Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA)

Crown Forest Sustainability Act

  • The purpose of the CFSA is to provide for the sustainability of Crown forests (defined as long-term forest health).
  • The primary principle governing the CFSA is the need for the conservation of “large, healthy, diverse, and productive Crown forests and their ecological processes and biological diversity.
  • The CFSA identifies the Forest Management Planning Manual (one of four regulated manuals) as the mechanism to apply this principle.
  • In addition, the Forest Operations and Silviculture Manual (FOSM) requires for the protection of all threatened and endangered species and their habitat.
  • The FOSM currently requires that no species declines due to forest management.
  • The current regulatory framework has over 30 forest management guides and guidelines to ensure to protection of species at risk including forest-dwelling woodland caribou, bald eagle and red shouldered hawk.
  • In the government’s own words: “

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act (CFSA) requires that Forest Management Plans (FMP) identify threatened and endangered species as “featured species” and provide for their protection within the area covered by the plan.

  • Forest management guides/guidelines must be reviewed at a minimum of every 5 years to ensure they incorporate and reflect new science.
  • CFSA is built on a model of continuous improvement and adaptive management.

Effectiveness of the CFSA

  • Several forest dwelling species have been downlisted or are about to be downlisted in the Province of Ontario
  • Forest management played an integral role in the protection and recovery of these species including bald eagle, red-shouldered hawk and southern flying squirrel
  • Evidence is coming to light that forest management practices are not impacting caribou and some populations may be recovering (click here for more on caribou)

CFSA and Endangered Species Act

The objectives of the ESA are to:

  1. identify species at risk based on the best available information,
  2. to protect species at risk and their habitats, and to promote recovery,
  3. to promote stewardship activities to assist in the protection and recovery of species at risk.

    • The CFSA meets the primary objectives of the ESA.
    • The CFSA already provides for the protection of species at risk and their habitat and has demonstrated its effectiveness in assisting recovery efforts.
    • Failure to recognize that the CFSA already meets the protection and recovery objectives of the ESA or the development of burdensome process that interferes with the implementation of the CFSA could impede the effective stewardship activities already underway.