Minister Lessard draws attention to Quebec's leadership role in protecting large tracts of the boreal forest

QUEBEC CITY, Feb. 23, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Laurent Lessard, Québec's Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, took advantage of the debate on forestry operations in the boreal forest to draw attention to Quebec's leadership role in the areas of sustainable forest management and protection of the boreal forest.

"Our forest regime is the most rigorous in the world and we as a society are proud of it," said Minister Lessard. "Quebec is the only State to have included a northern limit for forest allocations in its legislation, beyond which timber harvesting is prohibited in order to protect the boreal forest. Today, the limit protects a vast area of roughly 23.5 million hectares. For comparison purposes, the Great Bear Rainforest Agreement in British Columbia covers just 3.1 million hectares. Québec is a leader in the field of forest protection, and our laws are strictly enforced. Our forests are not affected by deforestation."

Some important innovations in forest operations

  • Quebec has introduced a northern limit based on scientific criteria.
  • Quebec has founded its forest regime on ecosystem-based management, an approach that considers forests as whole ecosystems in order to guide the planning of work.
  • The network of protected areas now covers nearly 50,000 km2, or an area larger than Switzerland.
  • An agreement has been signed with the Grand Council of the Crees to protect 9,000 km2 of forests in the Broadback River Valley.
  • The forest regime provides for statutory mechanisms and financial assistance programs for consultations with local and Aboriginal communities.
  • Roughly 93% of Québec's forest under management is certified. This is one of the highest rates of certification in the world.
  • A further feature of Québec's system is the presence of the Chief Forester, who provides oversight of both the state of the forests and forest management.

"As I mentioned to the Forest Stewardship Council during my visit to Bonn last November, if we combine the protection offered by the northern limit and the network of protected areas, Quebec is currently protecting more than 90 % of its intact forests, even under the environmental organizations' most stringent definitions of the term," said Minister Lessard. "I am also aware of the importance the people of Québec ascribe to the protection of their forests, which they regard in some respects as being part of their DNA. The forest also provides good quality jobs for more than 60,000 Québecers in every region of the province. It is for this reason that we are working hard to protect our forests and maximize the related economic benefits."

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Mathieu Gaudreault
Press Officer
Office of the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks
Tel.: 418 643-7295

SOURCE Cabinet du ministre des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs

For further information: Mathieu Gaudreault, Press Officer, Office of the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks, Tel.: 418 643-7295

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