Regional environmental assessment of forest management : experience in Ontario and Minnesota
Hay, Michael R. S.
Master of Science
DisciplineForestry and the Forest Environment
SubjectEnvironmental impact analysis Ontario
Environmental impact analysis Minnesota
MetadataShow full item record
Environmental assessment (EA) was originally conceived as a process applying to discrete projects such as power dams and timber harvest plans, but increasingly it is being applied to programs and policies for large areas. Such is the case for forest management, where EA is finding application to regional management strategies. The aim in this study was to investigate and analyze the quality of two regional EAs of forest management; (a) the Ontario Class EA for Timber Management on Crown Lands in Ontario; and (b) the Minnesota Generic Environmental Impact Statement (GEIS) on Timber Harvesting and Associated Forest Management Activities. The Ontario EA was a difficult hearing-dominated venture where experts brought testimony before a quasi-judicial tribunal. The Minnesota EA centred upon quantitative impact analyses undertaken by inter-disciplinary study teams and documented in concise reports. Both these EAs looked at forest management issues across huge areas, and both were completed in 1994. A broad cross-section of criteria derived from EA literature was used to judge the quality of the EAs, including factors pertaining to elements of process, technical and scientific requirements, and outcomes. I applied the criteria in describing and evaluating the two EAs and found them generally to contrast strongly with each other. The paper summarizes the strengths and weaknesses of the two EAs so that similar endeavours in the future can be designed to avoid some of the pitfalls encountered in the preparation of the Minnesota and Ontario regional environmental assessments.