How do we determine when, where and how to harvest? It all begins with careful, comprehensive planning.
Canadian forest products companies operate in a highly regulated environment with active enforcement by federal, provincial and local government partners. In fact, the Canadian boreal forest is one of the world’s most resilient and most regulated forests. Forest management planning ensures we’re operating responsibly and keeping the boreal healthy for future generations.
Here’s a snapshot of the fundamental elements involved in forest management.
Determining sustainable harvest levels
To ensure forests continue to provide timber sustainably, harvest volumes are determined according to strict limits and standards. Foresters maintain inventories using a variety of methods, including on-the-ground and aerial monitoring — the latter from aircraft with high-precision digital imagery, drones and satellite-based laser technologies. In Canada, governments determine sustainable harvest levels based on the best available scientific data.
Consultation and planning
In Canada, as required by provincial laws and regulations, 20- or 25-year forest management plans are updated every five years in collaboration with government and other stakeholders. Public consultation is part of the planning process and critical for the development of collaborative forest management strategies. This ensures that social needs and values are satisfied and sustained.
The primary responsibility for forest management planning in Quebec lies with the provincial government, which is also responsible for the public participation process. As such, Resolute has long collaborated with Quebec’s Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, recently divided into two new ministries: Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks; and Natural Resources and Forests.
In Ontario, there are different forest tenure models. Resolute directly manages forests under one of these models, the Sustainable Forest License (SFL), which is granted for a period of up to 20 years and subject to a five-year review. Resolute is also a board member and shareholder of two entities it does not manage directly – an SFL and a forest management corporation – both of which provide the company fiber from Crown Land. In addition, we work proactively with our partners, including mayors and chiefs from northern and Indigenous communities, to provide provincial governments with important feedback on forest-related matters, such as recreational uses and species-at-risk management.
Forest certification and fiber tracking systems help to ensure the sustainability of our fiber supply, biodiversity conservation and maintaining various ecosystem services. A total of 100% of Resolute-managed woodlands are third-party certified to at least one internationally recognized forest management standard: Sustainable Forestry Initiative® (SFI®) or Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). A significant portion of our externally sourced fiber is also certified to one of these standards, or to the American Tree Farm System® (ATFS) standard.
These standards aim to protect biodiversity, water quality, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with exceptional conservation value. They require us to work only with suppliers who are trained in the use of best management practices for timber harvesting and who commit to being accountable for implementing these practices. This helps ensure that environmental concerns, such as protection of water quality, soil and endangered species, are addressed throughout our supply chain.
External forest management audits for SFI and FSC are conducted at our operations on a yearly basis.
The provincial governments of Quebec and Ontario have their own systems for monitoring compliance with laws and regulations governing public forests. Compliance inspectors verify our woodland operations for everything from riparian buffer distances to drainage facilities, noting any regulatory non-compliance. In Ontario, a combination of government and forest products industry compliance inspectors identify instances of non-compliance and, where possible, companies are given an opportunity to rectify the situation. Close and continuous monitoring ensures that Resolute’s compliance rates remain above the industry average.
Regeneration after harvesting is a key element of sustainable forest management. In Canada, all harvested areas must be regenerated. A large majority of these areas regenerate naturally, and the remaining portions are promptly reforested via seeding or planting of seedlings. Responsibly managing timberlands, using wood before natural disturbances occur, and salvaging wood after natural disturbances have occurred can safeguard the forest’s natural life cycle and ensure its sustainability. To learn how Resolute uses drones for seeding and mapping operations, read our blogpost, ‘Resolute Adds Drones to its Ontario Seeding and Mapping Techniques.’
For over 200 years, Resolute and its predecessor companies have been transforming a renewable resource into products we all use. We recognize that the long-term future of our company and the communities in which we operate depends on the responsible management of the natural resources in our care. Forest management planning is the framework that makes it possible.
To learn more about forest management planning, visit the ‘Forestry and Fiber Sourcing’ page on our website.
Source: The Resolute Blog