On February 14, 2002, Westwind received an Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) “Certificate of Approval” from SGS Qualifor, a third party auditing firm accredited by ASI as a Certifying Body. The certificate recognizes the French-Severn Forest as fulfilling all the requirements of a “Well Managed Forest”. All FSC-certified forests worldwide are evaluated against FSC’s Principles & Criteria for responsible forest management. Specific forest stewardship standards suited to local social, ecological and economic conditions ensure the entire community benefits from sustainable forestry. In order to maintain FSC certification, Westwind undergoes annual surveillance audits, as well as rigorous re-certification audits every 5 years. All findings are disclosed to the public through audit reports.
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a global, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of responsible forest management worldwide. FSC defines standards based on agreed principles for responsible forest stewardship that are supported by environmental, social, and economic stakeholders. To learn more, visit www.fsc.org
“FSC certification became a goal around which cottagers, environmentalists and industry could find common ground.” – Kate Harries, Toronto Star
Read Full Article: Toronto Star — Muskoka Forest wins Kudos
Principle 9 of the Forest Stewardship Council Principles and Criteria requires a High Conservation Value Forest (HCVF) assessment to be undertaken. Using the National Boreal HCVF Framework for Canada, several high conservation values (HCV) were identified in the French-Severn Forest. Westwind is committed to maintaining or enhancing these values by implementing management practices that protect waterways and wildlife habitat, conserve regions of high biodiversity and minimize the impact of harvesting operations. To view the HCVF Report, click here: Westwind HCVF Report
Large portions of the French-Severn Forest are classified as protected areas. While many such protected areas are designated provincial parks, significantly more area are classified as Conservation Reserves. In the late 1990s, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry undertook a major land use designation initiative in the Province of Ontario referred to as Lands for Life.
Regional round-tables that each included 14 members including First Nations and a range of stakeholders including representatives from tourism, environmental groups, forest industry, mining and municipalities among others. 190 public meetings were held across the province in cities and towns that resulted in thousands of members of the public in attending to learn and provide feedback if desired.
The Lands for Life process culminated with a decision document entitled Ontario’s Living Legacy that resulted in an increase of 7% of the planning area of Ontario’s Crown forests in the province being in protected areas to 12% of that landbase.
The main approach used in this process was, in general terms, to protect representative areas from forest combinations of landform, forest type and development state . Other representative forest features and values such as species at risk were other considerations in identifying these protected areas. The process was conducted with ecologists in a “gap analysis” review.
A much higher proportion of additional protected areas were identified in the French-Severn Forest. Approximately 18% of the total Crown land area (including waters and non-forested areas) are now identified as a park or a conservation reserve. When only forested areas are considered, the protected proportion increases to approximately 23%. The gap analysis and designation of protected areas of this magnitude resulted in a functionally complete representation.
Ontario’s Crown Land Use Policy Atlas (CLUPA) was a product that came out of Ontario’s Living Legacy that provides for an interactive map of managed and general use areas as well as Conservation Reserves, provincial parks and Enhanced Management Areas. https://www.ontario.ca/page/crown-land-use-policy-atlas is the link. In the years following Ontario’s Living Legacy, Management Statements were developed for the various protected areas describing the purpose of each area as well as the allowable activities that could occur within each specific area. Logging was excluded from all Conservation Reserves and new parks.
In 2020, Westwind did a single entity review of the protected areas and how they contribute to the gap analysis. The gap analysis was so complete with such a high level of protection in this forest that Westwind has not been active in revisiting this process. The review was more of a high level check to confirm that the forest has not fundamentally changed so that gaps would no longer be fulfilled. Westwind can be contacted for a copy of this brief review.
Check out our Blog!
- Westwind Board of Directors celebrates Barry Davidson’s 25 Years of Service February 13, 2023
- Parry Sound’s Westwind Forest Stewardship Inc. recognized by MPP Smith November 30, 2022