Spring 2009: Sweeping New Forestry Rules for Ontario
The Deforestation of Ontario's Forests
The first chainsaw was invented in 1830, but the 'modern' gasoline powered chainsaw was not mass-produced until 1927. After World War II, improvements in aluminum and engine design lightened chainsaws to the point where one person could carry them. With the broad introduction of the 'modern' chainsaw, we have achieved the mass deforestation of the world's primary forests in less than 100 years. Today only 36%
The last and largest tracts of remaining primary forests are located in Russia, Brazil and Canada. Brazil is responsible for the largest undisturbed tropical forest in the world, the Amazon. Russia and Canada are home to the boreal forest or taiga.
The boreal ecosystem is the world's largest terrestrial ecosystem, and the largest type of forest in Canada. It contains the majority of all Canada's wildlife species and regulates water systems and climate patterns on a continental level.
The boreal forest forms the longest natural border in the world, a coniferous belt of green, broken only by the Bering Sea and the northern Atlantic Ocean. This green halo dominates any map of the globe with the North Pole at its centre. Also referred to the "the great unknown forest," because despite its vast size and planetary importance, it remains the least researched and least understood ecosystem in the world.
Ontario's boreal forest region is part of this vast system and represents one of the last remaining large tracts of frontier forest in the world.
In Ontario, forestry remains the single largest development threat to the
preservation of the boreal forest, even though other threats are emerging such as diamond mining.
A serious timber shortage identified in the 1990s has accelerated logging operations pushing them farther north and increasing clearcut sizes. Today, all available timber is open to harvest including salvage timber such as burnt and sunken logs.
With only 36% of the world's primary forests intact, we must alleviate the pressures of commercial logging. Not just by encouraging paper consumers to use post consumer waste products but also by removing the demand for paper products altogether.
If we don't reduce the demand for paper products, no forests will be protected into perpetuity.