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Opportunity for stakeholder engagement in forest management planning

Photo showing forest engagement with stakeholders and staff

In Saskatchewan, the government and industry work to engage citizens in the management of publicly owned forests. The government ensures sustainable forest management through long-term strategic forest management plans for certain types of forest tenures.

What's happening

Graphic showing forest trend, state, info and extent

What we are doing

The Forest Resources Management Act requires the holder of a forest management agreement (FMA) to develop a forest management plan (FMP) that covers 20 years. FMPs help ensure sustainability and balance social, economic and environmental values. An approved FMP is required for FMA licence holders to operate.

The Forest Management Planning Standard of the Saskatchewan Environmental Code guides development of FMPs. This standard, among other things, outlines comprehensive requirements for industry to demonstrate how it has engaged with other forest users, Indigenous communities and the public throughout the various stages in the planning process.

What constitutes engagement is largely left to the proponent's discretion and varies by the proponent. Examples of the types of engagement are open houses, advisory group meetings, public or community meetings to review operating plans, field tours, documented communications, phone calls or individual invitation letters that are evidence of the opportunity to attend such meetings. Since 2020, the popularity of virtual engagement has increased, so licensees are now offering a combination of in-person and virtual engagement opportunities.

The overall number of opportunities is trending upwards, this is due to a rise in engagement activities conducted as part of FMP amendments by three licensees (to align their plan with Saskatchewan's Caribou Range Planning) and increased licensee communications with stakeholders for operating plan reviews. Each FMP amendment has taken a year to complete and required engagement with indigenous communities, the public and stakeholders.

Opportunities provided for Indigenous communities, the public and stakeholder engagement

Why it matters

First Nations and Métis communities and stakeholders such as outfitters, trappers, recreation users, hunters, gatherers, environmental groups, leaseholders, municipalities, resource developers and other governmental departments provide valuable information and perspectives. Stakeholder input can help to mitigate the potential for conflict, improve transparency, provide for greater accountability and ensure the best possible forest management and policy decisions.

Licensees have a wide variety of management areas and diverse numbers of stakeholders. It is unsuitable to compare the number of engagement opportunities between licensees. In their FMP, each licensee is required to establish targets for engagement opportunities and to report on their performance annually.

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