Last summer’s historic forest fires had a significant impact on the amount of timber that could be harvested in the coming years, particularly in the Nord-du-Québec region. The chief forester fears “significant social impacts” for local communities.
Louis Pelletier, the chief forester responsible for establishing forest potential, or the amount of timber that can be harvested in Quebec’s public forests, gave an update on his projections on Wednesday.
Normally, these are established over a five-year period, but the historic wildfires that devastated the province last summer forced its teams to redo their calculations.
Considering the impacts of forest fires, the Chief Forester recommends reducing Quebec by 619,400 m.3 Amount of timber to be harvested across the province from 1 per yearR April 2024.
Province-wide, this represents an approximately 2% decrease in the total volume of timber harvested by the end of the current period in March 2028.
If the level appears to be low, the chief forester predicts “significant social impacts” in some areas devastated by the flames, including Nord-du-Quebec.
Approximately 17% of the exploitable area is allocated there, so Louis Pelletier recommends reducing the amount of wood to be harvested there by approximately 13%.
“For some parts, it hurts”
“It is heavily dependent on wood processing and forestry. [Quand] We are looking at 2% at the provincial level, which may seem very low, but when you look at the location and the concentration of constituencies for some regions, it hurts,” he explained during a briefing on Wednesday.
The chief forester explains that the most affected areas, such as Nord-du-Québec, Abitibi-Témiscamingue and Mauricie, are waiting for “new information” to arrive in the coming months, which could further modify these forecasts in the coming years. .
In total, 1.3 million hectares of forest were ravaged by wildfires last summer in Quebec, the size of the Lanaire region. Of this figure, 920,000 hectares were considered “under forest management” and taken into account by the Chief Conservator of Forests in calculating the exploitable amount.
Notified of the chief forester’s recommendations on Wednesday, Quebec quickly announced the creation of a special committee “to support workers, communities and companies in the forestry sector concerned.”
The latter will make it possible to support the most concerned foresters through the recent modification of forestry grants to ensure the vitality of affected areas and the sustainable development of our forests,” explains the Minister of Natural Resources. and Forests, Maïté Blanchette Vézina.
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