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Climate change |  Quebec must rethink forest management, according to its forest chief

Climate change | Quebec must rethink forest management, according to its forest chief

The forest chief on Tuesday called on Legault’s government to rethink forest management to deal with climate change.

Faced with the extraordinary scale of wildfires in Quebec this summer, Chief Forester Louis Pelletier said he was concerned about the future of forests and recommended the government review forest management practices.

“The forest of tomorrow will not be the forest of today, but will be more different from the forest of the past. That is why I believe that our forest management, as we have done for many years in Quebec, must evolve in the face of the challenges posed by adapting our practices to new climatic conditions.”

He says climate change is progressing 10 times faster than the forest’s ability to adapt. In a discussion paper submitted to the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Maite Blanchette-Vezina, Louis Pelletier presents different possible solutions to explore to enhance forest resilience.

Various measures

Currently, the way forests are managed lacks diversity, making them more vulnerable to climate change, Mr. Pelletier emphasizes in the discussion paper. It is proposed to first define zoning across the province, where each region will have its own adaptation strategies.

It also suggests good access to forest areas, not only for forest management, but also for fire fighting and timber salvage after disturbances such as fires or insect infestations. Finally, it is proposed to plant tree species adapted to new climatic conditions while increasing the current level of reforestation.

Mr. Pelletier notes that the wildfires, which burned 1.5 million hectares in Quebec in 2023, have disrupted wildlife habitats, forest activities and communities, which will have repercussions for several years.

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“Since humans are the cause of these climate changes, it is up to us to help the forest become more resilient. It is our responsibility to work in this direction. Nature alone will not be able to preserve the forest as we currently know it.