The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is proposing revisions to the Forest Management Planning Manual (FMPM), Forest Information Manual (FIM) and Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual (FOSM)(collectively, “the Manuals”). The revisions are required to incorporate changes resulting from the approval of MNRF’s new Declaration Order for Forest Management on Crown Lands in Ontario (MNR-75) and to address editorial changes. MNRF has also considered the outcomes of a number of recent policy initiatives in its revision to the Manuals.
The Manuals are regulated under section 68 of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA), and provide direction for the preparation and implementation of forest management plans (i.e. FMPM), the standards for forest operations, silviculture and the evaluation of operations and management (i.e. FOSM) and the responsibilities, requirements and processes guiding the exchange of information between MNRF and the forest industry (i.e. FIM).
For a general description of the Manuals, please see the attached document entitled, “Proposed Revisions to the Forest Management Planning Manual, Forest Information Manual and Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual”, which can be accessed through the Revision Table link in the “Other Information” section of this notice.
Revisions are being proposed to the Manuals to address the following matters:
• New requirements imposed by Declaration Order MNR-75 (MNR-75) issued under the Environmental Assessment Act
• Recent and ongoing policy initiatives and reviews, including:
o Proposed Revised Protocol for the Review of Water Crossings Proposed Through the Forest Management Planning Process
o Silviculture Enhancement Initiative
o Endangered Species Act(ESA) / Crown Forest Sustainability Act(CFSA) Integration project
o Spatial and Economic Indicators in Forest Management
o Aboriginal Community Involvement in Forest Management Planning
o Enabling Forest Management on the Cat-Slate Forest
• Updates to current direction regarding forest management planning and implementation
• Advice from forestry practitioners (e.g., lessons learned and findings)
• Administrative and editorial changes
A detailed summary of the proposed revisions to the Manuals is provided in the attached document entitled, “Proposed Revisions to the Forest Management Planning Manual, Forest Information Manual and Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual”, which can be accessed through the Revision Table link in the “Other Information” section of this notice.
1. Declaration Order MNR-75
Declaration Order MNR-75 (MNR-75) replaces both Declaration Order MNR-71, for the Area of the Undertaking, and Declaration Order MNR-74, for the Whitefeather Forest. MNRF is now required to revise the FMPM, FIM, and FOSM to incorporate the changes required by MNR-75.
2. Initiatives and Reviews
MNRF has undertaken a number of initiatives and reviews to address matters related to forest management as identified through changes to legislation, recommendations arising from the 2011 Auditor General’s report, independent forest audits, and the desire of Indigenous communities for more meaningful participation in the forest management planning process..
2.1. Proposed Revised Protocol for the Review of Water Crossings Proposed Through the Forest Management Planning Process (Protocol)
Revisions are being proposed to the FMPM based on the proposed revised Protocol, which introduces a risk-informed proponent self-screening approach for forestry water crossings that enables government and industry stakeholders to focus on planning and reviewing higher-risk water crossing activities that pose a greater potential risk of harm to Ontario’s fisheries. See EBR Registry Number: 012-5974 for the proposed revised Protocol.
2.2. Silviculture Enhancement Initiative
Based on recommendations from the Auditor General, the Silviculture Enhancement Initiative was initiated in 2012 to coordinate efforts to improve policies guiding the silviculture program. As a result, changes are being proposed to the FMPM to ensure that:
• the baseline forecast of future forest condition is based on past silvicultural performance
• regeneration standards include benchmarks to evaluate regeneration at two points in time — the first to evaluate stand establishment and the second to assess growth performance of regenerating stands
• enhanced annual reports include an assessment that compares planned and actual forest condition
2.3. Endangered Species Act /Crown Forest Sustainability Act Integration Project
Forest operations are currently eligible for a regulatory exemption under the ESA, provided rules in the regulation are met. This exemption expires on July 1, 2018. MNRF continues to explore policy options to integrate the CFSA and the ESA. Proposed revisions to the FMPM would enable, though not require a potential streamlined approach to integration.
2.4. Spatial and Economic Indicators in Forest Management
MNRF is proposing to add requirements to the FMPM and FIM to help planning teams identify and address spatial and economic considerations in the determination of sustainability. Changes propose requiring an assessment of the feasibility of areas chosen for harvest; adding a risk analysis to determine if identified risks could affect plan objectives; and ensuring that access roads planned for construction are consistent with the distribution of harvest areas across the management unit.
2.5. Aboriginal Community Involvement in Forest Management Planning
To ensure that opportunities for Aboriginal community involvement in the preparation and implementation of forest management plans continue to be meaningful, MNRF is proposing ways to enhance community involvement. Examples include: increasing the timeline for contacting Aboriginal communities before the formal public consultation process begins; and adding a requirement for the district manager to offer Aboriginal communities opportunities to participate in the desired forest and benefits meeting.
2.6. Enabling Forest Management on the Cat-Slate Forest
On October 23, 2015, MNRF submitted a request to MOECC to amend Declaration Order MNR-75 to include the Cat-Slate Forest to the Area of the Undertaking (EBR Registry Number: 012-1366). If the Cat-Slate Forest is added to the Area of the Undertaking, the FMPM will incorporate requirements, as described in this proposal, for the Cat-Slate Forest to enable a forest management plan to be prepared for the forest.
3. Updates to Current Direction
MNRF regularly reviews its forest management policy framework to ensure that the most up-to-date direction is available for forest management planning and implementation. Proposed revisions to the Manuals are to remove references to outdated direction and add references to current direction (e.g., consolidation of forest management guides).
4. Advice from Forestry Practitioners
Advice from the forest industry and MNRF field staff has been considered in the proposed revisions to the Manuals, including lessons learned.
5. Administrative and Editorial Revisions
Editorial changes are also being proposed to provide clarity and ensure consistency in language among the three Manuals.