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Crown Forest Sustainability Act of Ontario

Question:

Describe the major aspects of the 1994 Crown Forest Sustainability Act and the 2007 Endangered Species Act for Ontario.

The great treasure of our planet is biological diversity that is a comprehensive collection of social, economic, ecological, cultural and intrinsic value. Some of the essential contribution of biological diversity towards human life is foods, clothing, and medicines thus overall it acts in favour of sustainable economic and social development. Unfortunately throughout the world, species of plants, animals and other organisms are getting critically endangered or extinct. The extinction of this species is majorly due to the human activities like damage of habitat and hence in order to conserve the biological diversity, global actions are required[1]. In regards to the conservation of the biological diversity and global acts, the following report aims to analyse some of the major aspects of two of the notable environment conservation acts of Ontario.

Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) 1994 was laid out by Ontario Cabinet and is considered as a bold vision for a new approach to forestry. It lays out the most sophisticated vision for the public forests of Ontario. The core pillar of this law is sustainability which not only ensures sustainable utilization of the natural resources but also lays a concrete plan to strengthen the economy of the community via proper utilization for the forest resources[2]. Ontario was at the center stage of the said policy when this law was passed in the year of 1994. The main goal was to ensure long-tern health to the ecosystem of forest that will be beneficial for both the local and national environments and thereby enabling current and upcoming generations to satisfy their social and material needs[3]. The importance of the act is, it produced a balanced between the requirement for the wooden products along with the protection of old forests, wildlife diversity and other associated recreation. Thus it stressed on the necessity of satisfying the requirement for proper wood supply as well promoting diversification of the employment in the forestry sector via providing renewable goods from the forests[4].

Increasing the responsibility of MNRF towards sustainable management of forestry products

The responsibility to satisfy the objectives of CFSA lies within the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). In order to make sure the sustainability of the forest, it is the job of MNRF to bestow proper leadership and provide detailed oversight to the forest industry through special developmental programs and policy. It is also falls under the duty of MNRF to scientifically monitor the sustainable management of forestry while enforcing proper conservation rules[5]. CFSA envisages one of the main roles for MNRF to support the forest industry of Ontario, and primary responsibility of MNRF to protect the requirement of forest development communities of Ontario along with long-term sustainability of forest ecosystems. Theoretically it can be stated that CFSA shifted the role of MNRF from a narrow focus to a wide focus with “triple bottom line”.

Management of Crown Forests under CFSA

Proper Management Planning

Under this Act, MNRF divides forests in Ontario into different forest management units. These units are geographic areas of manageable-size that are designed to be governed via implementing individual “forest management plans”. Forest management plan entails specific strategies along with objectives for managing the allocated area of the forest in a sustainable manner. The scale of these units is vital to make sure that the forest management plan adequately meets the specific requirement of the communities, the economic status of the locality and equilibrium of the environment[6].

Licensing and Allocation

The key premise of the CRSA, 1994 deals with the authorization of the private companies. According to it, the privately owned companies will generate forest management plans pursuant to licenses generated by the MNRF. Different types of licenses are issued by MNRF to different types of organisations in regards to harvesting of trees within the pre-defined management units. Sustainable Forest Licences (SFL) are long term licences. It enables a particular organisation the authority of harvest forest resources in a specific management unit for up to 20 years[7]. These license holders are an integral part of forest management plans. These forest management plans govern everything starting from harvest operations to proper access towards construction of roads and monitoring and renewal of forest resources. However, these plans are subject to approval coming from NRF. The approval of only given after proper considerations of the facts like animal life, plant life and other resources of forests like social, water and air[8].

Independent Forest audits

One of the principal elements of CFSA’s framework is a system of independent forest audits after every 5 years for each unit of management. The factors scrutinized in these audits include effectiveness in meeting planned objectives, proper compliance of licence and other sustainable forest management plans. According to MNRF, this independent forest audits showed an average of 95% rate of compliance with the CFSA and ministry policies. This audit along with further recommendations helps in the improvement of overall forest conservation[9].

