The government and the forest industry to return the ball

News 17 August, 2017
  • Anne Caroline Desplanques

    Wednesday, 16 August, 2017 23:06

    Wednesday, 16 August, 2017 23:06

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    The provincial government denies having assigned the rights to cut timber during the moratorium is supposed to protect the habitat of woodland caribou.

    Until 2013, “the industry had forest planning in the hands,” says Francis Forcier, forest engineer and strategic manager in the department of Forestry, Wildlife and Parks in Québec (MFFP).

    It is only after the moratorium of the boreal Agreement that had been signed by the companies and environmentalists, between 2010 and 2012, that the State has taken control of the public forest and began to assign territories to cuts, says the official.

    Prior to that, “they [the companies] had all of the possible latitude to decide where they were going,” insists Mr. Forcier.

    Mr. Forcier, who had hitherto refused the interview requests from the Journal, was reacting to a story published Wednesday in our pages. A spokesman for the industry stated that he operate on the ground with the green light from Quebec.

    Except that the engineer of the ministry highlights of his side that, prior to 2013, adherence to a moratorium on cutting was the full responsibility of the companies, and the State could play no role, all the more that he was excluded from the boreal Agreement and the First Nations.

    Protected area

    In January, the engineer had told the Newspaper that the government would announce this year a protected area in the area of the White mountains, north of the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, an area very frequented by the caribou.

    Eight months later, Mr. Forcier provides that” it is very, very advanced in the folder “. It would be a large protected area of over 10 000 km2.

    Pier-Olivier Boudreault, a biologist at the Society for Parks and wilderness (CPAWS), press Quebec not to delay.

    “The cuts are really at the door of the White mountains and there are plans to cut in some areas in the interior north of the reservoir Manawan,” he says.

    Nearly 280 000 hectares of forest have already been felled in the sector between 2001 and 2010, according to analysis of satellite made by Global Forest Watch.

    Climate change

    “If the designation of large areas of protection reducing the possibility of forest, and it might impact us,” says for its part, Karl Blackburn, a spokesperson for Resolute Forest Products.

    He argues that the industry must adapt to climate change that may move the forest.

    In fact, several softwood species of commercial as jack pine, white spruce, larch and tamarack, and balsam fir “would present a high risk of declining more than 20 % of their range of reference,” according to a government study.