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July 23, 1999
(Forest Resources and Agrifoods)

Province moves to protect the white pine

Kevin Aylward, Minister of Forest Resources and Agrifoods, stated today: "Due to the historical significance of the white pine in the province the Department of Forest Resources and Agrifoods is taking steps to ensure that it does not become an endangered species. Prior to the late 1800s, white pine was very common throughout forested areas of the island. However, beginning in 1890, a major white pine harvesting effort commenced in central Newfoundland which, almost liquidated the sawlog pine resource. In addition, in the early 1900s, white pine blister rust, a lethal parasite fungus, devastated much of the remaining mature pine.

"There is both a public and professional concern that without intervention, the species may be headed for local extinction. Foresters, domestic and commercial cutters, and the general public have come to recognize the value of white pine ecosystems for ecological, social and cultural values as well as for economic benefits. The government and the people of this province are committed to the preservation of the remaining natural white pine and the restoration of the species as an integral part of our provincial forest ecosystems," said Mr. Aylward.

"This is a proactive approach to prevent future decline of white pine towards vulnerable, threatened and endangered species. To ensure this important tree species is given the fullest opportunity to recover to its historic prominence, the government will implement the following provisions."

  • All juvenile white pine in pre-commercial thinning areas are to be left standing.

  • Where white pine reforestation is appropriate, the species is to be planted in mixture with other species such that 400 to 700 regularly spaced pine per hectare remain after treatment.

  • Research into blister rust management strategies will continue. The local white pine gene pool will be protected and enhanced through the use of local seed for white pine reforestation.

  • A moratorium will be placed on the issuance of any new commercial permits for harvesting white pine. Only those commercial operators with an historic attachment to white pine will be exempted. In addition, permits issued will (i) not be transferable and will; (ii) be discontinued when the licensee retires or in five years time (2003), whichever comes first; (iii) be volume specific; (iv) be capped at the average annual production over the past five year period and; (v) not be subjected to an increase.

  • A moratorium will be placed on the harvesting of white pine by domestic cutters on both Crown and industry limits.

  • A series of protected areas, focused specifically on white pine preservation, will be considered to augment existing regulatory reserves containing white pine populations.

The minister said: "The white pine is facing further decline and may eventually be listed as a `local species at risk' if conservation action is not taken. This policy will help with the conservation and preservation of a species that has been significant to this province's economy and culture. Through stakeholder meetings and the development of new forest ecosystem management plans, it has become obvious there is wide support for the protection and enhancement of white pine."

Media contact: Cynthia Layden-Barron, (709) 729-6183.

1999 07 23 12:50 p.m.

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