment, Fax (416) 314-6748

Fore more information, visit the following links:

EBR Registry Posting

EA Branch Update

MOE Declaration Order

MOE Document Comparing MNR 2002 Proposal with MOE 2003 Declaration Order

Link to Northwatch's Submission on MNR's July 17th Proposal

Link to the Ministry of Natural Resources Web Site on the Timber Environmental Assessment Review


Timber EA Review Moving Ahead

Despite an extension to the Ministry of the Environment's deadline for making a decision on the Ministry of Natural Resources Timber EA proposal, it appears there will be no expansion of the public's opportunity to participate in the next stage of the review process beyond the very minimal posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights registry for a 30 day comment period.

The next stage in the Timber EA review and renewal exercise will be the release by the Ministry of the Environment of their proposed "Declaration Order". This will be the Ministry of the Environment's response to the MNR report and proposal of July 2002, and to all of the public submissions - from other government agencies, the forest industry, and members of the public - as well as their proposal for what will become the new EA Approval. This decision will, in effect, replace the Timber EA Board decision of 1994 and become part of the legal rules by which forestry takes place in Ontario.

According to a Ministry of the Environment spokesperson, the Environmental Assessment Branch is not working to a particular deadline, other than "as soon as possible". Approximately 155 submissions were made in response to the Ministry of Natural Resources July 2002 report "A Review by the Ministry of Natural Resources Regarding the Class Environmental Assessment for Timber Management on Crown Lands in Ontario". In that 609 page report, MNR described their success (or not) in implementing the terms and conditions of the Environmental Assessment Approval over the last eight years, and outlined a number of  proposals for changes to the EA approval. The MNR proposal included a number of significant changes to the planning process for forest management on crown lands, such as changing the length of a forest management plan from five years to ten years, and creating a new mechanism which would allow the MNR to make future amendments to the EA, in some cases without any requirement for public notice or comment.

The story of the Timber Class Environmental Assessment began in the mid-1970's with the creation of Ontario's Environmental Asssessment Act. MNR submitted its first draft of its Class Environmental Assessment for Timber Management on Crown Lands in Ontario (Timber Class EA) in 1985, and a revised version in 1987. A public hearing by the Environmental Assessment Board began in 1988, and in April 1994 the EA Board approved MNR's proposal, subject to 115 terms and conditions. Many of those conditions required research, policy development, or improvements to information collection or public consultation. Cabinet approval in May 1994 made the EA approval legally binding for its term of nine years, which was to expire in May 2003. One condition required that MNR report on the first 8 years of implementation, which MNR did in July 2002 along with their proposed changes to the EA Approval.

The Environmental Assessment Branch is managing the review on behalf of the Minister of the Environment. According to the EA decision, MNR was to report by May 19th of last year, and the Minister of the Environment was to make a decision within six months of receiving MNR's report. The Ministry of Natural Resources received a two month extension to its deadline last year, moving it from mid-May to mid-July, and the Ministry of the Environment was recently granted an extension, pushing their deadline by as much as 4 months, and extending the term of the EA approval from May 18th to July 17th, 2003.

Staff at the Environmental Assessment Branch are unable to provide an estimate of when their response will be released, although outside sources have speculated on a mid-February posting on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry. The "consultation", as described by MOE staff, will consist of a public posting on the EBR registry, and release of their document, with an accompanying chart which identifies the various changes to the MNR proposal which they are recommending to the Minister of the Environment. The public will then have 30 days to comment.

February 2003



MNR Launches Crown Land Use Atlas

Ontario's new Crown Land Use Atlas was posted on the internet on December 10th for a  90 day public inspection period. The review is intended to provide an opportunity for the public to verify that the land use direction (policies and maps) in the Atlas are an accurate consolidation of MNR's existing land use direction, and to solicit suggestions of how the Atlas could be made more user friendly. An open house was held in Toronto the day of the on-line launch, with a formal presentation and live demonstration of how to navigate the Atlas and an explanation of its main features and functions. No similar sessions were scheduled for northern Ontario.

The Atlas consolidates existing area-specific land use policies and plans, including the Ontario Living Legacy Land Use Strategy released in 1999, the District Land Use Guidelines, and area specific policies and strategies, such as the Temagami Land Use Plan and the Cochrane Remote Tourism Strategy. It includes a map which depicts more than 1200 individual land use areas, and corresponding reports that contain the applicable land use policies. Currently, the Atlas covers all Crown Lands in central and mid-northern Ontario - approximately the same area covered by the Timber Class EA Approval  and the Lands for Life land use planning exercise - but over time MNR intends to expand the Atlas to cover all Crown Lands in Ontario.

