Upon first meeting me, you might guess that I’m from Northern Ontario when actually, I’m Franco-Ontarian, born in Quebec and raised in Ottawa- a city girl. Having been passionate about science and nature my whole life, I studied physical geography, ecology and evolutionary biology and forestry in school. I have always considered myself an environmentalist and was moved to take a greater interest in Canadian environment and natural resource management after seeing first hand some devastating environmental degradation in the Tropical forests of South America and South East Asia.
If I was going to get involved, I’d start in my backyard in Canada.
Canada is unlike other developed nations in that we are extremely resource rich, with over 90% original forest cover, we have a small population, and the majority of our resources are publicly-owned, which means a lot of it belongs to you and me. After reading through Natural Resources Canada and Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources documents, it is apparent that Canada is committed to sustainable forest management. With this, I decided to pursue a Master of Forest Conservation from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Forestry. Finally, I had the opportunity to get close to forestry operations in Ontario and see first-hand how much goes into making sure our forests are responsibly managed.
The forestry sector is an important part of our heritage and as a Canadian, I know that our forests are being sustainably managed for present and future generations.
Canadians can feel proud of their forest products as our nation has a stringent regulatory regime whereby all forests are regenerated after harvest, forestry operations are science-based, and there is ongoing science and monitoring. It’s no surprise that Canada has over 40% of the world’s certified working forests. And when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases and producing a variety of low carbon products, the forestry sector is our climate change champion.
Today in my role with the Ontario Forest Industries Association, I work to ensure that public policy supports the growth of Ontario’s forest products sector so that all Ontarians can maximize the benefits from our renewable natural resources- trees. In Ontario, we harvest less than 1% of our forests each year, yet this wood supply provides more than $10 billion to the Province and supports over 170,000 good paying jobs. That’s an awesome return on investment for the citizens of Ontario.
This sustainable economic development opportunity is the greenest opportunity to present itself to Ontario and that’s why I’m standing up for forestry.