All of the woodlands owned or managed by Resolute Forest Products are located within or near areas that play a role in maintaining and enhancing biodiversity, including areas adjacent to protected areas and areas with significant biodiversity value. These lands are located primarily in Canada and are 98% publicly owned.
Our third-party-certified forest management and chain of custody systems ensure our timberlands provide protection for forest biodiversity and habitat, and that the fiber contained in our products is obtained from responsible sources. Certification standards require third-party audits that are aimed at safeguarding biodiversity, water quality, wildlife habitat, species at risk and forests with exceptional conservation value. ISO-certified environmental management systems also help us manage and mitigate potential negative impacts on biodiversity.
Ensuring the Sustainability of our Fiber Supply in Quebec and Ontario
With the support of the provinces, the Canadian government is committed to conserve 25% of the country’s lands and oceans by 2025, and 30% of each by 2030. Resolute collaborates with the provincial governments in Ontario and Quebec toward achieving these goals.
While the process of completing the protected area network is ongoing, as of 2021, Quebec had permanently protected 17% of the province’s total area (67 million acres or 27.1 million hectares). Nearly 42% of the continuous boreal forest is off-limits to harvest, as it is beyond the northern limit for forestry allocations. Where forestry activities are permitted, an additional 38% of the forest area covered by forest management units (30.4 million acres or 12.3 million hectares) has been excluded for environmental purposes or due to conditions that limit harvest activities. That leaves about 36% of the total continuous boreal forest available for forest management planning (48.9 million acres or 19.8 million hectares). In other words, a total of 64% of Quebec’s continuous boreal forest is inaccessible to the forest products industry.
Ontario has permanently protected over 11% of its total area with 717 parks, conservation areas, reserves and other effective area-based conservation measures (OECM) (28.4 million acres or 11.5 million hectares). Another 12% is set aside within the managed forest. In addition to these protected areas, nearly 40% of the boreal forest is located north of the province’s Area of the Undertaking, which is off-limits to commercial forestry activities. When the provincial government approves timber harvesting operations, it bases its decisions on comprehensive forest management plans that factor in public input, scientific research and economic development.
Leveraging Forest Management for Biodiversity Conservation
Establishing networks of protected areas is a key consideration in sustainable forest management, and public consultation is critical to ensuring the social and cultural needs of stakeholders are met, and that forest values are upheld.
Resolute uses cutting-edge technologies to plan and conduct forest management activities, including 3D digital imagery and Global Positioning System (GPS) mapping technology, along with sophisticated geographic information system (GIS) applications. These and other tools help us identify and address environmental and social factors (such as cultural landmarks) in our management plans, accurately lay out boundaries, and sustainably manage the resources in our care.
Through forest management planning, the company determines the operational sites in – or adjacent to – protected areas as well as areas of high biodiversity value located outside protected areas. As the vast majority of Resolute-managed woodlands are located in Canada, this work is focused on our operations in Quebec and Ontario.
When considering forest management units along with adjacent protected areas, 43% of the total area we manage (25.1 million acres or 10.1 million hectares) is under regulated or non-regulated protection. Regulated protection includes nature reserves, national parks, wilderness areas, protected areas and other designations classified under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) system, and recognized by international bodies like the United Nations. Non-regulated protection covers other measures that contribute to the conservation of biodiversity, including reserves, candidate lands for protected areas, wetlands, species-at-risk deferrals, and less productive forest areas that are not classified under the IUCN system. Together, these biodiversity conservation mechanisms support the protection of vulnerable species and ecosystems at the landscape scale.
For more information on how Resolute manages forest lands responsibly, please visit the Forestry and Fiber Sourcing page.