Acquisition of forest lands in the Long Point Region watershed was an early priorities for both Big Creek and Otter Creek Conservation Authorities, undertaken in order to enhance and protect water-holding areas. Careful management, by the two original conservation authorities and now by Long Point Region Conservation Authority, has grown total forest holdings to approximately 10,100 acres. LPRCA forest tracts are managed to enhance the biodiversity and health of the watershed and provide critical green space.
In 1995, LPRCA assumed primary responsibility for decision-making regarding its forest lands. Prior to this, the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) held management responsibility through an agreement with the LPRCA under the Forestry Act. Decisions regarding acquisition of new forest tracts, removal of forest products, designation of tracts to be protected, enhancement of biodiversity and significant species, and public consultation on all of the above now rest with the board and staff of LPRCA.
LPRCA is committed to sustainable forest management practices and recognizes social, economic and ecological values as important components of its forestry activities. Protecting existing forests and increasing forest cover is an important aspect of sustaining the health of the watershed.
The forests owned and managed by Long Point Region Conservation Authority have achieved Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification (FSC® C018800) through the Eastern Ontario Model Forest’s Forest Certification Program. FSC® is an international, membership-based, non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. For more information, on LPRCA forest management activities and planning please contact Debbie Thain, Supervisor of Forestry by email or 519-842-4242 ext. 234. To learn more about FSC Certification and the information available to the public and affected stakeholders, please see the Eastern Ontario Model Forest’s Forest Certification Program webpage.
The Long Point Region Conservation Authority Forest Management Plan 2020-2039, developed with public feedback in 2019 is a document that will guide the planning and management of LPRCA’s land holdings over the next 20 years.
A summary of the Managed Forest Tax Incentive Program (MFTIP) Plan and High Conservation Value Forest assessment and review can be obtained by contacting LPRCA’s Supervisor of Forestry, Debbie Thain, at email@example.com.
The Long Point Region watershed lies within the heart of the Carolinian Forest Zone and contains some of the world’s most significant Carolinian forests. In December of 2002, LPRCA designated a proportion of the Authority’s forests as Natural Heritage Woodlands (NHW). This initiative was identified in 1999 as part of LPRCA’s approved 20-Year Forest Management Plan.
Using data collected from aerial photos, GIS mapping and field investigations an external Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) assessed the natural heritage values of several properties using a quantitative scoring and ranking system. The TAC then recommended a comprehensive list of candidate forest stands to LPRCA for consideration. Some of the qualities required for NWH consideration included:
In 2002, LPRCA designated 1,933 acres or 20 percent of its forested properties as Natural Heritage Woodlands. The sale of Backus Woods to the Nature Conservancy of Canada in 2011 reduced the LPRCA’s NHW sites to ten properties (1,145 acres).
The following LPRCA properties and portions of properties are managed as NHW sites:
Taking a natural heritage approach to forest management involves identifying and evaluating natural heritage values and assessing the status of species and habitats. Such an approach identifies opportunities and actions for protecting significant natural heritage features within specific LPRCA forest properties. With a natural heritage value approach, LPRCA can assume a lead role in protecting and restoring interior forest and mature forest habitats.
NWH sites are exempt from regular forest management operations and serve as core areas for the protection of rare, threatened and endangered species.