Back to blog | November 22 2019

The Chief Forester. An independent look at our forests.

Quebec is surrounded by forests. They occupy nearly half of Quebec’s territory. These massive expanses of trees are, of course, a great source of wealth, and we are working hard to make sure that they remain intact for future generations.

Forestry management isn’t something to be taken lightly. It has been entrusted to the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks. And since 2005, the Chief Forester has played an exclusive and vital role in ensuring the sustainability of our forests with respect to their diversified use.

The Chief Forester is a key player in forest management

The creation of the Chief Forester was one of the main recommendations of the Coulombe Commission’s report, which was tasked in 2004 with examining the management of Quebec’s forests, and to propose areas of improvement. What’s more, the Chief Forester’s mission is to identify the opportunities of the forest sector, inform decision-makers and keep the public informed on the state of our forests.

Ensuring the longevity of the forest

The Chief Forester’s main function is to determine opportunities in our forests. In simple terms, it’s a matter of calculating the maximum annual amount of timber that can be harvested from public forests, without reducing the capacity of the forest to renew itself.

This calculation takes into account numerous factors, such as: the health of the forest, its evolution, as well as diversified use, which is to say the complete economic, social and environmental needs and objectives of its users.

For the years 2018 to 2023, the forest capacity of Quebec is 34 million cubic metres of timber annually. Since the Forest Act came into force in 1986, harvesting has never surpassed Quebec’s forest capacity.

How is the forest doing? Are we heading in the right direction?

The Chief Forester is also responsible for advising the Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to analyze the results obtained in terms of the sustainable forest management of the province’s forestry sector.

Louis Pelletier, Chief Forester:

We are currently examining several criteria for sustainable development. And for each of them, we are highlighting progress made, as well as work to be done. The review includes, among other things, biodiversity, ecosystem productivity, soil and water, social and economic benefits with respect to the forest, the well-being of forest communities and the respect of aboriginal rights. Our analysis will be submitted to the Minister and made public in 2020.

The independence of the Chief Forester

The Chief Forester’s function is recognized as independent as per the Sustainable Forest Development Act. The Chief Forester’s work is carried out without interference and is based on the latest scientific research and findings. The Chief Forester therefore brings an independent view to the forest and its sustainable development.

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