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Crown Land

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The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is the lead ministry for the management and regulation of forestry in Ontario. About 90 per cent of forested lands in Ontario are Crown land which is provincially owned and managed.

In Ontario, forest management includes activities such as forest management planning, forest resource allocation and licensing, forest harvest and renewal operations, forest protection, conservation and protection of wildlife and social values, compliance and enforcement, inventory and monitoring, auditing and public reporting. Registered Professional Foresters plan a key role in the management of Crown lands, and plans must be prepared by a member of the OPFA.

The Crown Forest Sustainability Act provides direction for the sustainable management of forests on all Crown lands. In addition, Ontario has forest management manuals and guides that provide operational direction for forest planners. These regulations and policies provide direction on renewing the forest and requirements to conserve wildlife habitat, including species at risk.

The goal of forest management on Crown land is to ensure the long-term health of Crown forests. Healthy forests can continue to provide benefits such as wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities for the people of Ontario, as well as timber and commercial products. The forest management planning process considers all of the forest interests and values to help make the best balance possible.  Forest management planning must also consider the health of Ontario’s forests as impacted by forest insects, disease, invasive species, fire and severe weather.

The Ministry’s Forests Branch within the Policy Division, develops policies and programs that guide the sustainable management of the forest. The Ministry’s Regional Operations Division oversees the development of forest plans, monitors operations and reports on forest level activities.

Some of the roles that Professional Foresters fill on Crown land include:

  • Authoring comprehensive, long-term forest management plans
  • Preparing plans for annual operations (Annual Work Schedules)
  • Reporting on activities that have been undertaken on Crown forests, including harvest and renewal activities
  • Preparing Forest Operation Prescriptions
  • Reviewing and recommending approval of forest management plans and annual work schedules

A more comprehensive outline of Crown Land Forestry can be found at the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry website. Ontario’s Forests – MNRF

Current Issues

The Associations Crown Land Forestry Committee has identified the following issues it is monitoring:

  • Ontario Tenure Review
  • Ontario Provincial Auditors Report as it pertains to forestry
  • Species at Risk
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Transformation