January 23, 2003

Mr. Chuck Mason, Policy Advisor, Forest Industry
Forest Policy Section, Ministry of Natural Resources
70 Foster Drive Suite 400
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, P6A 6V5

EBR Registry Number: "XB02E7001"

Sent by fax (705) 945-6711

Dear Mr. Mason:
 

Re. Northwatch Comments on the EBR Posting Inviting Public Comment on
"Towards Enhanced Forest Productivity - A Discussion Paper by the Provincial Forest Policy Committee", dated February 26, 2002

The Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) posted an information notice to on the Environmental Bill of Rights electronic registry, inviting public comment on the content a discussion paper prepared by a combined subcommittee of the Ontario Forest Accord Advisory Board and the Provincial Forest Policy Committee on intensive forest management. The notice provided a brief political background to the paper's development, generally described the contents of the paper as including recommendations and discussion related to "examining ways to employ intensive forest management practices that will enhance forest productivity that may address wood supply shortfalls for the forest industry", and included web links to related information, including the discussion paper. The notice was posted on December 9th, 2002 and invited comments to be submitted by January 23, 2003, after which the "comments received from the public on this discussion paper will be used by the EFP subcommittee in further exploration of the concepts, and by the MNR when eventually considering provincial policy direction". The notice indicates that any policies that are developed as a result of the recommendations made to the Minister will be posted on the EBR Registry for further public review and comment before they are adopted, but does not indicate how the public will be involved in any interim discussions.

Northwatch is pleased to provide brief comments on the discussion paper at this time. For the most part, we intend to restrict our comments to brief remarks with respect to the recommendations that have been put forward. However, we would like to preface those remarks with the following comments which are of a more general nature:

Recommendation 1: Amendments to legislated regulatory processes should be considered in order to clarify processes to be followed when land use changes are contemplated or proposed. Such proposed amendments, all of which will be subject to public consultation before implementation, are intended to entrench the spirit and intent of the Ontario Forest Accord into the regulatory framework. Recommendation 2: Specific geographic areas within Sustainable Forest Licences encompassing up to 12% of the provincial commercial forest land base should be available to be designated as Enhanced Wood Supply Agreement (EWSA) areas for the purposes of enhancing forest productivity through IFM. Individual EWSAs, while based on a provincial template, must be flexible enough to reflect the strategic wood supply requirements of the specific forest management unit for which they are negotiated.
 


Recommendation 3: Forest Resource Licence holders and beneficiaries of Ministerial Directives must have the right to be members of Forest Management Planning Teams for the development of forest management plans across the province. Forest Resource Licence holders and beneficiaries of Ministerial directives must, in collaboration with the Sustainable Forest Licence holder, have the opportunity to develop and implement EWSAs on those forest management units on which they depend for their wood supply.

Recommendation 4: EWSAs, through their spatially explicit appendices, must respond to the strategic wood supply requirements of all participating proponents represented on the Forest Management Planning Team. The forest management plan process, through the Management Planning Team, must identify win-win opportunities that will promote voluntary participation in EWSA development and implementation. Recommendation 5: All the terms and conditions of an EWSA, including incentives, must
conform to the requirements and obligations of the North America Free Trade Agreement.


Recommendation 6: The quality of growth and yield data needs to be improved to more
accurately evaluate the effects of silvicultural treatments.

i. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the forest industry should use EWSAs as tools to validate the accuracy and reliability of growth estimates for IFM on the larger management unit.
ii. The Ministry of Natural Resources and the forest industry should expand current
efforts to establish a rigorous system of growth and yield monitoring.

Recommendation 7: The implementation of IFM activities through EWSAs should be governed by the following set of principles, that will be presented to the Minister of Natural Resources for further consideration:
§ IFM activities must be sustainable at the landscape, forest and site levels.
§ IFM must be distributed across the landscape in a pattern that minimizes landscape biodiversity impacts when measured at the management unit level.
§ Incentives, and not regulation, should cause IFM to be focused within EWSA areas.
§ Monitoring of IFM activities on EWSA areas must be thorough and appropriately
sensitive to allow meaningful inferences about effectiveness and ecological effects.
§ EWSA areas are intended to increase volume and growth of high-quality wood and wood
products and to facilitate the more intensive use of knowledge and silvicultural activities
to improve, restore, and diversify the forest.
§ EWSA areas are intended to be managed intensively. This requires intensive collection
of data, the application of intensive silvicultural techniques, intensive protection
measures (legal, biological, economic), and intensive monitoring over time.
§ EWSA areas must be geographically explicit and should be selected on the basis of
accepted criteria (e.g. productivity, site appropriateness for specified activities, proximity
to mills, access, consideration of values, minimized user conflict, etc.).
§ The beneficiaries of IFM on EWSA areas should share the costs and benefits of its
implementation. Benefits can encompass an array of values beyond strictly wood
production.
§ The objectives and desired outcomes of IFM activities must be developed at the
management unit level, and must reflect the requirements of all licensees on that unit.
§ Specific objectives and outcomes developed at the management unit level must be
consistent with provincially approved practices. Recommendation 8: Existing forestry practices currently approved for use in Ontario should continue to be the tools of choice for IFM on EWSA areas, and should be carefully controlled and monitored to ensure proper and effective application. Any new practices contemplated for use on EWSA areas must first be subject to environmental and public review and approved within the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual in accordance with the Crown Forest Sustainability Act. Recommendation 9: Two 2-year pilot projects, one in Northwestern Ontario and the second in Northeastern Ontario, should be implemented to develop, test, refine, and debug EWSAs on selected management units. These pilot projects will serve as transparent testing grounds to allow.for scrutiny and evaluation by all forest stakeholders. The Enhanced Forest Productivity Subcommittee should serve as the steering committee for these pilots.
  Recommendation 10: Incentives to encourage and accelerate the implementation of IFM on EWSA areas should be developed and evaluated. Once refined and accepted, these incentives should become part of the provincial framework within which local EWSAs are negotiated. The proposed incentives are:
§ access for the proponents to any incremental increases in Available Harvest Area
attributable to IFM activities on EWSAs. These increases will be shared between
protected areas and industrial consumption;
§ sharing of costs of EWSA implementation between the government and the proponent;
§ enhanced protection of the investments made in IFM against fire, insects and disease;
and,
§ compensation for investments made by one proponent of an EWSA in the event of non-performance by another Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the February 26, 2002 draft of "Towards Enhanced Forest Productivity - A Discussion Paper by the Provincial Forest Policy Committee". We look forward to seeing future iterations of this or related discussion pieces.

Yours,

Brennain Lloyd
Northwatch

cc. Mr. Gord Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario