Guide Towards Sustainable Management of the Boreal Forest

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However, research is necessary to adapt the treatments to the species and stand conditions that will optimize the growth response in the tree residual stands. A new study from the Canadian boreal forest for the first time investigates new silvicultural treatments in the context of ecosystem management published Oct. The results demonstrate that the experimental shelterwood and seed-tree methods are effective treatments to promote the growth of residual trees.

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This research identified forest structure, edge effect and growth before cutting are key parameters for optimizing the radial growth performance. Consequently, the authors recommend the inclusion of these variables in the silvicultural planning and forest management:. An edge effect on growth response has been demonstrated for the first time in black spruce even-aged stands; this suggests caution in the interpretation of traditional growth studies, in which spatial distribution or position classes of the trees were typically not taken into consideration. The growth before cutting was one of the most influential variables in the growth response, and it helped to understand that dominant trees manifest a better growth response.

However, previously suppressed trees experienced the greatest growth ratio before and after cutting, especially in edge position and younger stands. Quantifying the response in tree growth following partial cutting treatments is essential for the planning of the long-term timber supply within the context of sustainability of forests to conciliate ecosystem management with wood production. Thus, these studied treatments could be considered as a silvicultural alternative for the implementation of sustainable forest management in the boreal forest although more research is necessary to study the effects of experimental treatments on mortality, regeneration and resilience.

Note: Content may be edited for style and length. In some countries, ownership is even more fragmented.

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In Germany, for example, the average size of privately owned forestland is estimated to be only 3. The basic principles underlying sustainable forest management in Europe, were set-out and agreed during the Helsinki Process now also called the Pan-European Process to establish criteria and indicators for sustainable forest management in Europe.

According to the Helsinki Process, operational level guidelines for sustainable forest management should be looked upon as being in a state of continuous improvement. Nature conservation groups are encouraged to participate in this process of improvement and, hence, to influence the development of European criteria and indicators. As noted above, there are a huge number of small private forest owners in Central Europe. This implies that any attempt to introduce a certification system in Central Europe should therefore, if it is to be realistic, consider certifying groups of owners at a regional level.

Germany provides a good example of the development of certification in Central Europe. In Germany, the German Forestry Council Deutsche Forstwirtschaftsrat has been involved in a dialog with partners from both industry and the NGOs at national and international levels.


They hope to reach consensus about a workable certification mechanism around the end of They have stated that certification in Germany should be based along the following lines:. The German Forestry Council states that the overall principles guiding the sustainable management of forests in Germany must be based on German forest and environmental legislation. They consider this a fundamental aspect of the system that will eventually be developed.

They also note that sustainable forest management means more than sustainable wood raw material supply and should also consider the importance of forests for soil, groundwater, climate, biodiversity and recreation services. However, the Council considers the responsibility for the management of forests to meet economic objectives, to be completely in the hands of the forest owners.

The Council also stresses some other very important points, which they consider must be included in a certification system:. Canada has million ha of forest, of which million ha or more can be considered as commercially viable. About million hectares of this commercial forest is in the boreal forest zone and the remainder is in the temperate forest zone. About million ha, or just over half of the commercial area, is currently managed for timber production. Most forests in Canada are publicly owned see Figure 1. Some , private forest owners own the relatively small proportion of the forest estate that is in private hands.

Until a few decades ago, forest harvesting in Canada was carried out with little regard to the concepts of long-term planning and future wood supply. Vast areas accumulated that had been previously harvested and were now in very poor condition. More effective silviculture programs, aimed at securing forest regeneration and regrowth, now seem to be implemented almost everywhere.

In for example, about million tree seedlings were planted throughout Canada.

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Figure 1: The current distribution of forest ownership in Canada. These reforestation programmes have yet to make an impact though and, because of the earlier lack of attention given to reforestation after harvesting, the Canadian forest industry which largely operates in the boreal forest must still mostly rely on wood from untouched natural forests to meet demands. In many regions this is likely to be the situation for a very long period of time but, in most provinces, there are still large new areas that can be utilised for industrial roundwood supply as noted above.

However, these areas are becoming increasingly remote. Furthermore, in some eastern provinces, the past lack of attention given to reforestation continued for so long that, given current levels of industrial roundwood demand, future wood supply problems are already foreseen. This situation will last until the recent improvements in reforestation have an impact on final felling volumes at the end of the next harvesting cycle. Any organisation seeking to register a defined forest area under this system must be periodically audited by certified third party auditors, who will assess whether:.

An example of one forest management system following this approach is given in Box 2. This environmental policy states that, in maintaining an environmental management system, the company through its employees shall:. Management activities are based on the principle of landscape ecosystem management, appropriate silvicultural treatments and special conservation measures to protect wildlife habitat, social culture and scenic values.

