All of the woodlands owned or managed by Resolute Forest Products are located within or near areas that play a role in maintaining biodiversity, including areas adjacent to protected areas and areas with significant biodiversity value.
All of the initiatives and actions we undertake build upon our core commitment to protect, manage and renew the forest through responsible management. We recognize that it is possible to harvest trees carefully while maintaining biodiversity and upholding the forest values we all respect.
Our forest certification and certified chain of custody systems ensure that our timberlands provide protection for forest biodiversity and habitat and that the fiber contained in our products is obtained from responsible sources. All of these standards require third-party audits that are aimed at safeguarding biodiversity, water quality, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with exceptional conservation value.
The environmental management systems at all of our operations also help us manage and mitigate potential negative impacts on biodiversity.
Ensuring the Sustainability of our Fiber Supply in Quebec and Ontario
In Quebec, nearly 42% of the continuous boreal forest is off-limits to harvest, as it is beyond the northern limit for forestry allocations. Where forestry activities are permitted, an additional 30.4 million acres (12.3 million hectares, or 38% of the forest area in the boreal covered by forest management units (FMUs)) have been excluded for environmental purposes or due to conditions that limit harvest activities. That leaves a total of 48.9 million acres (19.8 million hectares) available for forest management planning, or about 36% of the total continuous boreal forest, which means that, in Quebec, a total of 64% of the continuous boreal forest is inaccessible to the forest products industry. While the process of completing the protected area network is ongoing, as of March 2016, Quebec had permanently protected over 9% of the province’s total area, or 38.4 million acres (15.5 million hectares).
Ontario has permanently protected over 11% of its total area with 691 parks, as well as reserves and other conservation designations, with a total of 12% set aside in the managed forest. In addition to these protected areas, nearly 40% of the boreal forest is located north of the Area of the Undertaking in Ontario and has been made off-limits to commercial forestry activities. When the provincial government approves timber harvesting operations, it bases its decisions on comprehensive forest management plans that factor in public input, scientific research and economic development.
We Value and Support Biodiversity
Establishing a network of protected areas is a key consideration in sustainable forest management. As well, public consultation is critical for the development of collaborative forest management strategies to ensure that social needs are satisfied and forest values are protected.
Resolute uses cutting-edge technologies to plan and conduct forest management activities, including 3D digital imagery and Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping technology, along with sophisticated geographic information system (GIS) applications. These and other tools help us better identify and address environmental and social factors (such as cultural landmarks) in our management plans, accurately lay out boundaries, and sustainably manage the resources in our care.
The company conducted a review to determine the operational sites owned, leased and managed in – or adjacent to – protected areas as well as areas of high biodiversity value outside protected areas. As the vast majority of woodlands that are owned or managed by Resolute are located in Canada, this review was limited to FMUs in Quebec and Ontario.
When the areas of our FMUs are considered along with adjacent protected areas, 25.1 million acres (10.1 million hectares, or 43% of the total area) is under regulated or non-regulated protection. Regulated protection includes nature reserves, national parks, wilderness areas, protected areas and other designations classified under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) system, and recognized by international bodies like the United Nations. Non-regulated protection covers other measures that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, including reserves, candidate protected areas, wetlands, caribou deferrals, and less productive forest areas that are not classified under the IUCN system. Together, these biodiversity conservation mechanisms support the protection of vulnerable species and ecosystems at the landscape scale.
For more information on how Resolute manages forest lands responsibly, please visit the Forestry and Fiber Sourcing page.