Unit 2 - The History of Forest Use and Management

Lesson 11: Canada at a Crossroads

By the 1980s, forest management in Canada was at a crossroads. Past forest management policies were clearly not working:

  • Sustained yield forest management had focused mainly on providing an adequate flow of timber from year to year. There had been little consideration given to preserving other forest values such as fish and wildlife, water quality, and biological diversity.

  • Efforts to encourage multiple use of the forest had not succeeded in adequately balancing differing forest values (economic, environmental, and social). The cumulative effects resulting from both consumptive and non-consumptive use of the forest were taking a heavy toll on the environment.

Around the same time, Canadians were demanding a much greater role in forest management decisions.
As a result of these pressures, the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers sponsored a series of public forums across the country that resulted in the formation of a national forest strategy entitled "Sustainable Forests: A Canadian Commitment 1992-1997."
In 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, Canada was one of the first countries in the world to commit to a forest management approach known as "Sustainable Forest Management." This method of forest management endures to the present day. You will learn much more about sustainable forest management in the remaining units of this course.

A multiple-use forest management strategy must consider economic, environmental, and social concerns