Timber allocations issued through various types of licences ensure a balance between forest growth and timber harvest, and serve as a regulatory framework for commercial use of the forest.
What we are doing
The Ministry of Environment uses different forms of licensing arrangements to secure economic benefits from public forest resources and ensure sustainable forest management. Sixty-one per cent of the province's commercial forest has long-term licensing arrangements with forest management agreements in place. This type of licensing provides the maximum distribution of benefits to society.
Under The Forest Resource Management Act, short-term area-based licence is granted through area-based term supply licences (TSLs). Area-based TSLs are typically issued for a term of five years. This licence has a trust fund into which forest management fees are paid, which are then used for forest management activities, such as reforestation. About 23 per cent of the commercial forest is allocated as area-based TSLs.
A volume-based term supply licence is another type of short-term licence and is one step above an annual forest product permits (FPPs). Volume-based TSLs are issued for two to five years. The specific areas solely managed through volume-based TSLs or by forest product permit holders (i.e. no area based tenure) covers 16 per cent of the commercial forest. This area is managed through volume-based term supply licences or forest product permit holders, which are issued to individuals or small companies based on individual operating plans. The exception is in the Island Forests (the Canwood, Nisbet, Fort-a-la-Corne and Torch River Provincial Forests) where the government prepares an integrated operating plan and is currently developing a forest management plan for the area.
Why it matters
Since forest management agreements provide the greatest assurance of sustainable forest management – requiring forest management plans, which undergo environmental impact assessments, plus renewal obligations – the long-term goal is to move area-based term supply licences to forest management agreements.
Whether it is for timber or non-timber products, aesthetics, medicine or wildlife, the boreal forest is valued by Indigenous peoples and a variety of stakeholders throughout the province including hikers, hunters, cabin owners and forestry companies. Forest management agreements require consultation and planning at different levels (20-year forest management plans and operating plans). This provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to have input and help guide the direction on how to balance environmental, economic and social benefits. Stakeholders are interested in this process, as it is their opportunity to provide valued input on the management of the forest.
Saskatchewan's boreal forest is a complex ecosystem that provides environmental, economic and social benefits to the people of Saskatchewan. The province is responsible for ensuring these benefits are balanced through healthy, diverse and productive forests now and for generations to come. These licences outline legislative requirements, codes and standards to be applied ensuring sustainable forest management.
Forestry is the largest industry in northern Saskatchewan, supporting more than 8,000 direct and indirect jobs. The licence allocation process provides an opportunity for economic development in businesses of various sizes, allowing diversity in scale and product manufacturing across the province. This process also encourages co-operation between licensees to fully utilize timber for the best value and product while supporting sustainable forest management. Allocating timber on Crown land is important to the sustainability of the timber supply while ensuring stability for northern communities that depend on forestry as an economic base.