HUDSON BAY, SK, July 7, 2016 /CNW/ - Innovative woodland caribou management recommendations included in provincially approved 20-year forest management plan.
Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement signatories Weyerhaeuser and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcome the recent approval of the 20-Year Forest Management Plan for the Pasquia Porcupine Forest Management Area. Included in that plan is a caribou management plan that has been given interim approval until such time as the province completes the Provincial Woodland Caribou Range Plan.
The caribou management plan defers harvest for 20 years on more than 223,000 hectares of the best caribou habitat on the FMA. Another 172,000 hectares have been designated as special management areas for caribou conservation.
The remaining 450,000 hectares remain open to forestry and maintain the more than 400 jobs and resulting prosperity that the local mills provide. Weyerhaeuser operates an oriented strand board mill in Hudson Bay while Edgewood Forest Products, co-holder of the tenure, operates a sawmill in Carrot River.
Weyerhaeuser and the Saskatchewan Chapter of CPAWS worked collaboratively with provincial, municipal and Indigenous governments, communities and stakeholders. This effort was initiated under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, which strives to conserve the biodiversity of Canada's boreal forest, protect threatened woodland caribou and provide a prosperous forestry industry for those who rely on it.
"We're very excited about this development and the work we've been able to do with Weyerhaeuser and Edgewood Forest Products, which illustrates that a more sustainably managed boreal forest and prosperous forest sector can be achieved. It goes to show what can be accomplished when the will to be innovative and do good things is shared by all the parties at the table," said Gord Vaadeland, Executive Director of CPAWS – Saskatchewan Chapter, one of Canada's leading conservation organizations.
"We are pleased to have achieved this innovative plan," said Fred Dzida, president of Weyerhaeuser's Canadian subsidiary. "This could not have happened without all parties taking an open-minded, solution-based approach."
A key part of the science-based consensus package is the recommendation for establishment of a new 300,000-hectare protected area centered on the Mossy River watershed - an area that is rich in biological diversity and important culturally. This recommendation supports the local communities' desire to protect the area, particularly a portion of the Saskatchewan River Delta – one of the largest inland deltas in North America. Designating this area as protected will complement the caribou management plan while also providing a significant contribution to Saskatchewan's system of protected areas.
"I cannot overstate the importance of this wilderness area as a refuge for species that have existed here as they always have. Our relationship to the landscape directly correlates to our ability to exercise our treaty rights now and in the future. Continuing to work together to address challenges and to advance and realize our vision is supported by Weyerhaeuser and CPAWS and has been the strength of this endeavor," said Garry Carriere, Councilor for the Northern Village of Cumberland House.
The Pasquia Porcupine Forest Management Plan is the first of six ongoing FMPs to be developed in the province.
"The foundational work and leadership of all those involved creates a template for success for the plans that will follow," said Aran O'Carroll, Executive Director of the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement – Secretariat. "This work achieves a lasting approach to conservation of boreal species like woodland caribou and sustains a healthy forest sector by laying a foundation for the future prosperity of the industry and communities that rely on it," added O'Carroll.
The outcomes of the caribou plan are:
- A new zonation approach that conserves areas most important for caribou and tailors forestry practices where connectivity and buffering of the conservation zones is important so harvesting can be concentrated in habitat less significant to caribou;
- More than 223,000 hectares of boreal woodland caribou habitat excluded from timber harvesting for at least 20 years;
- Approximately 450,000 hectares remain available to timber harvest but with greater conservation measures for caribou habitat.
Report – Recommendations for the Pasquia Porcupine Forest Management Area
Brochure – "Sustaining the Boreal In Eastern Saskatchewan – English Cree
Map – "East Central Saskatchewan Caribou and Protected Areas Plan – English Cree
SOURCE Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement
For further information: John Daisley, Weyerhaeuser, [email protected], 306-865-7502; Gord Vaadeland, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) - Saskatchewan Chapter, [email protected], 306-469-7876