August 25, 2014, OTTAWA – Canada’s provinces can improve resource stewardship in the boreal forest by better integrating the activities of industries operating there, says a new Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) report examining the implementation of ecosystem-based management in Canada’s boreal.
“An ecosystem-based approach provides real opportunities to improve the sharing of information and approaches among jurisdictions and economic sectors so that we can accelerate our goal of achieving leading best practices and sustainable management of Canada’s boreal forest,” said Diane Roddy, coordinator of the CBFA’s Goal 1 National Working Group.
A core component of an ecosystem-based approach to forest management is understanding the natural range of variation in the structure and composition of forests. That knowledge is then used to guide forestry practices and help with establishing strategies for maintaining natural levels of various forest attributes across the landscape.
The CBFA commissioned the study to understand the barriers and opportunities to developing and implementing world leading forestry practices in the different provinces, which is one of the CBFA’s key goals.
The report provides a detailed review of the implementation of ecosystem-based forest management in seven provinces: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Its findings include the fact that there is on-going progress towards an ecosystem-based management approach across Canada, as well as significant variation from one province to the next. There is also a disconnect between ecosystem-based management at the strategic level and the on-the-ground implementation of it, particularly in integrating land use planning and addressing the cumulative effects of all industries.
The report concludes that there are a number of best practices for ecosystem-based management that are feasible regardless of which provincial regulatory regime or certification system companies are operating under. These include:
- Applying principles of Integrated Land Management across sectors.
- Establishing the Natural Range of Variation as a strategic benchmark to guide planning for conservation and development.
- Co-operating to advance scientific understanding of cumulative effects and climate change impacts.
- Developing spatially explicit forecasts and monitoring outcomes so that management can be continually improved as new information it gained.
“Under the CBFA, one of our goals is to make Canada a world leader in sustainable management of the boreal, and this report highlights ways we can move forward in achieving that goal,” said Lorne Johnson, facilitator for the CBFA’s Goal 1 National Working Group.
“The CBFA is the perfect vehicle for this kind of work. We’ve already made tremendous progress in advancing collaboration between the forestry industry, environmental groups, communities and governments. This report shows that more of that kind of cooperation is what’s needed to ensure we are taking the best possible approach to protecting the boreal and ensuring the sustainability of the communities that rely on it.”
The CBFA is the world’s largest conservation initiative. It seeks to conserve significant areas of Canada’s vast boreal forest, protect threatened woodland caribou, and sustain a healthy forestry industry for the communities who rely on it for their livelihood. The agreement acknowledges that governments are the final authority and that Aboriginal peoples and their governments have treaty rights and title in the boreal forest, as well as legitimate interests and aspirations for it. Successful implementation of the CBFA requires the effective involvement of both groups.
Current signatories to the CBFA include seven leading environmental organizations, the Forestry Products Association of Canada and its 18 member companies, and Kruger Inc. It directly applies to more than 73 million hectares across the country, making it the world’s largest conservation initiative.
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The following are signatories to the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement:
Environmental Organizations (ENGOs):
Canadian Boreal Initiative, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), David Suzuki Foundation, ForestEthics, The Nature Conservancy, The Pew Charitable Trusts International Boreal Conservation Campaign and the Ivey Foundation.
Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., AV Group, Canfor Corporation, Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership, Cariboo Pulp & Paper Company, Conifex Timber Inc., Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd., Fortress Paper Ltd., Howe Sound Pulp and Paper Ltd., LP Canada Ltd., Mercer International, Millar Western Forest Products Ltd., Resolute Forest Products, Tembec Inc., Tolko Industries Ltd., West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., and Weyerhaeuser Company Limited — all represented by the Forest Products Association of Canada, which is also a signatory. Kruger Inc. is also a signatory.