Using a point-and-click map (Interactive Map Browser) as its foundation, the Crown Land Use Atlas internet site also includes a Policy Index, and a detailed map series covering the planning area. An incredible source of information about existing policy and land uses plans, the site does present a number of challenges for the average user. While described as being designed to accommodate those using conventional computers and regular dial-up service, most reports, policies and maps are in pdf documents, which ranged from just a few seconds to half an hour to access on-line in recent trial runs.

At the end of the 90 day inspection period and after any subsequent revisions are made, the Atlas will become the official source of area-specific land use policies for Crown lands, and the local land use strategies contained in the Land Use Strategy and the District Land Use Guidelines will be officially withdrawn.

All Atlas materials can be viewed online at  http://crownlanduseatlas.mnr.gov.on.ca/. MNR field offices within the Ontario's Living Legacy planning area have a public inspection copy of the maps and policies for their local area. Copies of the full Atlas are available for public inspection at the Government Information Centre in Peterborough. Printed copies of the maps and policies or a CD version of the Atlas, are available for purchase.

February 2003

Northwatch Project to Support Public Participation in Forest Management Planning

Building on a decade of experience in working with local people involved in forest management planning and a 6 month pilot project in 2000, Northwatch has re-launched the Forest Project, aimed at building skills and experience in forest management planning across northeastern Ontario. The project will work with  local citizens committee members and others interested  in forest conservation and forest management planning.

Northwatch's Forest Project is focused on forest management planning in general, but, in particular, on supporting public involvement in the planning process. The Project will work with members of local citizens committees (established to provide advice to district managers in the Ministry of Natural Resources), and with members of the general public who participate in forest management planning, or would like to do so.

The Project's goals are to increase levels of public participation in forest management planning and decisions, to support members of local citizens committees by providing access to  information and expert advice, and to develop a network among forest management planning participants across northeastern Ontario through which planning participants can share experiences with each other. Ultimately, the goal is good forest management. A three person project team will sit in on local citizen committee meetings, help members access information and expert advice related to the planning process, offer local workshops on forest issues and the forest management planning process, and support the development of a network among interested LCC members.

For more information contact the Forest Project Team by calling 1-877-553-0481 or 705 475 1759 or visiting the Project web site at www.northeastforest.net. Contact:

Brennain Lloyd, email at brennain.nw@onlink.net
(North Bay, Sudbury and Timiskaming Districts)

Georgena MacDonald, email at georgena.nw@onlink.net
(Sault Ste. Marie, Chapleau and Wawa Districts)

Vijanti Ramlogan Murphy, email at vijanti.nw@onlink.net
(Cochrane, Timmins an Hearst Districts

February 2003


Planning Underway for Algoma Headwaters Signature Site

A Ministry of Natural Resources planning team recently completed a "Background Information" document and hosted community information centres related to the Algoma Headwaters Signature Site planning process.

 The 60,000 hectare area encompasses the headwaters of the Batchewana, Goulais, Garden, Montreal and Mississaugi Rivers and is located 90 kilometers northeast of Sault St. Marie and 50 kilometers  south of Chapleau.  The Signature Site  includes Algoma Headwaters Natural  Environmental Class Provincial Park,  the Goulais River and Aubinadong-  Nushatogaini Rivers Waterway Class  Provincial Parks, and the Ranger  North Conservation Reserve.

Described as "remote yet accessible "  the area features old growth red and  white pine, 175 lakes and over 200  rivers and streams, species of special  concern (peregrine falcons, wood  turtles and bald eagles), a diversity of  waterways and backcountry campsites,  and a combination of Boreal Forest (80% of the land base) and Great Lakes- St Lawrence Forest (20% of the land base) and associated plant species.
Three opportunities remain for public involvement - reviewing management options, preliminary site strategy and approved site strategy documents. Some of the planning issues that are to be addressed include: access, adjacent land uses and activities, development/commercial tourism, protection, visitor management and customer service, and research and monitoring.

For more information, to provide input, or have your name placed on a mailing list, contact Chris Caldwell, Project Manager, Algoma Headwaters Signature Site, Ministry of Natural Resources, 64 Church Street, Sault Ste. Marie, On P6A 3H3, Phone 705 949-1231 ext. 282, fax 705 949-6450 or email  chris.caldwell@mnr.gov.on.ca.

