MAY 4, 2002
MNR gives us the rest of the old growth,
but no protection
MNR released — during the strike too — a draft of Old Growth Forest Definitions for Ontario. Until now, old growth for MNR, or to the minions who believe that the ministry's warehouses full of policies and procedures are divine gifts to humanity, was old-growth red pine or old-growth white pine. Nothing more.
Naturalists, scientists, environmentalists and the forest industry — though the browns call it overmature forest — have long known otherwise. Most types of forests have the potential to reach an old-growth state, as the report makes clear.
The entire old-growth issue was born in Temagami in 1988 out of the Temagami Wilderness Society's (TWS) Tall Pines Project and the work by its research director Dr. Peter Quinby. Until then, Canadian old growth was only recognized to exist in the temperate rainforest of the West Coast.
Public pressure eventually led the Ontario government to protect from logging the Wakimika Triangle old-growth stand at the north end of Obabika Lake. Preservation is anathema to those who believe that the natural world is there to be improved by the hand of civilization, or better yet, industry. Temagami became a black word at MNR and in the forest industry, the T-word.
Ontario created the Old Growth Forests Policy Advisory Committee in 1992, chaired by former TWS board member Brennain Lloyd, to create an old-growth policy. The Environmental Assessment Board, influenced by the Committee, added old-growth conservation to its legally binding orders on MNR in 1994. Chalk a big one up for the greens.
Eight years after being required by law, we've got the definitions — and the buzz of chainsaws ripping into old-growth forest. Where's the protection?
DOCUMENT: Old Growth Forest Definitions for Ontario (PDF file)
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