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Urgent - Protected Area Candidate Site Subject to Forestry Operations Public Comments due Jan 26, 2023!

Jack Pine Trees in Newfoundland.
Jack Pine Trees Source: Newfoundland & Labrador Flora

With less than 6.9% of legislated protected areas within the province, it is vital that we ensure that it remains protected. The new proposed sites that have been released in 2020 within the “Home for Nature” is only a small fraction of public lands that should be protected, and a total combined would still only leave the province at less than 13%. 

The sites identified in the “Home for Nature” in 2020, were chosen for critical habitat for various species and representation of various eco-regions within the island of Newfoundland, while the remainder of the island is subject to natural resource extraction.  

Disclaimer: Proposed Harvest Areas polygons are rough estimates of the proposed harvest polygons published by Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Agriculture (Dec 21, 2022)

“Rodney Pond, Central Newfoundland was identified as one of the last remaining forested areas in Central Newfoundland that has not been extensively roaded and mechanically harvested. Part of the site is densely forested with both young and old stands of Balsam Fir and Black Spruce. Wetlands (raised bogs) and large ponds dot the landscape. There are some forestry resource roads and previously harvested areas in the eastern and southern portions of the proposed protected area which will regenerate over time. The Central Newfoundland Forest varies considerably from west to east in climate, dominant tree species, and primary forest disturbance mechanism. Rodney Pond provides representation of the Central Newfoundland Forest natural region (subregion 2a), but is small relative to the large natural region. Together with the other proposed protected areas in this natural region, Rodney Pond is key to providing representation of this forested natural region” (Home for Nature, 2020).

On December 22, 2022, amidst the beginning of the Christmas holidays for many, the NL provincial government, through the weekly Environmental Assessment Bulletin, released a proposed amendment to a commercial harvesting district. However, this amendment did not highlight in the written section that parts were within a NL Candidate Site from the protected areas plan, Rodney Pond, in Central NL. The proposed amendment would allow a commercial logging contractor to harvest hardwood to be used for cabinets, flooring, and other value-added products. 

It is critical that this designated site that has been proposed as a protected area, has no further impact or intrusion from human activities, including forestry practices. Furthermore, as public consultations on any of the proposed sites have yet to happen, no amendments to any sites should proceed.

Take a moment now to send your comments to the Environmental Assessment Department expressing concern that we should not be amending any plans to accommodate forestry practices in an identified protected area. With less than 6.9% of land protected within the island, and increasing pressure from industry, we need to protect at a minimum the sites that have been proposed. Allowing any amendments to sites that have been identified could set future precedents.