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Kathleen Wynne, Please Don't Clearcut Ontario

December 2015

Ontario is not known for its forestry issues, but the fact is that Ontario boasts some of the world's largest clearcuts, ranging up to 10,000 hectares in size.

Unlike British Columbia, where clearcuts are often created high on mountain slopes where they are visible to all, Ontario's clearcuts occur in the northern Boreal Forest where the land is flat and boggy. As such, most of Ontario's intensive logging operations occur during the winter when boggy lands are frozen over.

Ontario has some of the world's last and largest untouched areas of ancient Boreal Forest that is quickly being opened up to more intensive logging and mining operations.

As these ancient lands are cleared, the forests are being replaced by commercially valued tree species reducing the diversity of the forests that once stood. Herbicides are then sprayed to ensure planted seedlings have a completive edge over other native species.

As these intensive forestry operations occur in the northern reaches of the province on very flat terrain and mostly during the winter season, very few people witness the devastation to Ontario's Boreal Forest.

Ontario is losing its northern Woodland Caribou and Moose populations.

Woodland Caribou is listed as a species at risk. An icon of the Boreal Forest, Woodland Caribou are fast disappearing from Ontario's woodlands because caribou need quiet deep forest to survive. Their favorite food, lichens, is slow forming and only found in abundance in undisturbed forests that have been standing for hundreds of years.

A recent announcement from the Kathleen Wynne Liberal govt. exempts forestry companies from the Species at Risk Act to remove all barriers that might impede that industry. This includes considering the Woodland Caribou and its habitat needs during forestry operations.

Moose are also in rapid decline in northern Ontario because they too are creatures of old growth woodlands. Moose prefer mixed woodlands found along the northern shores of Lake Superior.

In addition to the cutting of Moose habitat, the Ontario govt. sprays harvested forest areas with the Monsanto herbicide Vision and Vision Max. This herbicide kills broad-leaf seedlings, and transforms mixed woodlands to commercial conifer stands, eliminating the most important winter food source for Moose.

Rather than protect the habitat of both species and force the forestry companies to take responsible actions for a sustainable industry, predators of caribou and moose such as wolves are being targeted for control.

What you can do:

Paper and paper pulp are major products derived from Ontario's forests. A simple commitment to 100% recycled paper products such as toilet paper, paper wipes and diapers will go a long way to reducing demand from forests.

Recycled paper, unlike certified paper such as FSC, is made from waste product. Certified papers such as FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) are derived from ancient forests. The difference is that logging operations proceed according to an agreed code of practice to mitigate negative environmental impacts.

But ancient forests continue to be cut even with these certified labels, and now in Ontario logging companies no longer need to recognize Species at Risk legislation.

Please do your part. Read the label and buy 100% recycled.

Clearly Green Design