Ottawa – A major step has been taken toward improving forestry practices in Canada’s Boreal Forest, through collaborative work by environmental and industry signatories of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA).
The forestry companies, all members of the Forest Products Association of Canada, have announced their commitment to using an innovative forest management approach that aims to recreate the effects of natural impacts on the landscape, such as fire, wind, insects and other natural disturbances. By attempting to harvest trees in patterns that more closely resemble these natural events — the so-called natural range of variation (NRV) — the approach effectively takes its cues directly from nature, and uses the latest knowledge about the structure and compositions of ecosystems to guide forest management activities.
“The development of science-based guidelines for implementing natural range of variation principles is a significant step toward realizing an ecosystem-based approach to forest stewardship in the CBFA tenures,” says Dr. Fiona Schmiegelow, Senior Science Advisor to the CBFA. “These areas are key contributors to the integrity of boreal systems in Canada.”
A built-in evaluation process has been included so that new knowledge, for example around climate change, as well as social and economic considerations, will be continually incorporated into the approach.
Successful implementation of this blueprint for managing forests to the natural range of variation requires the effective involvement of the public, governments and indigenous peoples. The forest industry companies involved will submit this approach as technical input to the provincial forest management planning processes that they are already part of, and will also seek further dialogue.
This is a voluntary commitment by the FPAC forest products companies that is on top of their commitment to sustainable forest management certification.