1.0 Introduction
1.1 The Local Citizens Committee Handbook
1.2 Forests, Forestry & Forest Management Planning

1.0 Introduction

1.1 The Local Citizens Committee Handbook

If you are a member of a Local Citizens Committee providing advice to the Ministry of Natural Resource on forest management planning for your local forest, this handbook is for you! If you are interested in the forest management planning process, but sometimes overwhelmed by all the stages, the phases, the acronyms and the forestry phrases, this handbook should help!

This Local Citizens Committee (LCC) Handbook has been developed to provide an overview and a guide to the forest management planning system in Ontario for volunteers involved in the forest management planning process. There are a great number of other excellent resources available, and we've relied on many of them to develop this handbook. But not everyone has time to read the entire 400 page Forest Management Planning Manual, or sift through the dozens of guides and guidelines, or browse the many excellent web-sites available.
The goal of this handbook is to summarize all of that information into one easy-to-read bring-along-with-you reference book that provides all the essential information about the forest management planning process. For some, it will provide enough information to let them navigate the planning process and make their participation both more enjoyable and more effective. For others, it will provide a starting point and context for other reading and more detailed follow-up.
Forest management planning is the means to several ends, including approval and construction of roads to access forestry operations and the forestry operations themselves. Forestry operations include harvesting the trees and the forest regeneration work done after a logging operation. Regeneration work includes preparing a site for planting, tree planting, and then follow-up work such as thinning and tending, including any application of pesticides.

In Ontario, a public planning process brings the public’s values, concerns, experience and knowledge into the development of forest management plans. Through local advisory committees like the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee, and through their individual participation, members of the public can make a difference to both the overall direction of a forest management plan, and on-the-ground details such as where, how, and if a particular area is to be harvested and what the follow-up will be.

This handbook is the first of its kind, developed as a prototype LCC handbook, in cooperation with and to support the Nipissing Forest Local Citizens Committee as they move through the planning process for the 2009-2029 Forest Management Plan for the Nipissing Forest.

1.2  Forests, Forestry & Forest Management Planning

Forest management planning is all about people. Yes, it’s all about activities that happen in the forest, so it’s all about the forest.  But it’s also all about people, because forest management planning is mostly about what we do in the forest. In particular it’s about which forestry operations are going to be approved and undertaken and under what conditions.  We often say we are ‘managing the forest”, but in fact what we are “managing” are the activities and actions of people who work and recreate in the forest.

In forest management planning it is primarily the activities and actions of the forest industry that we are planning for, but the planning has to take into account the activities and actions (and values) of all of the other people who work and recreate in the forest, including cottagers, tourist operators, hunters and anglers, paddlers, hikers, and those who gather food, berries, medicines and wood craft products. It also has to take into account the values and expectations of society at large. No small task!
Our starting point is the forest. The forest itself is a pretty complicated and ever-changing and always fascinating bit of business. But at the same time, we can adopt a fairly straightforward understanding of it: a forest is an ecosystem dominated by trees and other woody vegetation. The living parts of a forest include trees, shrubs, vines, grasses and other herbaceous plants, mosses, algae, fungi, insects, mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and microorganisms living on the plants and animals and in the soil.  These interact with one another and with the non-living part of the environment - including the air, soil, water, and minerals - to make up what we know as a forest.  Today, there are more than 250 definitions of the term "forest." 
Forestry, or forest management, is one of the things we do in the forest. Forestry, defined as “the science, art, and practice of managing and using trees, forests, and their associated resources for human benefit”, is talked about in terms of “forest management” in the day to day (and year to year and decade to decade) world of the forest management planning. Forest management planning is a large part of the work of a Local Citizens Committee.

In Ontario, forest management activities are generally talked about in four categories: access, harvest, renewal, and tending. Access is how the forest companies get in to cut the wood and how they get the wood out, and then how they get in to those same areas in later years for regeneration work. Harvest is the cutting of the trees, using different silvicultural or logging systems. Renewal is how the forest is regenerated, primarily through natural regeneration, where the forest seeds itself, or through planting trees. Tending includes the follow-up activities to help direct what kind of forest will regrow on the area that has been harvested. Tending activities include things like spraying with herbicides, or thinning out some trees to leave more room for others.

It is through forest management planning that decisions get made about what kind of forestry operations can take place and where they can happen on Crown lands in the Nipissing Forest. Over the last few decades a very detailed planning system has been developed in Ontario with roles and responsibilities for each of the forest industry, the provincial government, and the public and Aboriginal communities.

Forest management planning starts with the development of a 10-year plan, which has two five-year operating periods. The approved plan is then implemented, with monitoring of how the planned activities are carried out. Finally, an audit is done every five years to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan and the soundness of the forestry operations.

So, to shorten this all up: the forest is where it happens, forest management is what happens, and forest management planning is how it happens. And you’ll find more on the “what”, the “where” and the “how” in Sections 3, 4, 5 and 6. But first we’re going to talk about the “who”!