2.2 Forest growth simulation and timber revenues

Depending on the different ecosystems present in the managed forest, the wood harvest is carried out in the form of:. The management practices also consider nature conservation including forest stand level attributes, such as riparian buffers, wildlife corridors, residual tree clumps, coarse woody debris retention, correct forest road construction and careful stream crossing techniques. The nature conservation goal is to preserve the natural occurring plant and animal species in the forest landscapes.

The approach is:. Ecological landscape planning is carried out to maintain connectivity of ecosystems and provide a variety of landscape elements through:. Department of Natural Resources employees two forestry personnel and two biologists conduct this audit.

Sustainable Forest Management Practices

To better judge the industry's views about the current state of sustainable forest management in Canada, a questionnaire was sent to several large Canadian forest product corporations and forest leaseholders. Their opinions about the present sustainable forest management process in Canada are summarised below:. Another source of information about the current implementation of sustainable forest management in Canada is the study on private woodland owners in the Maritime Provinces, 6 recently published by the National Round Table of Environment and Economy NRTEE.

The conclusions of the report can be summarised as follows:. To overcome these problems, the report proposes a number of steps towards achieving sustainability including: increasing co-operation; better education and training for forest contractors and owners; and incentives for sustainable management. In summary, it suggests that tax reform, research and development, greater co-operative efforts, better training, a forest certification system and codes of forest practice, are needed.

The total productive forest area in the United States of America is about million ha and is largely privately owned see Figure 2. Forestland owned by the wood processing industry is often intensively managed, particularly the forest plantations in the Southern States. Consequently, the timber harvest is, on average, about three times as higher per ha than in private forests. However, this is nowhere near enough to secure adequate future wood supplies for the forest processing industry.

As a result of this situation, the forest industry in the United States of America has realised that it is important to help non-industrial private forests owners to both intensify their forest management while, at the same time, meet sustainable forest management standards. Figure 2: The current distribution of forest ownership in the United States of America. This program comprises a comprehensive system of principles, guidelines and performance measures that integrate the sustainable growing and harvesting of trees with the protection of wildlife, plants, soil and water quality.

AFPA members have agreed to practise sustainable forest management at all levels of their operations by carrying out a number of activities including the following:. As part of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, a number of guidelines have also been formulated for the implementation of sustainable forest management:.

Broaden the practice of sustainable forest management by involving: non-industrial landowners; loggers; consulting foresters; and company employees who are active in wood procurement, in extension and assistance programs. With the support of the Secretariat, these working groups act as liaison between CBFA signatories and governments, Aboriginal governments, communities, and stakeholders. Government and First Nations representatives are increasingly integrated directly in the working groups.

Measuring the outcomes of an agreement on the scale of the CBFA can be challenging, but the agreement signatories have assembled a team of leading scientists, headed by Dr.

Boreal forest platform

The fact that the CBFA signatories have agreed to use an independent committee as the arbiter of what is the best available information is another innovative feature of the agreement. Prior to the CBFA being in place, both environmentalists and industry tended to use science as ammunition—each interest group would choose the facts that suited their purpose and use them to support their own interests. I knew what my point of view was.

I looked at science to provide ammunition to let my point of view prevail. As such, the CBFA signatories are becoming adept at tailoring their outreach efforts to capitalize on their varied interests, networks, skills, and capabilities. Working effectively sometimes recommends unilateral engagement, based on who has the best relationships.

For example, in Manitoba, conservation groups have a close relationship with the provincial government, so they have occasionally taken the lead on discussions with government. In other locations, such as Alberta, it is industry which has occasionally taken the lead.

It has taken years of sustained effort to reach the position in which CBFA signatories now find themselves, where they have moved beyond cooperation and compromise to a truly collaborative relationship. The CBFA secretariat has ensured that each working group has received training in interest-based negotiation to establish a foundation for productive discussions.

Among the challenges facing the prospect for large-scale, cross-sectoral collaboration is that institutional funders usually have a rigorous, investment-like approach to choosing projects. The CBFA has a diverse funding base—the majority of funding to date has come from the signatories themselves, supplemented by government funding, as well as individual funders.

The infrastructure and processes to support the agreement are in place for the most part, and the work being done under the CBFA is beginning to produce concrete results. Once implemented, these recommendations would exclude over , hectares of critical habitat for boreal woodland caribou from harvest. The remaining 2. This action plan will not only conserve forested areas that are home to critical caribou habitat, but will also allow for increased harvesting in areas where caribou have not been present for some time.