Conservation group says there is more than 1.2 million m3 of wood available for sharing
Toronto- CPAWS Wildlands League has identified vast areas of public forest that could be used to conserve threatened woodland caribou and diversify the local economy in northwestern Ontario. The study based on publicly available data reveals that over 2 million hectares are not needed by Resolute Forest Products (TSX: RFP) to sustain current logging levels in the Caribou, English River, Black Spruce and Dog River-Matawin Forest Management Units.
Even if the Montreal-based company increased current logging levels to full industrial capacity there still would be over 1.2 million hectares that could be set aside for conservation and other uses, the study concludes. Historically, it’s highly unlikely the company has ever reached full utilization.
“Over the last few years, Resolute has publicly and vigorously claimed that conservation efforts, specifically for caribou, threaten forestry jobs and forest communities”, says Janet Sumner, Executive Director of CPAWS Wildlands League. “The numbers don’t back that up. Not only does there appear to be plenty of fibre for Resolute’s facilities but also for conservation and growing local, smaller-scale forestry enterprises,” Sumner added.
“Resolute cites wood supply forecasts that don’t reflect the reality on the ground as a justification for adopting inadequate caribou conservation measures through its Forest Management Planning and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification processes,” says Dave Pearce, Forest Conservation Manager for Wildlands League and author of the study. “Our study shows wood supply has not been an impediment to conservation action for the last 6 years,” Pearce adds.
The Black Spruce, English River and Caribou Forests overlap with the Brightsand Caribou Range, which is at a high level of risk based on current disturbance and a declining population trend.
The group says that it is imperative Resolute take immediate concrete action to improve the condition of the range and conserve the woodland caribou population. Under the federal Species-at-Risk Act, all provinces and territories are required to have plans in place to recover their boreal caribou populations by 2017, based on the 2012 Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou (Rangifer tarandus caribou), Boreal population, in Canada.
“With over 1.2 million hectares of forest surplus to Resolute’s capacity in NW Ontario, the company has the capacity to put forward meaningful, science-based, conservation proposals for caribou that prevent expansion of logging disturbance,” states Sumner. “We also call on the company to fully support FSC and publicly recognize that a healthy economy and a healthy environment for species at risk can coexist. Resolute has enough wood to share for both caribou and communities.”
See the CPAWS Wildlands’ study at: www.wildlandsleague.org/no-conflict.
For interviews, contact: Dave Pearce, Forest Conservation Manager & author of study at 416-659-4407 mobile.
Wildlands League is a not for profit conservation organization in Ontario, Canada and a chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. Learn more about us at www.wildlandsleague.org.