July 26, 2004

Review of 38 nations ranks Canada a leader in forest management regulation, compliance

An independent study by Yale University professor Benjamin Cashore has concluded that Canada's forest policy regulation and compliance regime is among the most progressive and stringent in the world. Canada, it states, has emerged in recent years as among the world's leaders in aggressively improving sustainability practices, and is among the world's most environmentally progressive producers in terms of a wide range of measures including streamside (riparian) management and reforestation policy.

The 400-page study, Global Environmental Forest Policies: Canada as a Constant Case Comparison of Select Forest Practice Regulations, is a rigorous academic analysis and comparison of compliance and enforcement measures in 38 jurisdictions which are active in the production and trade of forest products. It addresses key forestry management practices, including riparian zone management, protection of species at risk, reforestation, annual allowable cuts and certification.

The study, which took over a year to complete, found that Canada has:

a world-leading environmental protection system relating to forestry practices;

a stringent and non-discretionary forestry policy and regulatory regime; and

institutionalized auditing procedures which provide for transparency and evaluation.

One of the most interesting findings of the study was a contrast between regulatory regimes and compliance: some countries with the most stringent rules in place also had relatively low compliance rates. Non-compliance with forest rules and regulations, it notes, is a serious challenge facing many developing and transitional countries due to problems such as political instability, weak economic conditions, corruption and poverty.

Canada - particularly British Columbia and Ontario - is notable among the jurisdictions examined for having institutionalized formal procedures in place to monitor compliance. Canada was also found to have among the most stringent (i.e. both mandatory and detailed) rules governing riparian zones, a central issue in many forest management debates. It also leads all other study countries in terms of the amount of forest land independently certified to sustainable forest management systems. In terms of percentage of forest land under certification, Canada ranked fifth among the countries studied.

Dr Cashore is an associate professor of sustainable forest policy, and chair of the Program on Forest Certification at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies in New Haven, Connecticut. The study was commissioned by the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and the BC Market Outreach Network.

"The industry is very pleased that an independent study of this magnitude finds that Canada's forest industry is a world leader in environmental forest practice regulations. The study conclusively demonstrates that Canada has the

combination of stringent policies and active enforcement that places it among the world's leaders in environmentally sensitive forestry," said FPAC president and CEO Avrim Lazar.

"Customers of pulp, paper and wood around the world now have an important new information base to use in considering where they can buy products with confidence. The study demonstrates that while there is room for improvement, the Canadian forest management regime is one of the most advanced in the world. Indeed, for those who are attaching increasing importance to environmental considerations, Canada is among the best places in the world from which to buy products," he added.

A summary of the report may be viewed on the FPAC Web site, www.fpac.ca; the full report may be viewed at www.ifor.ca . More information is available from Andrew Casey of the FPAC, 613/563-1441, ext 312, E-mail acasey@fpac.ca.

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