THUNDER BAY – Today, the Province of Ontario released its proposal for changing the way Crown timber is to be managed, priced and sold. The proposed framework would create new independent Local Forest Management Corporations (LFMCs), require wood to be sold at market-set prices, remove forest companies from control over public forests and return profits from wood sales to investment in the forest.
“We support the government’s proposed framework” says Jeremy Williams of Arborvitae Environmental Services, a co-author of a recent paper on forest tenure and pricing. “The changes will encourage investment and innovation, strengthen communities, and support forest sustainability. In addition, the move to sell wood at market prices will encourage its efficient use and enable Ontario businesses to protect themselves from US trade sanctions.”
“We are also very pleased to see that profits from wood sales will be re-invested in the forest” says Tom Clark, a co-author of the paper and forestry consultant.
Further work needed
The government should extend the scope of the products the new LFMCs to include carbon and other non-timber products. “In many areas of Ontario forest values like recreation and ecosystem services may be higher than those for wood and the new companies should be able to choose to sell these products as well as wood” said Clark.
Government should limit its role in running the new LFMCs. “We are eager to see the government commit to staying out of the day-to-day operation of these new LFMCs” added Williams. “Government should set up the governance rules and then should let them figure out how to do business” Williams concluded.