Our woodlands operations supply logs to our sawmills and certain of our pulp and paper mills. To harvest the wood we need for our business while ensuring the long-term sustainability of our forests, the Company has to monitor and manage vast expanses of forestlands.
We manage approximately 4.7 million hectares (11.5 million acres) of woodlands in North America (as at April 1, 2013), mainly through long-term forest management and harvesting licenses or agreements on public land. In Canada, the forest management plans are approximately 20 to 25 years in length and automatically renew every five years, contingent upon the Company’s continued compliance with environmental performance and reforestation requirements. We also own a small area of timberlands in Canada and in the southeastern United States.
Note: We previously reported a total area managed of 14.7 million hectares (36.3 million acres). In Quebec, as of April 1, 2013, the timber supply and forest management agreements, initially covering a period of 25 years, were revoked and replaced by 5-year timber supply guarantees. Responsibility for forest management and non-commercial silviculture has been taken over almost entirely by the provincial government. Although the industry remains primarily responsible for harvesting, forest roads and "commercial" silviculture (generating merchantable volumes), it still retains a role in the operational planning of harvesting activities and remains the holder of the sustainable forest management certificates.
With all of our managed woodlands third-party certified to internationally recognized sustainable forest management (SFM) standards, Resolute Forest Products is among the largest SFM certificate holders in the world. Copies of SFM certificates for our woodlands operations are available for download on each region’s profile.
We are also committed to maintaining ISO-14001 certified environmental management systems at our woodlands operations to promote the conservation and sustainable use of forests and other natural resources.
The regeneration of harvested woodlands is an essential component of sustainable forest management. Although precise regulations and norms vary by jurisdiction, the underlying goal remains constant: to replace the forest that was previously harvested, while ensuring biodiversity as well as the protection of ecological and societal values.
Resolute utilizes a range of forest management (silviculture) techniques and best practices including regeneration surveys, site preparation, the planting of traditional seedlings, and aerial and terrestrial seeding – all in combination with natural regeneration. The actual method selected for a given site is dependent on local climate and soil conditions and wood species involved. Silviculture crews plant millions of seedlings annually.