Tembec, CPAWS Wildlands League urge Ontario's MNR to build on plan they jointly submitted three years ago to provide business certainty, habitat protection for caribou in Abitibi River Forest

TORONTO , September 12, 2011 (press release) – Tembec, a large integrated forest products company, and CPAWS Wildlands League, a leading conservation group in Ontario, acknowledge the release of the Long Term Management Direction (LTMD) for the Abitibi River Forest located in Northeastern Ontario. The LTMD was recently and voluntarily posted by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) on the Environmental Registry for a 30-day public comment period that closed September 9. Formal consultations will continue throughout the following months and into 2012.

Tembec and CPAWS Wildlands League agree on a path forward to provide enduring business certainty and habitat protection for caribou in the Abitibi River Forest. They also met with local First Nations, mayors and local councils to build a common vision for the forest and its waterways. Tembec and CPAWS Wildlands League urge the MNR to build on the workable plan they jointly submitted some three years ago, which reflects consensus on both the next ten years and the longer term.

"First of all, we must thank First Resources Management Group, mandated by MNR, for incorporating some of our advice into the LTMD for the first ten years," says Janet Sumner, Executive Director, CPAWS Wildlands League. "We requested logging operations stay out of high value caribou habitat for the first decade. This decade buys time for the province to gather population health and population trend data. These vital ingredients ensure the longer term decisions in the plan don't compromise caribou, while also maintaining a healthy wood supply to existing mills over the life of the plan," added Sumner.

"There appears to be sufficient timber for the first ten years, provided all other crown tenure sources currently utilized by Tembec remain intact, said Michel Lessard, Tembec Vice President, Forest Resource Management. Tembec and CPAWS believe the consensus that has been developed between both organizations should be the basis for government policy. "Let's build on this consensus to come to an acceptable solution beyond the next ten years that would bring about economic, environmental and social balance by implementing a sustainable strategy and the best recovery plan," he stated.

"Tembec has agreed not to log in high value intact caribou habitat and to focus on recovery where we have the best chance of caribou habitat coming back, giving time for the proof of that caribou return. For our recovery efforts to be effective, we need a real assessment of where the southern limit of the caribou range for this part of Ontario truly is," Lessard underlined.

Both groups agree this approach takes into account the needs of threatened species like caribou, and maintains wood for existing mills while not expanding the industrial footprint into high value currently occupied caribou habitat.

The LTMD sets a direction for writing the Forest Management Plan (FMP). FMPs typically cover a 10-year period and incorporate a vision for cutblocks over a 140-year time frame. The Abitibi River Forest encompasses 3.5 million hectares and includes the communities of Cochrane, Smooth Rock

Falls, Iroquois Falls and Timmins and overlaps with the traditional territories of at least seven First Nations.

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