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Feds to invest $100 million in joint management program.

Feds to invest $100 million in joint management program

The federal government is prepared to spend $100 million over the next five years on a co-operative management system for the nation's forests.

Federal Forestry Minister Frank Oberle explained that the initiative, which will be formally announced later this fall, will establish special management zones across the country. The zones, which will be jointly administered by federal and provincial agencies and the private sector, will serve as a testing ground for a number of forestry management innovations.

"The areas will be large enough to accommodate a number of integrated management practices," Oberle said during an interview from his Ottawa office. "We would work with the provincial governments, industry and stakeholders in the zones to implement the latest management techniques."

The program is part of the federal government's Green Plan which also includes such initiatives as urban tree planting projects, genetic research programs and increasing the amount of land reserved for federal parks.

Oberle explained that the management of these zones will not be restricted to timber use, but will also incorporate soil conservation and water use, as well. The government is in the process of developing the final criteria for the selection of the zones, but Oberle indicated that at least one will be located in Northern Ontario.

After the formal announcement the federal government will begin accepting and evaluating proposals for the management zone areas. A senior-level government committee has already been struck to evaluate the proposals.

Oberle said the federal government "will begin right away to work with the provinces, Native groups and environmental organizations" to provide the funding and facilitate the sharing of data and technology.

The federal government's new initiative coincides with the launching of the province's sustainable forestry program which is intended to set policy for the regeneration of the province's forest resources and provide a more accurate inventory of those resources.

Oberle insists that the two government programs will not conflict with one another nor be a duplication of efforts.

"The province's program is more global in nature," he said in reference to the province-wide aspect of the plan. "We want to identify fairly large areas which are self-sufficient and contain a diverse ecological construction."

In addition, the minister predicts that co-operation between the federal government and Ontario will increase when the province signs a renewed Canada-Ontario Forest Resource Development Agreement. He expects to see the agreement signed in the near future.

"The previous (Liberal) government had commissioned a report of forestry activities and wanted the report completed before it signed the agreement. Then there was a change in government, and the new government wanted to review the reports," Oberle explained. "But I believe they're ready to sign a modest agreement within the next few months."

No details of the agreement have been released. The previous five-year arrangement, which expired in 1989, involved money for silviculture work and research and development. The program was worth $150 million, funded on an equal basis by the province and Ottawa.

A spokesman for Natural Resources Minister Bud Wildman said progress has been made on renewing the agreement and that it will likely be signed by the end of the year.
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Title Annotation:Report on Forestry; Canada Ministry of Forests
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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