President, Forest Stewardship Council Canada
Canada’s forests stretch from coast to coast, are home to more than 2.5 million people and 1.6 million Indigenous peoples, and are a key driver of the Canadian economy, contributing up to 200,000 jobs. We are a forest nation.
So, it’s essential that our forests meet the social, ecological, and economic needs of present and future generations.
To do this, the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®), a non-profit organization committed to responsible forestry, has launched a new national standard for responsible forest management in Canada which targets the most pressing issues threatening Canadian forests today, including:
The woodland caribou crisis: Caribou help signify the health of the forest and support other plants and wildlife, including birds, insects, and small mammals. The FSC® now includes requirements to directly support caribou habitat and avoid harvest in breeding or migration areas.
Indigenous peoples’ rights: Over 1.6 million Indigenous Canadians live in or near forests. The new FSC® standard introduces requirements to proactively recognize and uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples to protect their culture, livelihood, and lands.
Workers’ rights including gender equity: The rights of the people who depend on our forests for their livelihood, including health, safety, and gender equity are important considerations in forest management. FSC® requires that forest managers maintain or enhance the social and economic well-being of forest workers.
Landscape management and conservation: Landscape-level management is needed to maintain, enhance, and restore ecosystem services. The new standard includes requirements to minimize and avoid landscape disturbances, like aligning forestry activities with other industrial activities, and to improve the protection of waterways.
A way forward
This new standard holds the opportunity to show the world how 21st century forestry can provide meaningful solutions for collaborative, equitable, and sustainable management of our forests.