Additional information is available online at  http://www.ontarioslivinglegacy.com/  follow the links to Signature Sites. The background document is available from MNR offices in Sault. Ste. Marie, Chapleau, Sudbury, Peterborough and Toronto.

February 2003

Ministry of Natural Resources Releases "State of the Forest Report, 2001"

As a reference text, or as what the Ministry of Natural Resources calls "a first approximation", the State of the Forest Report, 2001 is a good starting point for anyone wanting to know more about the requirements for managing Ontario's Crown Forests and the methods being used by the Ministry of Natural Resources to evaluate forest sustainability.

The State of the Forest Report was written  primarily to fulfill legal requirements to  report every five years on the state of the  forest, as set out in the Crown Forest  Sustainability Act (CFSA) and the binding  terms of Timber Class Environmental  Assessment decision.

As a first report it provides an overview of  what has changed in the last decade with  respect to:

The report discusses significant laws, policies, guidelines, and operations manuals related to Crown forests and forest management planning. The text includes details concerning Ecological Land classification and refinements of tools such as electronic mapping of values, inventories, and Multi-Criteria Analysis. A full 163 pages – approximately half of the report –  is dedicated to discussing the development of Criteria and Indicators (C and I). C and I are intended to provide a means to evaluate sustainability. In his introduction to the report, however, Dr. David Basillie, professor of Forestry, U of T, provides the first of several cautionary comments that sets the stage for a lowering of reader expectations concerning sustainability benchmarks: "Actual measurement of all these indicators will require a considerable commitment. While data exist for many indicators, especially those related to timber management practices, there are many for which data have not yet been assembled, and for some indicators, assessment methods will have to be developed before measurements can begin."

This is unfortunate because beyond the need to comply with legal requirements to report is the very real need to demonstrate to the public that the Crown forests of today are managed to be sustainable. What we don't know about the forest and its capacity to thrive under present or future management options fills many pages of the report, but there is no clear indication of how these gaps will be filled.

No doubt, managing the forests for more than timber supply is a challenging job. The report works well as a historical review of the changes that were made in legislation, regulations, policy and delivery responsibilities related to managing Crown forests in Ontario. Unfortunately, the report lacks a proper  bibliography and index, which would have been helpful, given the volume and detail of the report. Even more unfortunate is the possibility that the effort put into documentation (manuals, inventories, reports, audits, establishing methods of consulting all forest users) may have taken precedence over the need for action in the form of basic research related to forest ecosystems and forest sustainability.   Perhaps as a result, as a report of the actual state of the forest, this first effort falls short.                                                                                                                          G.M.

The 336 page "State of the Forest Report, 2001" and its 45 page summary are published by the Ministry of Natural Resources. The reports are available online at www.mnr.gov.on.ca/ MNR/forests/forestdoc/sofr/. Paper copies are available at some  MNR district offices, or by calling MNR's general information number at 1-800-667-1940

February 2003

Northeastern Ontario Forest Management Plans in Preparation
 
Year
Plan Unit Plan Status Public Participation Opportunities MNR Contact Industry Contact
2004
Magpie
Stage Three 

Second Information Centre 

"The third stage gives the public the opportunity to review proposed road corridors and the proposed operations for harvest, renewal and tending including the detailed planning to protect values"

Second Information Centre will be  held April 16, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Dubreauville Municipal Building (downstairs)  Mary Lynn McKenna 
Wawa District 
T 856-2396 
Fx 856-7511 
Bruce Welbourne, 
Dubreuil Forest Ltd. 
T 884-2525 x 265
2004
Nipissing
Second Information Centres scheduled for 
April 8 Sturgeon Falls Public Library
April 9 Mattawa Legion
April 10 North Bay
Pinewood Park / Clarion Inn
All info centres are between 2 and 8 pm
Guylaine Thauvette 
MNR North Bay District 
T 475- 5539 Fx 475-5500
Norm Cottam, RPF 
Nipissing Forest Inc. tel 752-5430
2004
Temagami
Second Information Centre is scheduled for March 24 in Latchford at the Royal Canadian Legion 

March 25 in Temagami at the Catholic 
Church Association Hall

Sessions will be from 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 pm

Kevin Rankin, R.P.F., 
MNR, North Bay District 
T 475-5524 Fx 475-5500
(Crown Management Unit)

For a complete schedule of Forest Management Plans for Northeasteren Ontario, including 2005 plans for Gordon Cosens,  Iroquois Falls,  North Shore, Smooth Rock Falls, Spanish, Sudbury and Wawa-Algoma visit Northwatch's Forest Management Planning web site at www.northeastforest.net

February 2003

Ministry Moves Forward with Discussion of Intensive Forest Management

On November 9th, 2002, the Ministry of Natural Resources posted a discussion paper on "intensive forest management" on their web site for public comment.

