The Revised Forest Management Manuals Now in Effect
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) revised forest manuals came into effect on July 1, 2017. The process for public comment began in January 2016, when the proposal was posted on the EBR for a 60 days comment period and then again on June 10, 2016 for an additional month. The manuals were approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council on April 12, 2017.
The three manuals comprise of the Forest Management Planning Manual, the Forest Information Manual and the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual. NOTO did a comprehensive review of the proposed changes and submitted comments on the EBR. The input coming from NOTO focused on a number of important areas which are essential for tourism values especially. Recommendations to improve the forest information manual were:
- Expanding the provisions to allow for request testing to be measured against the Crown Forest Sustainability Act AND any other pertinent regulations or directives that can affect resource based management.
- Upgrade the record management system to provide for inclusion of all resource records and to ensure that all records were made available.
- That values be tied to a broader geographic location rather than a specific location for areas that do not have a complete and acceptable land use plan.
- Improve the standards for values information by making a provision within the Forest Management Planning Manual and the Forest Information Manual to include and protect non-specific values.
- Enabling a third party, such a tourist outfitter, to identify and report new values, assist to correct the location or description of previously identified values, or confirm that a value no longer exists.
- Making provisions in the precautionary principle that allows for direction to be provided to truly protect values.
The list goes on, unfortunately none of the recommendations provided by NOTO were taken into consideration into the revised forest information manual.
The revised forest management planning manual (FMPM) now contains a section on the Resource Stewardship Agreement. It is contained in section 1.1.4 of the manual and reads:
Resource Stewardship Agreements
The Tourism and Forestry Industry Memorandum of Understanding is an agreement between the government, the tourism industry and the forest industry on the development of resource stewardship agreements and related matters.
To initiate the development of a resource stewardship agreement, the sustainable forest licensee will write a letter to each resource-based tourism operator in or adjacent to the management unit whose interests or uses may be affected by the preparation and implementation of the new FMP or previous FMPs. An updated list of resource-based tourism operators, both those with facilities on the management unit and those without facilities who use the natural resources of the management unit, will be provided to the sustainable forest licensee by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport.
The MNRF’s forest management guide relating to the protection of resource-based tourism values provides guidance for the development of specific proposals and prescriptions related to forest management activities in a resource stewardship agreement. The prescriptions developed in a resource stewardship agreement will be available for review by the public and First Nation and Métis communities during the preparation of the FMP.
The MNRF will ensure that the parties are aware of the opportunities for the public and First Nation and Métis communities to review specific proposals and prescriptions in a resource stewardship agreement related to forest management activities.