Originally Published in the April/May 1994 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.
The following is a Press Release form the Ministry of Natural Resources.
Natural Resources Minister Howard Hampton today announced a measure that will restore and renew Ontario’s forests through greater and more stable funding for reforestation and increased participation by local citizens in forest management.
The Government of Ontario intends to set up a Forest Renewal Trust Fund with Ontario’s forest industries and establish a new stumpage system that will guarantee greater funding for the regeneration of the province’s forests.
“The forest renewal trust fund will provide a significant new mechanism for increasing the investment in the future of our forests, forest industries and communities,” Mr. Hampton said.
“The Forest Renewal Trust Fund, combined with efficiencies that flow from the new business relationship with the forest industries, transitional funding and continued MNT support for reforestation, will deliver a higher and more stable level of investment in forest renewal than ever before. This is good news for our forests and good news for forest jobs.”
Mr. Hampton said, “The new stumpage system being negotiated with the forest industries will be market sensitive, like the current system. It should assist in defending against future U.S. countervail actions and will take into account the ability of forest industries to be competitive. It will provide assured regeneration funding for all harvested forests through the Forest Renewal Trust Fund, and it will provide a fair return to the people of Ontario for the timber harvested by forest companies.”
Details on the new stumpage system are part of negotiations on a new business relationship currently under way with Ontario’s forest industries.
“The development of a new business relationship with Ontario’s forest industries offers a remarkable opportunity to provide greater investment and more secure funding for renewing our forests,” said Mr. Hampton. “There will be an approved standard for forest renewal and strong enforcement procedures to ensure that compliance with forest renewal standards occurs. We also see a new business relationship providing more economic stability for forest industries and forest dependent communities.”
Forest renewal in Ontario has historically fallen short of full reforestation. The Ministry of Natural Resources has been allocated funds every fiscal year for reforestation efforts. These dollars have traditionally been insufficient to plan and complete regeneration on all areas harvested.
“The goal of a new system is to ensure every hectare of forest harvested will be renewed to provincial standards,” Mr. Hampton said.
To ensure that this year’s spring renewal program goes ahead and that MNR continues to meet its existing obligations for forest renewal as the negotiation on the new business relationship progress, the province will provide transitional funding.
A key element in the new business relationship will be the creation of citizen’s committees to enhance cooperation between local communities and forest industries. Citizen’s committees will be set up to involve communities in developing forest management plans, helping to set local reforestation and ecosystem objectives and performance measures, and resolving local resource conflicts.
Mr. Hampton announced last week that the province intends to introduce new legislation to achieve sustainable forestry. He also announced the Policy Framework for Sustainable Forests for the future management of Ontario’s forests. With these two initiatives - the adoption of a sustainable forest policy and new legislation – Ontario will be a North American leader in sustaining the long-term health of forest ecosystems.
Negotiations with the forest industries are being undertaken by Robert Carman, a former secretary to Cabinet, who was appointed provincial facilitator for these negotiations by Mr. Hampton in May 1993. Negotiations will proceed first with forest companies that have Forest Management Agreements with the province. These companies represent the largest forest companies in Ontario. There will be a phase-in period to put new business relationships fully into place. Negotiations with other forest companies will follow.
“Both the environmental community and the forest industries have been telling us that we need to do more to ensure that our forest ecosystems are sustainably managed and fully renewed. Through these discussions we will create the working relationships and funding mechanisms needed to guarantee forest renewal,” Mr. Hampton said.