Outaouais forests facing more cutbacks

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Arnaud de la Salle & Allyson Beauregard

On May 1, the Pontiac Forest Products Producers Board (PFB) in Shawville, which
represents many private forestry producers in
the region, confirmed
cutbacks imposed on
the Outaouais’ private silviculture operations by Laurent Lessard, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.

Arnaud de la Salle & Allyson Beauregard

On May 1, the Pontiac Forest Products Producers Board (PFB) in Shawville, which
represents many private forestry producers in
the region, confirmed
cutbacks imposed on
the Outaouais’ private silviculture operations by Laurent Lessard, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.
With the budget for private forest investments cut by about 30%, the PFB fears it will have to close its doors within two years if nothing is done to improve the situation for private woodlot producers, thereby increasing the amount of wood marketed. “The Outaouais’ private forestry development was not spared in a time of increased governmental cutbacks. Yet the Outaouais includes some of the most devitalized MRCs in Quebec, whose economies rely heavily on the forest industry. The decline of investments
in the private forest industry goes back almost 10 years in the Outaouais…. This is just another addition to the equation,” said PFB, Groupement Forestier du Pontiac, and four other regional forestry associtations in a press release. Despite the cutbacks in private forestry investments, budgets for public forests increased by about $80 million.
While announcing the slash in funding, Lessard called for increased
production in private forests. “This is impossible for producers being faced with the pressure of the current situation. It is utopic to believe producers can effectively
produce timber while properly managing their woodlots given the current situation,” said the group in the press release. 
“In a region where the private forest sector includes 10,900 private owners and employs 695 workers, we cannot allow another nail in the coffin. The PFB markets about 92,581 square meters per year when it could be marketing 585,000 square meters,” they concluded.