Member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) have agreed to follow an innovative approach to sustainable forest management that takes its cue from nature.

The approach, known as Natural Range of Variation (NRV), is aimed at recreating natural landscapes by harvesting in patterns that are similar to the impact of wind, fire, insects and other natural disturbances.

FPAC members committed to follow this approach after working collaboratively with environmental groups under the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement. The pledge to implement NRV is considered a major step towards the environmental and industry CBFA goal of making Canada a world leader in sustainable forest management.

“We reached this milestone with our environmental partners after a lot of hard work”, says Paul Lansbergen, the acting President and CEO of FPAC. “This commitment to natural landscapes in the Canadian boreal forest was only possible because of that concerted joint effort.”

A built-in evaluation process has been included in the NRV blueprint so that any new knowledge, for example around the impact of climate change, as well as social and economic considerations, will be continually incorporated into the approach.

“There is still much to do to ensure that Canada’s Boreal Forest is sustained for future generations,” said Todd Paglia, Executive Director of ForestEthics, “and we are pleased to see steps being taken towards timber harvesting that more closely mimics nature.”

The NRV management approach is already being implemented in some areas of Canada’s boreal forest; this commitment will significantly accelerate and broaden its use by FPAC member companies across 73 million hectares of boreal forest. This voluntary commitment made by forest companies is on top of their promise to attain independent certification of their forest management practices.

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FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, and paper producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. The $58-billion-a-year forest products industry represents 2% of Canada’s GDP and is one of Canada’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities and providing 230,000 direct jobs across the country.