Conservationists hopeful about forest management plans

Barb Sweet
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Conservationists are lauding the province for withdrawing the central Newfoundland forest management plan from the environmental assessment process.

“We see it as a good news story, or a lukewarm one anyway,” said Ian Goudie of Canada Parks and Wilderness Society-Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter (CPAWS).

The withdrawal of the five-year operating plan for forest management districts 10, 11, 12 and 13  includes Abitibi lands.

Goudie said the environmental assessment process wouldn’t have been comprehensive and he hopes more public consultations and less concentration on cutting fibre alone will be part of future considerations.

He contends the Department of Environment has been rubber-stamping the five-year forest plans.

“This is the first time one has been sent back,” said Goudie, co-ordinator for the Coalition for Sustainable Forest.

“We don’t know what is next.”

But he said CPAWS has been asking for an assessment template for the plans that would be more thorough and focus on ecosystem-based planning, including the protection of old growth forests and endangered species, such as the woodland caribou.

Goudie said the public favours using the forests for recreation and outfitting purposes over simply allocating the resources for fibre supply, which includes clearcutting.

“We are pleased that the (Environment and Natural Resources) ministers (Ross) Wiseman and (Shawn) Skinner have opted to re-evaluate this registration in light of identified concerns. We recognize that this registration falls in the wake of the auditor general’s review of forest management in Newfoundland,” said Suzanne Dooley, co-ordinator of CPAWS, in a news release.

A spokeswoman for Natural Resources said the government’s intent now is to analyze comments received by the environmental assessment division during the 45-day public review.

The plan will be revised depending on that analysis.

Natural Resources has requested an extension to the interim plan from May 30 to Dec. 31. A copy of the revised plan is expected to be submitted by June 30.

Organizations: Canada Parks and Wilderness Society-Newfoundland and Labrador Chapter, Department of Environment, Coalition for Sustainable Forest

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Abitibi

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Recent comments

  • Larry Jenkins
    April 03, 2011 - 08:17

    It is interesting that Mr. Goudie "knows" that the "public favours using the forests for recreation and outfitting purposes over simply allocating the resources for fibre supply, which includes clearcutting." The public must tell him this after they drive on woods roads, shoot moose in cutovers and pick berries on cutovers.

  • Jason Bull
    March 31, 2011 - 16:32

    From the Auditor General's report (referring to forest management)... "Not all required annual operating plans and annual returns were on file... the Department did not have an adequate system to monitor whether all required annual reports were received... was not verifying actual harvest levels. There were also no established measurable targets for all indicators in the 10-Year Provincial Forest Management Strategy and no annual report was prepared for the House of Assembly on the progress towards the implementation of its Strategy. Contrary to its 2003 Strategy, the Department neither prepared ecosystem-based planning guidelines nor reviewed the 1998 environmental protection guidelines." By not verifying harvest levels they are REALLY mismanaging. I'm quite concerned about our forest resources here on the Eastport Peninsula for some of the very same reasons John Noseworthy has pointed out. This is just one of the reason why we fought the plan to clearcut around our community during the last planning process.

  • John Baird
    March 31, 2011 - 14:23

    Yesterday evening I attended the forest management planning session in Gander for Districts 4, 5, 6 and 8 on behalf of the NL Lumber Producers Association. It was very encouraging that more than forty people attended. Unfortunately the intended agenda fell short because a few participants persisted in taking up time on their personal issues. The forest district planning process is far from perfect. It is imperative that ways be found to make it better. But often those who are most critical of the process and dispute its outcome are the very people who ambush the agenda. My advice to those people if they want a more effective process. Stop being part of the problem. Become a part of the solution.

  • Wayne Holloway
    March 31, 2011 - 13:52

    This certainly sounds positive, but, I have learned to judge the actions rahter than the words. I am fresh out of one of a series of meetings of a similar process of " forest eco-system management" for forest districts 4, 5, 6, and 8. Participants are expected to deliver an agreement on the next 5 year plans for these districts while working within a time line that is 3 to 5 months short of what it should be, and with a set of guidelines that, at best, are interim. This, in light of the fact that the process has been in place for 8 years, and following a scathing review of the process by the Auditor General. There however is hope that the new broom will sweep clean.

    • dan curran
      April 02, 2011 - 17:31

      Nothing left to cut me byes.....flown from St.j to Gander lately...upper Gambo pond is devastated