Québec City, February 5, 2012 – The Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC) takes due note of the guidelines adopted by the Government of Québec to protect 50% of the territory covered under the “Plan Nord” and that were announced today by Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Mr. Pierre Arcand, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and Parks. “Although uncertainties continue to cloud the long-term horizon, at least the government’s guidelines from now until 2020 are clear and more acceptable,” declared Mr. André Tremblay, the QFIC’s Chief Executive Officer.
The Government of Québec plans turning 20% of “Plan Nord” territory into duly constituted protected areas that will encompass 12% of the continuous boreal forest. “Considering the socioeconomic impacts that will result from any measure to exclude territory from harvesting, the siting of new protected areas in the continuous boreal forest should occur first and foremost beyond the northern limit for timber allocations,” Mr. André Tremblay reiterated.
The Government has announced the implementation of seven pilot projects to test out new modes of conservation and to improve ecological and environmental knowledge in relation to this territory. “The forest industry is willing to collaborate with the government on conducting these pilot projects, as it is persuaded that the excellent quality of sustainable forest management practices currently employed on the territory of the continuous boreal forest already offers assurances of the effective protection of the environment, biodiversity and ecosystems. Ultimately, these pilot projects will serve to perfect our environmental conservation practices,” added Mr. Tremblay.
Beginning in 2013, the Government plans on launching an environmental planning process, particularly with a view to identifying areas of interest for the conservation, enhancement and development of natural heritage for non-industrial purposes on the “Plan Nord” territory. The QFIC hails these guidelines as well as the ten-year accountability process that will provide a basis for reviewing the implementation strategy in 2020 and 2030, in light of the results of the experimental research projects.
“It is important to note that for several years now, the industry has been actively involved in the continuous improvement of its forestry practices, thus enabling it to obtain, at this time, certification for more than 75% of public forests in accordance with one of three internationally recognized standards – namely, the FSC, CSA or SFI,” Mr. Tremblay stressed.
About the QFIC
The QFIC is the voice of Québec's forest industry. The QFIC numbers more than 160 regular members operating in the softwood and hardwood lumber, veneer, pulp, paper, cardboard and panel sectors of Québec. Each year, these companies generate $12.9 billion in business and close to $4 billion in wages and benefits, of which nearly $1.5 billion is returned to governments in the form of taxes paid by companies and workers.
Source: Laurence Drouin
Assistant Director, Communications
Communications and Public Affairs
Quebec Forest Industry Council (QFIC)
418-657-7916, ext. 411