Investment for the Future of the Forest

A strategic objective of CFSA is to ensure that the revenues obtained from the forest products should be optimally used to maintain the forest sustainability. In order to adequately implement this investment plan, CFSA established two separate trusts financed by the fees paid by the license holders. The fees of the licence holders also vary depending upon the regional differences in forest and the species of the trees[10]. All this funding is intended to be in line with the benefits licensees received from employing Crown forests. The Forestry Future Trust helped in silviculture activities where the resources of Crowns forest have been damaged either via fire or via other natural calamities. The trust also provided funding for intensive management of the stand, insect/pest control and independent forest audit. This laid the foundation of the recycling of the revenues obtained from the forest resources for the betterment of the resources and sustainable use.

Challenges and Critiques of CFSA implementation

De-evolution of the Vision

As the year passed, MNRF has incrementally consolidated and decreased the total number of forest management units. At present there are 41 forest management units in comparison to 90 units which were present before. This is arguably a cost-effective solution for the long-term as creation of forest management unit in the large scale may have given rise to challenges in managerial grounds, reduction in the relevance to local forest dependent communities and generation of inadequate information on ecology of local forest. This reduction all lead to the foundation of healthy market competition while enabling greater local population and aboriginal community involvement[11].

The blooming and busting of commercial logging

After the SFSA was passed there was a period of growth and success. However, this initial growth was soon followed by reduction in harvest volumes and revenues coming from forest in the next 10 years. This reduction resulted in sudden closure of mills along with the decreased in the direct forestry jobs in Ontario according to Natural Resources Canada (2013). Since then there is no significant increase in the harvest volumes. This downturn of industry is attributed to typical boom-bust commodity cycle. This was exacerbated under the action of economic recession at the global scale[12].

Lag in paying dues

According to the reports published by the Auditor General of Ontario (2011-2013), numerous SFL holders failed to maintain the minimum balance requirement for funding the Forest Renewal Trust. The reports of the audits also stated that MNRF lacked proper measures to ensure that the revenue of Crown Forest was accurately calculated and simultaneously submitted. Moreover, MNRF has itself acknowledged their lack of proper indexation towards inflation of Forest Futures Trust[13].

Thus it the concluding summary, it can be stated that the purpose of the CFSA is to properly manage the Crown forest to satisfy the economic, social and environmental requirements for the present and future generations. It main two science based principal is healthy large and productive Crown forests along with proper conservation of ecological and biological diversity and emulation of natural disturbances while minimizing the adverse effects on the wild-life, plant life, and the surrounding microbiota like water, soil and air. However, the critical analysis of the act showed that after 20 years of implementation, act though helped to preserve the ecological diversity of crown forest but failed to increase its production in terms of harvesting and increasing new job opportunities. Further audits are required to be undertaken in order to ensure that the natural resources of forest are managed properly with best possible information and practices

Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA)

2007 Endangered Species Act for Ontario

Ontario’s Endangered Species Act (ESA), 2007 was passed into law in the year 2007 and it came into enforcement in the year 2008. The main purpose of this law is to identify the species based on their risk of getting endangered on the basis of present scientific information obtained from community knowledge and other traditional knowledge of aboriginal. The law also aims to protect species that are at a high risk of habitat loss via promoting recovery of such species. The law also aims to promote stewardship activities in order to aid the recovery and protection of the species[14].

Protection and recovery

ESA condemns any harm to the endangered species of Ontario. According to this act, no person can harm, kill or capture any member of the species which are listed under the Species at Risk in Ontario List. The law also strictly prohibits transportation, buying, selling, and taking lease and possession of species in exchange of money. However, this law is not applicable to species that have originated outside Ontario. Moreover, this law also does not take into consideration of possession by Crown. Not only species under the banner of protection and recovery, ESA also aims to protect the habitat of the endangered species as habitat loss is one of the prime reason behind the loss of biodiversity and species richness. When specie is listed as threatened or endangered, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will propose a habitat regulation for the endangered species who falling under the threat of 2 years of being endanger or 3 years of being endangered. However, this objective lacks precision along with transparency. What kind of information that is being utilized to categorize a species under the endangered list is not stated clearly.

Stringent Classification of Species

Under this law, The Committee on the Status of Species at Risk in Ontario, an independent body takes initiatives to classify native plants and animals based on their risk status this leads to the evolution of 4 different categories of species[15].

