Forestry crisis: environmental groups join forces to propose solutions

Quebec, 30 March 2015 – With a view to resolving the forestry crisis that culminated in the loss of two FSC certificates by Resolute Forest Products in Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Boréalisation, Nature Québec, RNCREQ and CPAWS Québec are holding a special press conference today to propose an initial concrete way forward. Their two-part platform is titled "Quebec's forestry industry: towards sustainable solutions".

Better protection of the boreal forest
In the opinion of environmental groups, regaining the two FSC certificates is the first essential step toward resolving the impasse.

"The time has come to move from words to action", states Pier-Olivier Boudreault, conservation and forestry project manager with CPAWS Quebec. "Creating large protected areas is part of the solution to regaining forest certification."

The groups are asking for the protection of two essential sectors, the Montagnes Blanches and also the Broadback Watershed sector – both in collaboration with aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.

This internationally visible measure could help to correct several non-conformance identified by FSC auditors that led to the loss of the certificates, such as those linked to the protection of woodland caribou and the disappearance of old-growth forests. This would also enable the Government of Quebec to fulfill its commitment to create at least one large protected area for woodland caribou by 2015.

Integrating regional and socioeconomic concerns
As specified in the FSC standard, regaining certification must take into consideration communities whose economy relies heavily on the lumber industry.

"We believe that harmonization measures should be part of the process", states Sébastien Caron, forests and protected areas campaign coordinator at RNCREQ. "For example, allocating certain volumes of wood not harvested in past years could offset decreases in allowable cuts."

The platform also proposes setting up a think tank to study ways of diversifying the forestry economy, within a long-term perspective focused on efficiency and yield rather than merely maximizing wood volume. The platform also puts forward that First Nations representatives should be present in all these processes.

A call for concrete cooperation
This initial proposal by environmental groups is one step in the search for solutions.

"We invite all stakeholders to consider the solutions we are bringing to the table", adds Philippe Dumont of Boréalisation. "We seek to engage in a constructive dialogue and would like to hold meetings in the near future with various regional stakeholders to discuss these proposals with them."

As part of this search for solutions, the environmental groups present here today support Greenpeace's actions, which were aimed in particular at defending FSC certification.

"FSC has become the international passing grade in the forest industry", asserts Christian Simard, Executive Director of Nature Québec. "A loss of certification has significant impacts on the image of Quebec's forest industry and its access to international markets."

The groups hope that their proposals will lead to a rapid implementation of solutions that reconcile environmental protection, job preservation and the prosperity of forest areas.

Click here to access the environmental groups' platform


For information:
Christian Simard, Nature Québec: 418 928-1150
Pier-Olivier Boudreault, CPAWS Quebec: 514-708-3085
Sébastien Caron, Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement: 418 962-6362
Philippe Dumont, Boréalisation: 418 973-5648