Unspoiled beauty is one of the greatest recreational
attractions of the Missinaibi River. The river's
provincial waterway park designation protects
its corridor from active logging and mining,
but forestry is permitted in areas such as
the Chapleau Crown Game Preserve surrounding
Missinaibi Lake and the river's upper reaches.
While visitors arriving to cottages and resorts
in the Preserve by road, rail and boat are
unlikely to notice the effects of large-scale
timbering, fly-in guests will have a full
view of clear-cut areas not far from major
The Ontario forestry industry is regulated
by a complex combination of federal and provincial
regulations, provincial guidelines and policies,
and industrial codes of practice. These regulations
are designed to ensure that commercial logging
activities do not interfere with recreational,
water quality, wildlife, fisheries and other
forest-related values. Among the legislative
acts and guidelines:
Fire Emulation: A Clear-Cut Matter?
As logging equipment has become
increasingly efficient and technically
sophisticated, clear-cutting -
the complete removal of all trees
in a designated forestry area
- has become the dominant logging
practice in northern Ontario.
Controversy has surrounded the
practice of clear-cutting large
areas using a pattern of logging
that is designed to mirror the
burn pattern of a forest fire.
The "fire emulation ecosystem
approach" seeks to avoid
hard, square edges to the logged
area, creating a ragged, uneven
boundary similar that left by
a naturally-occurring forest fire.
Its goal is to protect wildlife
and biodiversity in the forest
by making logging disturbance
mimic the effects of a natural
Critics of the fire emulation
approach suggest that unlike clear-cuts,
forest fires leave some trees
standing, allowing them to continue
to act as terrestrial habitat
and preventing large-scale erosion.
They are concerned that government
approvals based on the fire emulation
approach are leading to clear-cuts
that exceed maximum allowable
Some logging companies are using
a selection-harvesting approach,
leaving dead trees standing, and
stumps left knee-high to encourage
regenerative growth. They are
also establishing seed orchards,
in which foresters gather cones
from black spruce and use the
seeds to replant harvested areas.
Forest Sustainability Act - Requires the
management of forests in a way that sustains
environmental values, economic values and
social values. Forestry companies must undertake
provincial government-approved 5-year Management
Plans and 1-year Work Schedules resulting
from these plans. Logging companies must also
adhere to site-specific environmental protection
requirements outlined in "cut approvals."
Forestry plans must be written in accordance
with a detailed Forest Management Planning
Manual. "Areas of Concern," identifying
at least 1 forest value such as wildlife,
tourism or cultural heritage may be established,
resulting in the creation of an "AOC
Reserve" that is described and mapped
in forest management plans.
Forest and Timber Management Guidelines
- Specific guidelines regarding protection
of fish and wildlife habitat have been developed.
They are binding on forestry operators only
to the extent that they are incorporated into
legally binding documents such as Forestry
Management Plans and Work Schedules.
Environmental Guidelines for Access
Roads and Water Crossings - Guidelines
are designed to minimize the adverse effects
associated with roads and water crossings.
They are often incorporated as a legally binding
requirement through conditions of the provincial
Public Lands Act.
of Practice for Timber Management Operations
in Riparian Areas - Stipulates a buffer
zone adjacent to water bodies, and prohibits
the deposition of debris in water bodies and
on banks. "Riparian Reserves" protect
small creeks and streams, requiring that a
narrow filter strip of undisturbed forest
floor or vegetation be left on the banks of
water bodies, except where necessary to cross
While Ontario's forestry industry is subject
to almost 20 different legislative acts, sets
of guidelines and codes of practice, some
environmental groups have raised concerns
about industry compliance, violations, and
resources allocated to government inspection
and enforcement. Environmentalists are urging
industry and government to make full use of
existing legislation to minimize the negative
impacts of logging, which can include:
Loss of forest cover, resulting
in loss of habitat for birds and wildlife.
Soil compaction caused by heavy equipment
used in logging operations.
in cut-over areas during spring snowmelt and
heavy rains, resulting in sedimentation that
destroys fish feeding and spawning habitats.
Dumping of logging debris into lakes,
streams and rivers that creates obstacles
to fish movement and destroys spawning grounds.
Road construction that alters wildlife
corridors, and encourages an influx of hunters,
anglers, prospectors and recreationalists.
Waste accumulation from logging vehicles
and machinery, including tires, oil, batteries
and work camp debris.
The Northern Ontario boreal forest
accounts for 76% of the province's woodland.
About 90% of Ontario's woodlands are
publicly owned. Of the total forest area of
690,000 square kilometres of forest, 560,000
square kilometres are considered productive,
and 329,000 square kilometres are licensed
The most prominent
forestry districts in Northern Ontario are
Thunder Bay, Kenora, Kapuskasing, Sault Ste.
Marie, Cochrane, Timmins and North Bay.
Northern Ontario is home to 17 of the
province's 35 pulp and paper mills, and 41
of 47 principal sawmills.
produces all of Ontario's annual market pulp
production (1.2 million tonnes) and 7% of
its newsprint (1.4 million tonnes).
The forestry sector accounts for 77% of manufacturing
jobs in Northern Ontario.
97% of Ontario forest product exports are
shipped to the United States. In 1999, Ontario
exported $8.9 billion worth of products, with
newsprint accounting for 16% of the total,
softwood lumber 12%, and wood pulp 12%.
Value-added forest products, such as
furniture, specialty papers, flooring and
building components, are becoming an increasingly
significant feature of the Ontario export