Sustainable forest management in Canada’s working forests is built upon a few key principles including ecosystems-based management and conservation, local input, and collaboration, keeping forest as forest forever, and providing family-supporting jobs and sustainable products to Canadians and people around the world.
Over the past few years, the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) has been one of the few groups that regularly engages in deliberate and dishonest campaigns to discredit Canadian forestry. It does so while showing no interest in understanding how Canadian forestry works, how local communities and residents engage in forest management planning, and how committed people in Canadian forestry are to sustainability, reconciliation, a net-zero carbon economy, and building healthy and resilient forests and forestry communities.
Instead of choosing productive dialogue, NRDC prefers to attack from the confines of its Washington, DC offices, issuing blogs and documents from its ‘campaign manager’ and ‘campaign coordinator’ that quote themselves and a handful of known anti-forestry voices, are absent of peer review, and include recycled misinformation to advance their fundraising agenda.
We are not perfect, but we are among the best in the world at how we do forest management in Canada. Planning on an expansive, publicly owned, and dynamic land base – one that is greatly impacted by a changing climate – is complex work.
There are many important values for which to manage and many local perspectives to consider in every single forest management plan. Canadian forestry is about planning for the long-game and we are one of the only sectors in the country that initiates its planning process by considering 100 to 200 year landscape models.
In the face of a changing climate and the move to a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, forest management and forest products will be key solutions for us in Canada – and people around the world will be counting on us too. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recognized Canadian forestry and its critical role in fighting climate change, as has our federal government in its fall Speech from the Throne.
We are a fair-minded and collaborative bunch in Canadian forestry. We are open to criticism and we are always looking for ways to be even better. That said, when we see efforts to deliberately mislead, attempts to threaten our customers with misinformation, and campaign activity aimed at putting Canadians out of work – we draw the line. While we have long questioned the motivation of this organization, it has become sadly clear in recent weeks that targeting Canadian jobs is at the top of its list.
NRDC has recently sponsored legislation in the California and New York state legislatures to get those states to stop sourcing from the boreal forests of Canada, Sweden, and Finland – three of the world’s leaders in sustainable forest management, human and labour rights, and in providing good-paying, family-supporting jobs in forestry.
Having a US-based group spread misinformation so it can raise money at the expense of Canadian workers and their families is one thing – to do it during the third wave of a global pandemic just shows where their priorities are and how low they are prepared to go.
Quote from FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor:
“As we continue to push through this pandemic, FPAC would like to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of forestry workers across Canada. They continue to do essential work and have kept our part of the economy moving. We also salute our federal and provincial governments and our labour, construction, retail, manufacturing, transportation, and community partners across the country for their incredible support during this time. While NRDC continues to use dishonest propaganda to discredit our sector, we will stick to the facts and will stand up for Canadian forestry workers and their families.”
Quote from Unifor National President Jerry Dias:
“When US-based activists are prepared to say anything to put Canadian self-sufficiency and jobs at risk, Canada’s labour, industry, and government leaders have an obligation to speak out. Canada’s forest sector workers are leading the way in advancing a green, post-pandemic recovery. The world needs more Canadian forestry. I am proud of the incredible work our members are doing across the country and stand with them in the face of misinformation campaigns targeting Canadian exports and jobs.”
Quote from United Steelworkers Union Wood Council Chair Jeff Bromley:
“Customers in Canada and around the world have long counted on Canadian forest workers to deliver sustainably-sourced, environmentally-friendly, and high quality products. We take pride in our work and in our move to a lower carbon economy, sustainable Canadian forestry and forest products are more important than ever. As our workers face new potential trade actions targeting our sector by the state legislatures in California and New York, it is important that we all push back against this unwarranted protectionism.”
Key Principles of Sustainable Forest Management in Canada
FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $80B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in over 600 communities, providing 230,000 direct jobs, and over 600,000 indirect jobs across the country.