Forest fires: Legault confirms that the caribou protection strategy will be revised

Forest fires: Legault confirms that the caribou protection strategy will be revised

Forest fires: Legault confirms that the caribou protection strategy will be revised

François Legault at the National Assembly

The Premier of Quebec, François Legault, confirmed Thursday morning at the National Assembly that the caribou protection strategy which was to be presented over the next few days will be reviewed. to accommodate the aftermath of the raging wildfires.

François Legault was questioned by Québec solidaire co-spokesperson, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, on the importance of better managing forests in the face of climate change.

Currently, 131 forest fires are active in Quebec, according to the Society for the Protection of Forests Against Fire (SOPFEU).

The woodland caribou protection strategy was to be presented in June by the Ministry of the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks (MELCCFP), announced the government for months.

The Minister of Natural Resources is already hard at work to be able, effectively, to take into account the impacts of what we are currently seeing with forest fires on the forest regime, the same thing also for the protection caribou. So, what was planned to be announced in the coming days, we are reviewing everything, assured the Prime Minister.

The woodland caribou (forest ecotype) is one of the most valued threatened species by the Quebec population, indicates a study by the Chair Research Center in Ecological Economics.

It should be noted that the Ministry of Natural Resources now also includes the Forestry Division since the appointment of the Council of Ministers following the last provincial elections. It is this ministry that notably allocates stumpage rights to forestry companies. It was the Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks that had been split.

It is expected that the protection strategy, a draft of which has been the subject of presentations to the groups concerned for a few weeks, will reduce the logging territories accessible to companies. Moreover, notices have been sent to companies asking them to stop harvesting wood in territories that should be protected, in order to promote the recovery of populations of the threatened species.

It is reasonable to believe that Quebec could reassess the anticipated decrease in allowable cuts with regard to the wood burned that could be recovered by the industry. It is also possible that protected areas or areas subject to less disturbance in the future will be part of the burned areas.

In addition, at this time, factories are closed due to the cessation of harvesting activities in the forest, given the fires.

The forest fire threatening Chibougamau covers an area of ​​800 square km.

Thursday, the prefect of the MRC of Lac-Saint-Jean-Est, Louis Ouellet, affirmed that the concept of protected areas to promote the protection of a species is no longer adequate taking into account the ;Expected increase in forest fires. He believes that governments should take into account the new realities before releasing the new strategy. According to him, the wood supply capacity will be greatly reduced in the boreal forest following the fires.

For example, a total of more than 51,000 hectares have been devastated by forest fires in the MRC of Maria-Chapdelaine, in Lac-Saint-Jean. This is an area of ​​approximately 500 km2. This region is known for its logging.

Initially, the new caribou protection strategy was to be tabled before the end of 2021. It had been delayed to make way for the Independent Commission on woodland and mountain caribou that traveled through the affected regions in the spring of 2022.

Earlier this week, the MELCCFPP declined to comment on whether the unveiling of the protection strategy could be delayed.

The government is monitoring the situation closely. At present, it is not possible to pronounce in this direction, had answered a public relations officer of the ministry to Radio-Canada.