Nothing Has Changed: Future of Maple Production in Public Forests Remains Uncertain While the Québec Government Sits on its Hands
With provincial legislators gathering for the winter session of the National Assembly, Québec Maple Syrup Producers (QMSP) wishes to remind the government that the maple industry is still waiting for guidance from the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF) on the fate of maple production in public forestlands. Even as the industry continues to show strong and sustained growth, the government’s inaction casts a shadow of uncertainty over an otherwise thriving sector of the Québec regional economy.
“The government of Québec has kept us waiting for two years now and producers are starting to lose their patience. All this time, all through the regions, they’ve had to hold off on expansion projects and getting more taps into production to meet the growing demand for maple syrup. What’s worse, the logging industry continues to harvest maple trees without any regard for the damage to syrup production potential. Minister Maïté Blanchette-Vézina has had the Master Plan for the development of maple production in public forestlands on her desk for months. It’s time to make it public,” said QMSP president Luc Goulet.
QMSP has held discussions with MRNF since the autumn of 2021. The Master Plan was tabled in May 2022 and public consultations were held in July 2022. But the government still has not said what it intends to do on this crucial issue.
Protect 200,000 Hectares of Public Forest: Preserve Québec’s Maple Syrup Potential
The maple industry is in a boom period, and it must be able to plan for the short, medium, and long terms. Knowing how many hectares of public forest will be available for maple production in future years is critical for effective planning. It takes 50 years for a maple tree to reach production maturity. The government bears responsibility for protecting public forestlands from loggers. Before it’s too late.
“200,000 hectares is a reasonable ask. Protect at least that much for the next 60 years. It’s only 6% of the hardwood the loggers say they need for the next five years. Maple production is not going to hurt them. We simply need to adapt our harvesting methods and we will ensure the sustainability of the maple industry,” said Goulet.
The Environmental and Economic Benefits of Maple Production
The preservation of Québec’s forest resource through maple syrup production results in the sequestration of 744,000 metric tonnes of carbon per year, equivalent to the removal of 222,000 vehicles from the road. Such ecological services, valued overall at $1.6 billion per year, include protecting wildlife and their habitat.
Maple production is a pillar of the regional economy, accounting for the equivalent of 12,583 full-time jobs. It contributes $1 billion to the GDP of Québec and Canada and generates tax revenues of $235 million.
About Québec Maple Syrup Producers and the Érable du Québec Brand
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.
Interview Requests: Joël Vaudeville
Director of Corporate Communications