Endangered Species Act (ESA) and Woodland Caribou Habitat Regulation
The iconic woodland caribou is classified as threatened with extinction. Ontario Nature is challenging the proposed exemption to the ESA that grants industries like forestry, mining and hydro full access to most of woodland caribou habitat. Ontario’s caribou have lost 50% of their historic range since 1880 – a staggering 35,000 square kilometres per decade. If this rate of loss continues, scientists predict woodland caribou are at risk of disappearing from Ontario by the end of the century.
Community Forestry Tenure
Since the inception of the Northern Ontario Sustainable Communities Partnership (NOSCP) in 2006, Ontario Nature has participated in dialogue and workshops led by the group in response to the forest industry crisis in northern Ontario. The NOSCP has been a strong supporter of community-based forestry practices and has seen the recent economic downturn in the forest industry as an opportunity to focus on ways we can achieve long-term sustainability for forest ecosystems and communities in Northern Ontario.
In support of the NOSCP’s position on the need for community tenure in forestry, Ontario Nature provided comments throughout the forest tenure reform process led by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Specifically, we supported:
- The proposal to create new local forest management Boards to plan and manage forests, understanding that the Boards must be mandated to develop and support long-term sustainable benefits to local communities from public forests, and to address a range of community and environmental values.
- The need for a detailed transition strategy, based on input from First Nations and local communities, to be presented with the final tenure reform proposal, including transition funding to support communities taking over responsibilities for forest resource management.
- The need for details regarding revenue sharing with First Nations as a component of the overall pricing system.
- The development of an Aboriginal Opportunities Fund, where a portion of Provincial Government revenue would be diverted to Aboriginal forest resource enterprises and training.
- The need to shift the emphasis of northern sustainable development from “global competitiveness” to one of “local resilience”.
- The need for northern citizens to be the key beneficiaries of economic development of northern forests.
- The need to open up discussions regarding Annual Allowable Cut among the Province of Ontario, local forest management Boards and the public, and to require an evaluation of lowering the AAC to ensure sustainability and allow for more diverse uses of forest resources, including forest conservation.
Post-harvest caribou habitat regeneration study with AbitibiBowater
With support from the Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund and the National Science and Engineering Research Council, Ontario Nature, in collaboration with AbitibiBowater, Inc. has conducted field research on the impact of regenerating logged areas on moose and woodland caribou populations.