Quebec’s forests are staying healthy: chief forester’s report
By Cindy Macdonald
The recent report of the chief forester for Quebec takes stock of the health of the public forest in Quebec and presents an analysis of progress and areas for improvement related to seven major sustainable development criteria and 26 issues.
The analysis focuses particularly on the protection of biodiversity, timber production and companies’ values with regard to decisions affecting the forest.
“The health of the Quebec forest was maintained during the period 2008-2013 but challenges remain to be overcome, however, in certain territories and in particular issues,” says Gerard Szaraz, chief forester for Quebec.
Szaraz explains the forest’s health by noting that the timber harvest was well below the allowable cut and that natural disturbances (fire, insects and diseases) were lower than the average of recent years. The application of various forest protection measures (protected areas, protection targets and certification) also forms part of the basis of the chief forester’s observation.
“I am optimistic about the conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem functions of the forest environment. However, we need to monitor certain issues, such as the quality of the hardwood forest, the progression of the spruce budworm epidemic and the development of woodland caribou habitat. “
In his report, the Chief Forester indicates that the period 2008-2013 was marked by a major forestry crisis. “I am also concerned about the loss of timber quality and value. I also found that the more intensive cultivation of the forest remains marginal and that management decisions are not based on economic analysis. So there are major challenges to reinvigorate the forestry sector in Quebec,” said Szaraz.
The chief forester recommends more rigorous monitoring on the ground to better measure the effect of silvicultural treatments over time, and continued support of forestry research to face the challenges of climate change.
The full report is available, in French, on the web site of the Office of the Chief Forester.