MAY 14, 2002
NEW SPECIES OF OLD GROWTH FOUND, WILL BE LOGGED
For the first time, old-growth black spruce and jack pine have been found in Temagami. Following an examination of MNR data by Ottertooth.com, the old growth was identified, but is in a controversial area to be logged this fall.
Until now, only old-growth red and white pine have been found in Temagami. However, a new report from MNR has made it possible to identify other species. The area to be logged, between Sharp Rock Inlet, Diamond Lake and Obabika Lake, is 59 per cent old-growth black spruce and jack pine.
Environmentalists and tourist operators oppose logging these stands in the core of Temagami. “This is ripping the heart out of the Temagami wilderness and there should be no logging there,” says Hap Wilson of Eskakwa Wilderness Outfitters.
The old growth is situated in an area that has remained relatively intact with scattered virgin stands of forest mixed with endangered old-growth red and white pine. It is in the heart of one of Canada’s busiest wilderness-canoeing areas. Its wild character has been partially protected with a high concentration of parks and protected areas, but pockets remain open for logging.
Until now a full-species old-growth search has not been performed in Temagami as definitions for the various forest types have not been accepted by the Ontario government. A recently released report from MNR, Old Growth Forest Definitions for Ontario, produced in earnest over the last two years, now provides them. In 1994 the Environmental Assessment Board ordered MNR to define all old-growth forests and incorporate these new definitions into an old-growth conservation policy.
MNR waited six years before getting down to work on old growth. During the interval, MNR has been, and continues to be, free to cut old growth without restrictions. “They are absolutely dragging their feet on this,” says Brennain Lloyd , former chair of Ontario’s Old Growth Forests Policy Advisory Committee. “We have had eight years of losing old growth across the province."
MNR says it does not have to protect these newly identified stands as the old-growth conservation strategy is not yet policy. May 2003 is the target date for policy adoption. "MNR is always hiding behind its policies," says Doug Fraser of Friends of Temagami. "It has a public duty to protect our forest heritage, policy or not."
MNR's OLD-GROWTH TEST: average age of the dominant tree species in a forest stand is equal to or greater than the minimum old-growth age (as stated in the new definitions).
NOTE: Area of old-growth black spruce and jack pine to be logged is calculated by area of the total stand allocations in blocks 30 and 46.
SOURCES: MNR documents (FRI stand maps, FRI data tables, Temagami Forest Management Plan maps, Old Growth Forest Definitions for Ontario)
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