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.