Narrator: Public participation is a key component of forest management and land-use planning in Canada.
As 93% of Canada’s forests are publically owned, public involvement
in land use planning is important in order to ensure that the range of values held by Canadians are incorporated into decision making processes.
Canada’s provincial, territorial and federal governments act as stewards of the public forests;
managing and maintaining this land for the benefit of all Canadians.
The requirement to carry out public engagement activities for participation in forest management decisions
is incorporated in forest management policies and legislation across the country.
Canada and the Canadian provinces have made a commitment
to sustainable management of forest resources,
and an important element of that commitment
is increasing public participation in the management of public forests.
It is important because we want management that reflects a number of values, a number of uses of the land.
Therefore, it’s necessary to reconcile various visions that people have for the use of those resources.
In addition to legal requirements for public engagement in decision making,
all third party certification systems used in Canada also place demands for
public involvement in the forest management planning process.
These certification systems give customers added assurance that products come from sustainably managed forests.
While it can take more time and money to include public participation in forest management planning,
the resulting decisions reflect a broader range of public concerns, interests and values.
Public involvement also helps to reduce and avoid conflict, and gives credibility to the planning process.
As forestry is a provincial and territorial responsibility in Canada,
each province and territory has developed its own approach
to including public participation in the forest management process.
For members of the public wanting to be involved in management of forest resources,
it’s really a matter of finding out about the opportunities available in their area
because the situation is different in each province.
There are probably three ways in which members of the public who want to can participate.
There is public participation at the provincial level with regard to forest policy when it is being reviewed.
There is public participation during land-use planning, in a number of regions,
and there is public participation in development of forest management plans by the forest industry.
In addition to public consultations, community based public advisory groups meet with local forest managers.
These groups provide feedback that assists with the continual process of improving forest management practices.
Canadians have a voice in determining how their forests are managed.
Public participation provides an opportunity for the values of
all Canadians to influence forest management across the country.