QMSP Hails Government’s Master Plan for Development of Maple Production in Public Forests as “Good First Step”
After several months of delay, the Québec government has tabled its Master Plan for the Development of Maple Production in Public Forests. Describing its strategic orientation as a “good first step,” Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) now calls on the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts to take the next step: get to work with maple producers in the regions to identify the stands of maple forest to be protected. This is essential for the effective planning of maple syrup production on public forestlands in the short, medium, and long terms.
“We had constructive talks at an emergency meeting and received clear guarantees from Minister Blanchette-Vézina,” said QMSP President Luc Goulet. “We both agree that, from now on, planning and respect are the watchwords for maple production in all the regions. All partners must now work toward the development of maple production in public forests in a spirit of mixed usage. We are enthusiastic about discussing the remaining issues with the logging industry and the government, in the knowledge that a clear signal has gone out to regional authorities, validating our position.” Mr. Goulet was referring to Maïté Blanchette-Vézina, the province’s minister of natural resources and forests and for the Bas-Saint-Laurent and Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine regions. They appeared together at a news conference held at the Cabane à sucre d’la Bonaventure in Saint-Eugène-de-Ladrière.
A first version of the Action Plan for the Development of Maple Production in Public Forests arising from the Master Plan was also made public. It specifies the government initiatives that will back up its commitments. Regional authorities must go back to the drawing board in coming months to identify new maple stands for the industry’s immediate needs. It should be noted that this action plan is intended to be dynamic and adaptable to stay abreast of industry growth.
200,000 Hectares Still Needed to Sustain Maple Production
For the maple industry to prosper into the future, it is counting on another 200,000 hectares of public forest over the next 60 years. While the Master Plan and Action Plan provide the tools to achieve this, those stands of maple trees have not yet been identified, nor have restrictions been placed on logging them. These steps must be taken to ensure the medium- and long-term potential of maple production. QMSP pledges to continue its work in showing how this objective can be achieved.
For their part, Minister Blanchette-Vézina and her department have committed to finding a mechanism that will protect taps on public-forest maples up to 20 centimetres (eight inches) in diameter. Granting this important industry request alone will save 1.8 million taps. Another bit of good news for QMSP is that the consultation group announced in 2022 will soon begin its work of harmonizing the practices of the department’s regional offices regarding maple production and permitting more respectful cooperation with maple producers’ local representatives.
Public consultations on the Master Plan for the Development of Maple Production were held last July. Maple producers participated in force, posting a total of 1,071 letters and comments on the consultation website.
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Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) represents the interests of 13,300 women and men and more than 8,000 enterprises that produce maple syrup. Québec provides an average 72% of the world’s maple syrup supply, exporting it to more than 70 countries.
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