KEY FACT: Area 415 is part of the Greenmantle Forest Inc.’s Forest Management Plan (FMP) for the Lakehead Forest (an area that stretches from Quetico Park east to Black Bay). To view the FMP and associated maps and documents, visit the MNR’s webpage here.
KEY FACT: The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Forest Region in Northwestern Ontario, which is primarily deciduous, comprises a mere 10% of our forests in Northwestern Ontario. The other 90% is boreal, which is primarily coniferous.
KEY FACT: Section 2.7 of the MNR’s 1993 Policy, “Strategic Directions for Management of Ontario Crown Land,” states the following:
Underlying MNR’s Crown Land management activities are the guiding principles that:
º A healthy natural environment and ecosystem integrity are essential co-
requisites to sustainable development and prosperity; they must be regarded as
º The needs of both present and future generations must be provided for.
º Land is the base for many renewable and non-renewable natural resources and
must be “managed” with due regard for all resource objectives, including those
for aquatic environments, through an ecosystem approach to stewardship.
The full document may be viewed on the Ontario MNR website here.
KEY OBJECTION: The Ontario MNR has granted Greenmantle permits to harvest a total of 396,000 cubic meters of wood. Of this total, 144,000 cubic metres is to be coniferous, and 252,000 cubic metres is to be hardwood (aspen, birch, black ash) – harvested primarily from areas southwest of Thunder Bay, in the vicinity from Whitefish Lake westward to Northern Light Lake and from the U.S. border, north to the boreal forest. As you can see from the numbers, almost 64% of their total allotment (the hardwood trees) will be harvested from an area that only comprises 10% of our total forests. This is destroying biodiverse habitat at an alarming rate, and is unsustainable.
KEY OBJECTION: To add insult to injury, a very high percentage of the deciduous forest clear cuts have been and continue to be replanted with conifer species, thus upsetting the natural balance of the Great Lakes St. Lawrence forest and reducing the deciduous species numbers significantly. In turn, this eliminates essential habitat for numerous species of birds and animals.
CURIOUS DISCREPANCY: The figures provided by Greenmantle and MNR indicate a curious discrepancy between species harvesting quotas and species reforestation plans. Greenmantle is permitted to harvest a total of 396,000 cubic meters of fibre, of which 64% is to be hardwood and 36% softwood. However, Greenmantle’s/MNR’s suggested planting ratios are the following, (quoted from the recent CBC interview):
“The Ministry of Natural Resources said there are specific re-generation goals for forests, including the one around Prelate Lake. It says about 40 per cent of the trees should be hardwood, about one third softwood, and less than a quarter mixed forest.”
The hardwoods in this case are mostly the aspens/birches/ashes from the deciduous and mixed forest area, and the softwoods are mostly conifers. Even if hardwood “stems” give up more fibre than softwoods when processed (a question we need to gather more info on), it certainly appears that softwoods (coniferous) species are being reforested at a greater rate than they are being harvested.
PUBLIC REPORT: You may view the 2011 Sustainable Forestry Initiative Report here. It was compiled by a third party certification body, QMI Sai Global. In this report, Greenmantle’s practices in the Lakehead Forest during the 2011 review period are recorded. The review noted two “Major Non-conformances” and one “Minor Non-conformance.” A Major Non-conformance is defined as “pervasive or critical to the achievement of the SFI objectives.” These Non-conformances had to do with audits and inspections, which are certainly essential in proving that environmental standards are upheld. What damage to our forest ensued, before these breaches were corrected?
TORONTO STAR ARTICLE: The Toronto Star published a scathing article early in 2015 describing the objections fisheries biologists raised to Ontario’s “guide to clear-cutting”, published in 2010. Their biologists’ objections, apparently, were ignored, and plans were fast-tracked. See the article here.
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