Name of the category

Classification

Extirpated

Lived Ontario at some span of span but at present lives at some other part of the world

Endangered

Lives in wild Ontario but is experiencing urgent risk of getting extinction of extirpation

Threatened

Lives in Ontario but is not endangered but is likely to get endangered

Special concern

Lives in wild Ontario, but is either endangered or threatened but can become threatened in near future [16]

According to Guisan et al. (2013), classification to species on the basis of threat towards extinction helps in the establishment of the species distribution model which further helps on conservation decision making. Thus the ESA 2007 of Ontario and its initiatives to classify the species based on their threats of getting extinct is indeed impact full. However, the ESA 2007 does not give a clear definition regarding how this classification of species is been done or what kind of data is being referred towards the prices of classification. According to Guisan et al. (2013), global bioinformatics data is the best assured reference to examine the species occurrence data in support of the conservation efforts.

ESA’s Provisions for Species at Risk

Clear definition of habitat and its regulation

ESA also provides a detailed insight towards habitat regulation that replaces the general concept of habitat protection. The importance of habitat regulation is, it provides more accurate definition of species habitat via critically defining each and every feature, geographic boundaries and other special characteristics. This regulated habitat may be either larger or smaller than general habitat and any encompass areas where the specie are not currently found or may be either occupied by other species. The act also helps in defining the activities which pose a threat towards destruction of a habitat. These stringent regulation of habitat helps in determining the total area of the habitat that is being occupied by any species or might get occupied by other species along with a rough estimation of the available habitat that can be further distributed among the endangered species. This detailed examination of habitat will them promote further classification of species habitat[17].

Category 1: Red

Here the species will be least tolerant to sudden changes (hibernation sites)

Category 2: Orange

Species will be moderately tolerant (areas used regularly to find food)

Category 3: Yellow

Species are considered to be more tolerant (areas occasionally used to find food)

According to Nagendra et al. (2013), monitoring of protected areas and thir surroundings is essential in order to judge the vulnerability of a specie towards getting extinct. However, the ESA does not provide any insight towards remote sensing. Whilst monitoring has encompass field data, remote sensing can play an important role in erecting baselines of the extent along with the conditions of habitats and its associated species diversity along with quantifying losses and degradation or recoveryof specific events[18].

Classification of human Activity that may cause harm

Not every activity that occurs in front of the protected species is likely to kill, harass or harm that member of that species. In order to determine any of the proposed activity that is likely to kill, harass or harm the members of any threatened or endangered community of species is determined on the basis of several biological factors like site fidelity, concentration of individuals, mobility, ecological sensitivities, present condition of the species, life stages of the species and response to disturbance[19].

Scope of Compliance

ESA is remarkable in the domain of its implicit assumptions regarding compliance. The onus here is on the landowners and the managers of the land to ensure that they are in compliance. This is not extraordinary as ignorance of law is not considered as an excuse for breach the law. However, under ESA, the following assumptions are being made: land owners or uses are aware of the list of species which are at risk, land owners or user can clearly identify the species which are at risk, land owners are required to update the monitoring and awareness regarding whether these species exist on land under their stewardship and finally land owners are aware of the penalties of non-compliance. This approach of the law is in contrast with other types of regulations[20].

ESA’s Objective for Habitat Protection of Species at Risk

Stewardship agreements

The minister may indulge into the agreements for the purpose of assisting the recovery of species specified in the agreement. However, before entering into an agreement under this section, the minister is required to consider the any form of statement published under the subsection of law in regards to species recovery strategy[21]. The ESA act also may choose to authorize a party to the agreement of species protection[22].

Conclusion

Thus from the above discussion in regards to the major aspects of the ESA it can be said that in spite of developing highly prescriptive rules in advance, rules and the guidelines of ESA should be less prescriptive and must be allowed to evolve as interaction with the land owners and managers. In abiding such principles, the regulations can deliver more transparency towards best practices while accommodating different parcels of habitat and land

References

2007 Endangered Species Act For Ontario. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06.

Canhos, Dora AL, et al. "The importance of biodiversity e-infrastructures for megadiverse countries." PLoS biology 13.7 (2015): e1002204.

Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/94c25.

Guisan, Antoine, et al. "Predicting species distributions for conservation decisions." Ecology letters 16.12 (2013): 1424-1435.

Millar, Catherine S., and Gabriel Blouin-Demers. "Habitat suitability modelling for species at risk is sensitive to algorithm and scale: A case study of Blanding's turtle, Emydoidea blandingii, in Ontario, Canada." Journal for nature conservation 20.1 (2012): 18-29.

