From the syrup we pour on our pancakes to the enriching features of our landscapes, forests and forest products continue to be ever present in our lives. Highlighted below are a few initiatives from the Canadian Model Forest Network demonstrating how sustainable forest management practices are playing an important role in the success of forest owners enhancing the sale of their products and restoring the ecological integrity of Eastern Ontario forests.
Helping expand markets through forest certification
The Eastern Ontario Model Forest (EOMF) has been building a Forest Certification Program for private land forests in southern Ontario for over a decade, in part because it views sustainable forest management (SFM) as being more than just about sustained timber yields. SFM is also about good management practices, sustainable livelihoods and involved communities.
Certification is a market‐based tool which has helped to foster sustainable forest management and can improve market access. In 2015, the EOMF received a grant through the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) Smallholder Program. The grant was used for training sessions to improve the knowledge base of forest managers participating in the EOMF Forest Certification Program. The training focused on key areas relevant to the FSC® Principles including: Aboriginal values; forest management standards; auditing and the chain of custody process; and high conservation values in and around the forest.
The EOMF hosts the website “Your Pathway to Forest Certification” www.eomfcert.ca. The website enables community forest managers and forest owners to find out more information about the “who, what, why and how” of certifying private woodlots or community forests under the EOMF’s Forest Certification Program. The program now encompasses over 83,000 hectares of private land forest consisting of community forests, forest owner groups, forest managers, and maple syrup producers across southern Ontario.
Photo caption: Gary Ivens, the world’s first FSC certified maple syrup producer. “People are interested in buying certified maple syrup because they know certified products come from a well-managed forest.” Gary sells his syrup and products in Canada, the US, and has recently expanded sales in markets around the world including in Saudi Arabia!
Restoring Eastern Ontario Woodlands One Hectare at a Time
The Woodland Restoration Program is delivered by the Eastern Ontario Model Forest in cooperation with Forests Ontario. The program facilitates tree planting efforts and is tailored towards solar companies who are mandated by the province to restore forest cover in lieu of tree removal resulting from solar installations.
The vision of the EOMF Woodland Restoration Program is to protect, enhance and restore the biological diversity and ecological integrity of eastern Ontario forests. This is done through the restoration of indigenous forest ecosystems as well as preservation and management of existing forest types. Restoration interventions are based upon site selection criteria including contributions to improving interior forests within the landscape by keeping them intact and connected.
In the spring of 2015, participants in the program planted a total of 44,100 trees. Through this initiative, 22 hectares of new forest corridors and 25 hectares of new interior forest were created. Since the program began in 2013, participants have planted over 180,000 trees resulting in 91 hectares of new forests of which 64 hectares were new interior forest habitat.
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