THE STATE OF CANADA'S FORESTS- ANNUAL REPORT 2009- an opinion
The new state of the forests report from the Canadian government was recently released, replete with a photo of MP Lisa Raitt, our Minister of Natural Resources (who makes me squeamish still, thinking of her idea of a 'sexy' issue). The report, in my mind, is glossy and out of touch with the reality of forestry in Canada today. It touts Canada's "solid commitment to sustainable forest management" and desire to maintain "all environmental, economic, and social forest values, not just timber values" but then proceeds to report on a scarce few sustainability indicators; all of which are related more to maintaining the conventional commercial forestry paradigm prevalent and crumbling in Canada than pursuing sustainability in all it's multivalued complexity. What a let down for anyone looking for a true indication of a multi-value approach to forestry in Canada. Furthermore, indicators are, in their own words, "practical, science-based tools that give governments, industry, the public and others a consistent way to track national progress over time and to identify where improvements can be made". They neglect to consider other forms of knowledge and qualitative measurements and seem to lump anyone who doesn't fit nicely into this view as "other" (Who is the other here? What are their values?). They go on to say, "However, no single indicator alone is a sign of sustainability. For accurate measurement, the whole range of indicators must be considered" but then only consider 12 indicators related exclusively to the commercial forest sector.
These are just my impressions, and maybe I'm sending out a little attitude in the hopes of sparking some discussion around this latest effort of by Natural Resources Canada. But maybe I'm also giving voice to the frustration of seeing SFM get held up as the win/win solution by a government who is simultaneously hollowing it the concept of all substance in order to fit conventional ideas into its unconventional frame.