ACPWP97 UPDATE ON SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT AND CERTIFICATION - Canada
April 1997 FO: ACPWP 97/6-Rev. 2

ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON PAPER AND WOOD PRODUCTS

THIRTY-EIGHTH SESSION

Rome, 23 - 25 April 1997

UPDATE ON SUSTAINABLE FOREST MANAGEMENT AND CERTIFICATION

Example from a developed country - Forest and Forest Industry in Canada

ABSTRACT


Management of Canada's forests evolved through Aboriginal use, then under the influence of European settlement and development. Aboriginal life was based largely on hunting and gathering activities. In most regions they used fire to influence patterns of vegetation to encourage the plants and animals on which they depended. These fire-influenced areas were more extensive than previously recognized. When the Europeans arrived, their initial focus was on furs. This was soon followed by interest in masts for ships and seapower, then timber for trade, and land clearing for settlement. The forest initially seemed limitless, and was cut and burned without much concern. However, by the time of Confederation in 1867, interest in conservation and protection began to be expressed, and by 1910 forest services had been established and programs for fire control and timber management had begun. Under terms of Confederation, the provinces were granted authority over the public forests. Ninety-four percent of Canada's forests are in public ownership.

But our forests had characteristics that made forest management difficult to achieve: 1) they were vast, 2) they were diverse, and 3) with few exceptions, they were strongly influenced by forest fires and other disturbances. Forest fire posed a consistent threat to forest-based activities.

Not until the 1950s did we have aerial photographs and complete mapping of forest areas, and with growth and yield data in the early 1960s that enabled more rational calculation of allowable cuts. Great strides were then made to achieve sustained yield forest management, and new forests were established after harvesting, with a longer-term goal of a more "normal" age class distribution. By 1987 Canadians realized there was more to forest management than the normal forest, and steps were taken to define sustainable forest management and to determine ways to achieve it. This was done through a series of national consultations involving a wide range of interests, including governments, industry, forestry practitioners, Aboriginals and conservationists. Some of the more notable were the National Forest Strategy 1992, Forestry Round Table Principles 1992, UNCED - Rio Summit 1992, Canadian Council of Forest Ministers - CCFM - Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management, and Canadian Standards Association - A Sustainable Forest Management System.



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