Ontario is referred to as the 'crown' of forests as ninety percent of the forested lands in Canada fall under the province of Ontario. There are a plenty of questions that come to the mind when trying to understand the dynamics of the forest industry and the roles played by different people who are actually part of the system.
Ontario's forest industry has been in the news in recent months as government and industry struggle to address economic challenges and redefine the future of the industry.' The rising Canadian dollar, the softwood lumber dispute, energy prices, outside competition, overcapacity and wood supply issues have all been cited as contributing factors effecting Ontario's struggling forest industry. In response, the Ontario government is considering a package tomorrow to support this vital industry.' Noticeably absent from the debate is a recognition of environmental performance as a key indicator of long-term success and sustainability.''
The ministry of natural resources says that it is doing everything under its jurisdiction to see to it that there is no further damage of the forests but the critics reject this. As a global citizen and a person who has been following up with this issue closely, I can definitely say that the Government has not being doing enough to protect the forests in the area and has been consistently bowing to the pressure by various industries indulging in the logging process in the area. What kinds of changes are needed in the present formulation of laws and policies to ensure sustainability of the forests' These are some of the questions I've attempted to answer through this dissertation.
Ontario's forest industry has been steadily consolidating over the past 15 yrs. In the year 1991, 24 companies were responsible for processing 90 percent of the wood that was harvested. In the year 2004, 8 companies were found to process the same amount of wood that was being processed by the 24 companies in the year 2004. On the wood supply front, the government was aware of the situation that a 20 year old low in the dip of the supply of the wood was looming largely over Ontario. Even after this, the government involving itself in logging contracts with various companies draws a suspicion over its attitude.
Senior industrialists clearly point out that the harvest levels in the forest have been coming down drastically but the government reviews have shown that the harvest rates are above sustainable levels. What does this infer'
It can be easily said that with continuing job loss, lower productivity and harvest levels in terms of quality and quantity and decreasing competitiveness in global markets and loss of key ecological issues, Ontario forest industry is not at all economically sustainable as pointed out by the Government.
For many years, its been widely understood that the continous logging of the forests has clearly resulted in the reduction of bio-diversity, forest composition and degradation of habitat. The rate of logging has clearly increased and experts put the estimates at 6.6 hectares of land per year, which is clearly alarming. In the year 2002, the practice of clear cutting by the industries in that the Environment Commisioner who termed it as "experiment on a massive scale" and observed that it was well