Forest environment A policy that is not enough

The author addresses the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks of Quebec, Pierre Dufour

Posted at 1:00 p.m.

Luc Bouthillier

Luc Bouthillier
Professor of Forest Policy, Laval University

The Bois Innovation Program (GDP) can bring a new spirit to the wood processing industry capable of making a lasting difference for forest communities. Your reasoning is logical, even plausible.

But is this industrial approach enough? The very acronym of this program reveals a sectoral bias. It undermines your demands on the sustainability of the forest and the communities that live in it. What are your commitments to the territory?

The whole saga surrounding the forest caribou shows a lack of sensitivity to the importance of the territory in terms of management. Since 2003, jobs have been prioritized over caribou habitat. As the cuttings rejuvenate the forests, they become inhospitable to caribou. But this also jeopardizes the long-term maintenance of jobs. What to do ? For the herds put in corrals, I acknowledge my incompetence. But elsewhere, with regard to the Pipmuacan caribou group on the north coast, it is up to the actors on the ground to make commitments. Your local planners, business representatives, and spokespersons for interested Innu communities should come to an agreement with full knowledge of the consequences. These arrangements will set an example in other parts of the territory. But in advance, the election will be difficult. Scientific evidence indicates that there will be effects on both the crop and the caribou habitat.

However, here it is important to let the territorial interlocutors mark the possibilities. By the way, I can’t recommend a few nights in a camp with the Innu enough. It is an enriching experience in terms of the meaning of the territory. Inspire respect.

When it comes to identifying acceptable scenarios, the notion of social acceptability resurfaces spontaneously. Remember it is built before it is measured. How? Through the participation of the public interested in a project. Interestingly, the term social acceptability is absent from the forest environment management consultation policy presented by his ministry in July 2021. Building the acceptability of an integrated forest management plan necessarily involves co-creating a desired vision. for the area. It is illusory to believe that it is enough to correctly explain the methods of intervention in wood production. This wandering may explain the popular demands that have regularly arisen in the media in recent years.

If the will for integrated forest management is based solely on an information system on the maintenance of timber harvesting, we have a problem. Talk to people from Saint-Mathieu-du-Parc, Trois-Rives or Chute-Saint-Philippe, for example. In the latter case, an octogenarian who threatens to become “The man who hammered the keys” eagerly illustrates the limits of your policy to reflect the uniqueness of the territories with respect to the people who live there. In this regard, one may also wonder where the policy of local forests is. More than ten years after a wide and enthusiastic consultation, the possibility of seeing geographical communities managing forests continues to be a disappointing fashion.

Minister, I am writing this letter to you to express your concern. So many delinquent gestures made regarding your obligations to perpetuate the forest heritage do not bode well. Your job is obviously to ensure a wood production. But it also includes the responsibility of registering the population of Quebec in the forest territory.

Leave a Comment