The MNR summary included in the posting described the paper as having been developed as part of an on-going discussion of the Enhanced Forest Productivity sub-committee of the Provincial Forest Policy Committee and the Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board.  The Provincial Forest Policy Committee and the Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board, in response to a
number of Ontario Forest Accord commitments, have been "investigating the use of
intensive forest management (IFM) as a tool to increase forest productivity and
create permanent increases in wood supply to be shared between protected areas
and industrial consumption."

Comments were required by January 23, 2003 on the paper which MNR summarized as including recommendations on:
- Improving the information on which wood supply forecasts are made.
- Committing to strong monitoring protocols to monitor the effects and effectiveness of IFM activities on forest growth and on biodiversity.
- Affirming that the practice of intensive forest management will be subject to all existing legal and regulatory requirements and constraints as regular
forestry under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. Currently unapproved silviculture practices (e.g. drainage, fertilization, use of genetically modified organisms) will not be permitted unless they become regulated under that Act. The practice of IFM will be in accordance with all regulated manuals and guidelines within the Crown Forest Sustainability Act to protect forest
values.
- Supports the Room To Grow report by identifying that increased productivity will be shared between industrial use and protected areas creation.
- Promoting enhanced forest management practices through the use of contractual agreements (Enhanced Wood Supply Agreements) on up to 12% of the commercial forest land-base.
- Two pilot project areas have been initiated, one each in Northeast and
Northwest Ontario.

To find out more, view the following documents:





Review of Forestry Rules Moves to Ministry of the Environment

On July 17th 2002, the Ministry of Natural Resources submitted to the Ministry of the Environment "A Review by the Ministry of Natural Resources Regarding the Class Environmental Assessment for Timber Management on Crown Lands in Ontario". In the 609 page document, MNR gave an account of the Ministry's experience over eight years in implementing the terms and conditions of the Environmental Assessment Approval they had received in 1994, and outlined MNR's proposals for changes to the EA approval. The MNR proposals include a number of significant changes to the planning process for forest management on crown lands, such as changing the length of a forest management plan from five years to ten years.

Numerous individuals and organizations filed comments for the October 16th deadline for public comment, largely focussing on MNR's proposals for changes but also commenting on the MNR track record in meeting the legal requirements contained in the 1994 decision.

Northwatch had been an active participant in both the original EA in the late ‘80's and early 1990's, and in the review exercise over the last two years. Northwatch's concerns, filed in a submission prepared for the October 16th deadline for public comment, fell into three main categories:


The Ministry of the Environment is now reviewing all submissions, and is required to make a decision within six months. To date, MOE has not agreed to any further consultation, or to allow interveners an opportunity to respond to further submissions from the Ministry of Natural Resources.

November 2002
Link to Northwatch's Submission on MNR's July 17th Proposal

Link to the Ministry of Natural Resources Web Site on the Timber Environmental Assessment Review



 

"At Work in the Natural World: Mining and Milling Ontario's Natural Resources"
 
This paper is one in a series produced in 1999 as part of the Environmental Agenda for Ontario, a joint project of the Ontario Environment Network and the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy. Co-authored by Northwatch activists/researchers Brennain Lloyd and Catherine Daniel, the summary document is presented here, with links to the entire document found at the end of the summary.

SUMMARY

CURRENT STATUS
Two provincial ministries vie for position of top dog on crown land, each with its own mandate and set of industrial "clients". To some degree, the tension between these ministries is a reflection of the tension among public "users" of crown land, including resource industries, recreationists, fishers and hunters, and others who rely on the land for food, solace, or livelihood. Both ministries have suffered severe cutbacks in recent years, beginning under the Rae government and intensified under the Harris regime. But the third regulatory player - the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) has been hit most severely, with a 40% reduction in staff overall, and with district offices collapsed and now only one regional office in all of northern Ontario. That office, located in Thunder Bay, is now left with a service area that is more than a twenty-four hour drive from one end to the other.

In the last few years, significant changes have been made to the way crown lands are managed, and to how  management decisions are made. Three stand out in particular: an 80% roll-back of permitting requirements for (mostly industrial) activities on crown land; creation of a new land use zoning that could transfer all authority from the government (and so the public) to an individual or corporation (ie. to the private interest); and a land-use planning exercise heavily weighted to industrial uses.