Nagendra, Harini, et al. "Remote sensing for conservation monitoring: Assessing protected areas, habitat extent, habitat condition, species diversity, and threats." Ecological Indicators33 (2013): 45-59. Nagendra, Harini, et al. "Remote sensing for conservation monitoring: Assessing protected areas, habitat extent, habitat condition, species diversity, and threats." Ecological Indicators33 (2013): 45-59.

Olive, Andrea. "Endangered species policy in Canada and the US: A tale of two islands." American Review of Canadian Studies 42.1 (2012): 84-101.

Robson, Mark, and Troy Davis. "Evaluating the transition to sustainable forest management in Ontario’s Crown Forest Sustainability Act and forest management planning manuals from 1994 to 2009." Canadian Journal of Forest Research45.4 (2014): 436-443.

Teitelbaum, Sara, and Stephen Wyatt. "Is forest certification delivering on First Nation issues? The effectiveness of the FSC standard in advancing First Nations' rights in the boreal forests of Ontario and Quebec, Canada." Forest policy and economics 27 (2013): 23-33.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994: 20 Years Later. 1st ed., Environmental Commissioner Of Ontario, 2014, https://docs.assets.eco.on.ca/reports/environmental-protection/2013-2014/2013-14-AR-CFSA.pdf.

Canhos, Dora AL, et al. "The importance of biodiversity e-infrastructures for megadiverse countries." PLoS biology 13.7 (2015): e1002204.

Robson, Mark, and Troy Davis. "Evaluating the transition to sustainable forest management in Ontario’s Crown Forest Sustainability Act and forest management planning manuals from 1994 to 2009." Canadian Journal of Forest Research45.4 (2014): 436-443.

Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/94c25.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994: 20 Years Later. 1st ed., Environmental Commissioner Of Ontario, 2014, https://docs.assets.eco.on.ca/reports/environmental-protection/2013-2014/2013-14-AR-CFSA.pdf

Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/94c25.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994: 20 Years Later. 1st ed., Environmental Commissioner Of Ontario, 2014, https://docs.assets.eco.on.ca/reports/environmental-protection/2013-2014/2013-14-AR-CFSA.pdf

Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/94c25

Teitelbaum, Sara, and Stephen Wyatt. "Is forest certification delivering on First Nation issues? The effectiveness of the FSC standard in advancing First Nations' rights in the boreal forests of Ontario and Quebec, Canada." Forest policy and economics 27 (2013): 23-33.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994: 20 Years Later. 1st ed., Environmental Commissioner Of Ontario, 2014, https://docs.assets.eco.on.ca/reports/environmental-protection/2013-2014/2013-14-AR-CFSA.pdf

Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/94c25.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994: 20 Years Later. 1st ed., Environmental Commissioner Of Ontario, 2014, https://docs.assets.eco.on.ca/reports/environmental-protection/2013-2014/2013-14-AR-CFSA.pdf

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act, 1994: 20 Years Later. 1st ed., Environmental Commissioner Of Ontario, 2014, https://docs.assets.eco.on.ca/reports/environmental-protection/2013-2014/2013-14-AR-CFSA.pdf/environmental-protection/2013-2014/2013-14-AR-CFSA.pdf

2007 Endangered Species Act For Ontario. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06

2007 Endangered Species Act For Ontario. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06

2007 Endangered Species Act For Ontario. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06

Millar, Catherine S., and Gabriel Blouin-Demers. "Habitat suitability modelling for species at risk is sensitive to algorithm and scale: A case study of Blanding's turtle, Emydoidea blandingii, in Ontario, Canada." Journal for nature conservation 20.1 (2012): 18-29

Nagendra, Harini, et al. "Remote sensing for conservation monitoring: Assessing protected areas, habitat extent, habitat condition, species diversity, and threats." Ecological Indicators33 (2013): 45-59.

2007 Endangered Species Act For Ontario. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06

2007 Endangered Species Act For Ontario. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06

Olive, Andrea. "Endangered species policy in Canada and the US: A tale of two islands." American Review of Canadian Studies 42.1 (2012): 84-101.

2007 Endangered Species Act For Ontario. Ontario.Ca, 2017, https://www.ontario.ca/laws/statute/07e06

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