Originally Published in the April / May 1994 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.
The following is a Press Release from the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Ontario took a major step today toward becoming a North American leader in ensuring the long-term health of forest ecosystems.
Natural Resources Minister Howard Hampton today released “The Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests)”. The policy framework shifts the management of Ontario’s forests from one focusing mainly on timber values to one which looks at the forest as an ecosystem.
“I intend to introduce new legislation for Crown forests based on the principles found in the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests,” said Mr. Hampton. “This policy sets out a vision for forest management which considers all forest values, and not just timber.”
The Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests sets out a goal for Ontario’s forests: “To ensure the long-term health of our environments, while enabling present and future generations to meet their material and social needs.”
“The policy framework is an historic first for Ontario. The framework outlines principles for sustaining forests, strategic objectives for forest sustainability and the essential steps toward ecosystem management,” Mr. Hampton said. “We need sustainable forests to ensure sustainable forestry jobs and sustainable communities.”
The policy framework is the result of a study completed by the Ontario Forest Policy Panel, known as the Diversity Report. Over a 16 – month period, panel members talked to more than 3,000 people from across the province about the importance of Ontario’s forests. The final report represents a remarkable consensus of all forest users, from forest companies to environmentalists.
“The Diversity Report provided us with insights and directions for managing forests on a ecosystem basis. I want to thank the panel again for its work,” said Mr. Hampton.
“Through the new policy framework and new legislation, the people of Ontario will see significant improvement over time in the way we, and all users of the forest, manage the long-term health of our forest ecosystems.”
New legislation will provide one mechanism for achieving sustainable forestry. Through new legislation, MNR will be able to set standards for renewal, silviculture and other aspects of managing forests on an ecosystem basis, and set out stronger mechanisms for achieving compliance and effective penalties for non-compliance.
The policy framework will also guide the new business relationship with the forest industry currently being negotiated by provincial facilitator Robert Carman.
“This is an exciting and far-reaching achievement for Ontario,” said Mr. Hampton. “By pursuing sustainable forestry, we will meet our responsibilities to sustain our forests, sustain forest communities and jobs, and continue to contribute to the health of the global environment.”
“We are confident that the global community will welcome our initiatives to sustain our forests,” said Mr. Hampton.