Two major forces are at work in Ontario's forests, each with a common master: the unquenchable industrial thirst for fibre. The first force, fire suppression, has been in effect for the last 80 years, and its effect perhaps less easily measured. The second force, the mechanical "harvesting" of trees for fibre, has been in place for only the last few decades, and its effect enormous. In combination - although there is little argument that the timbering practices are the greater source of impact - these two forces have changed the face of the forest. For example, in the boreal forest, spruce has dropped from making up 18% of the forest to only 4%, while hardwoods have jumped from 6% to 19%. In the Great Lakes St. Lawrence, white pine has been reduced to less than 2% from its pre-industrial estimate of between 30 and 40% And so the species composition  is being severely skewed.

The crisis is not limited to the natural communities. Human communities too, with their reliance on the forest as a source of employment, recreation, and food, are being adversely affected by the changes being borne by today's forest, perhaps most measurably by dropping employment levels in the forest products industry. Over the last several decades, the amount of forest cut has steadily increased, while the level of employment in the forest industry has steadily decreased. This ratio - profitable for the major forest companies, but dissatisfying from any social or environmental perspective - is a result primarily of mechanization in both the timbering operations and the mills. Other influences have been the concentration of capital, as smaller companies are bought up by larger ones, and of mills being over-built (that is of having more capacity than they have supply).

Ontario continues to have the largest metal mining sector of all the provinces in Canada, and accounts for one-third of national mineral production, with 41 metal mines in operation and another 16 in stages of advanced exploration.  But the legacy - over 6,000 inactive or abandoned  mines - are as much a part of the picture as the current production, each with safety and environmental hazards that must be remediated, but with no funding allocated to do so.

A major feature of mining is that it produces an extremely high volume waste: waste in the form of rock, or rock that has been crushed into fines at the mill and rejected, called tailings.  Most base and precious metals are found in ore bodies at concentrations of only a few percent, even tenths of a percent.  A typical Canadian metal mine rejects 42% of total mined material as waste rock, 52% as tailings, 4% as slag, with the remaining 2% comprising the "values" for which the ore was mined. Most ore that is mined contains metal sulphide mineralization, so the rock is crushed, and exposed to oxygen and water, it begins to oxidize producing sulphuric acid.  The acid further dissolves metals in the rock and creates acidic drainage containing potentially toxic metals.  This phenomenon is known as Acid Mine Drainage, and it is the mining industry's greatest environmental liability.  Federal estimates of cleanup costs for acid mine drainage at existing mines are between $ 2 billion and $ 5 billion .

Provincial regulations have been weakened, while environmental costs of mining activities are continually escalating.  For example, in 1995, the Ministry of Environment and Energy amended the MISA regulation to "clarify" the non-application of the regulation to closed mine sites. In 1996, changes to the Mining Act exempted mines from having to gain Ministry approval for mine closure plans, and made the requirments for posting financial assurances to cover the costs of mine closure discretionary.

On average, one of every four mines either failed toxicity tests or had a temporary exemption from MISA regulations for the winter of 1997 and the spring/summer of 1998. Industry is now proposing that toxicity monitoring under MISA remain "as a legal requirement, but that non-lethal effluents be identified as an objective under the regulation rather than a compliance requirement." - in short, that the bar be lowered in this standard as it has been in so many others.
 

CAUSES OF THE PROBLEM
While the problems are diverse, some of the root causes are the same: lack of community or public control over public lands and the public resource; contined de-regulation or lowering of environmental standards; concentrations of corporate ownership, many of them international companies with no ties to local communities or relationship to the lakes, rivers and forests being impacted by their operations. Mechanization has resulted increased production and so increased pollution in the mineral sector, and increased rates of harvest and physical impacts on the forest floor and composition in the forest sector. In both sectors, the role of mechanization has been to reduce the workforce and to further concentrate access to the resource, through the increased capital demands of automated operations. And in both sectors, over-consumption, the force of global markets in driving and keeping prices down, and the failure to conserve the resource through re-use and recycling of products have had their forceful effect.

AGENDA FOR CHANGE
The forests' future does not have to be bleak. Choices must be made, but the choices are there. In essence, we can go two routes: the route of the status quo, or the route of the second chance.The route of the status quo means more of the same - increasing cut, decreasing jobs, an increasingly more stressed and disturbed forest, fewer opportunities for economic diversity and ever diminishing forest diversity.

The route of the second chance means just that - a second chance at building community stability, at restoring forest health, at achieving sustainability for the human and natural communities. What would it look like? Forest management practices would put the forests first, and profits second, or even a distant third to healthy woods and a full workforce. Decisions would be made for the longer term, with community involvement and scientific support. Local economies would be diversified, with wild food gatherer, the eco tourist operator and the logger planning for the shared needs of the community and each other. Timber supplies would be tied to local communities, and value added and high value wood products would be the focus of an industrial strategy which was value-based rather than volume-based.

In the mineral sector, decisions about mineral development must be brought into the realm of public influence - to borrow from the trade tables, there should be a "level playing field" among the various interests on crown land, and mining should no longer rule supreme.  Mining activities should be regulated in an open and transparent fashion, with a high standard of care demanded for the lands and the waters that mining activities affect.  This means no discharge of toxic effluent, no net loss of habitat, and reclamation of mine sites.  This means the "right to mine" claimed by industry and granted by government for the last century must be reconsidered within a reasonable array of rights - rights to a healthy environment, rights of the natural environment, and rights to clean air, water and land.

Minerals are durable and can be effectively recycled.  Ultimately, we must examine the role that minerals and the mineral development industry should play in a sustainable economy and society. Gains can be made through reduction in consumption, eco-efficient extraction, production and design, and maximizing rates of metals recovery and re-use.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

1. Strengthen the public role in decision-making around activities on crown land, including the disposition of crown lands, forest management activities, and access for mineral exploration and extraction.

2. Ensure that aboriginal lands uses and rights are secure, and that aboriginal communities and First Nation forestry operations have fair access to both the timber resource and resource management decision-making, have influence over decisions related to mineral development, and have opportunities for co-management.

3. Complete the system of protected areas, ensuring that Ontario's natural systems are represented across the province, and that areas are of sufficient size and integrity to allow natural processes to take place, such as fire. These areas must be free of mining, logging or hydro-electric development.

4. Establish a process to replace corporately owned Sustainable Forest Licenses with community forest authorities, which plan for a mixed local economy and a mix of forest uses, including recreation, scientific study, tourism, gathering, careful timbering, and responsible mining.

5. Require forest management companies to demonstrate that their operations are sustainable, and give priority to those operators which bring the greatest benefit to the community (ie. Value-added activities, employment levels) and which are least reliant on an expanded road network and/or use of pesticides.

6. Complete the inventory and site assessments of abandoned mines.  Provide adequate funding (e.g. unfreeze and increase mining taxes) to begin reclaiming high priority sites.  Identify companies owning inactive mines and require them to complete mine closure at their expense. Establish a joint government-industry fund to reclaim remaining sites.

 7 Enforce a schedule for compliance for mines to meet discharge requirements, including toxicity testing.  Design and apply regulations that address effluent discharge at inactive, abandoned and closed mine sites.

 8 Use and reuse natural resourcees - including forest fibre and  minerals - more efficiently.

Link to the full text of "At Work in the Natural World"


TORIES UNLEASH LIVING LEGACY

Sudbury's Science North was the scene for the provincial government's March 29th 1999 unveiling of the Living Legacy, hailed by all assembled supporters as the triumphant conclusion to the divisive "Lands for Life" land use planning process which had rocked meeting rooms around the province for close to two years.

Earlier this year, the previously public process had gone private, and discussions moved to a backroom for negotiation among the major forest companies, a coalition of 3 environ-mental groups, and the Ministry of Natural Resources. The result was the "Forest Accord", a 5 page document outlining a shared commitment to increase the parks and protected areas in the planning area to 12%, as well as a commitment to support the renegotiation of forest management standards and rules for forest management practice on crown land.

But the Forest Accord told only part of the Living Legacy story. The March 29 announcement also included a "Proposed Land Use Strategy", the government's response to the consolidated recommendations of the three Lands for Life regional round tables, and a fistful of announcements contained in  media releases and back-grounders. No single document tells the full tale, and, indeed, the story changes from one document to the next (for example, the Forest Accord describes the protected areas as free of mining, logging and hydro-electric development, while the other documents clearly declare many of the
"protected" areas open to mineral exploration and mine development).

KEY POINTS

Protected Areas Changes to Forest Management Standards and Regulations Concessions to the Forest Industry Concessions to the Mining Industry Fish and Wildlife Hydro-Electric Development Future Land-Use Planning First Nations
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