Forestry is one of the key industries in Northern Ontario. Northern Ontario’s forest areas play an important role in providing livelihood to forestry communities all over the region. According to the Ministry of Natural Resources, about 90% of the forest area in Ontario is publicly owned. Since aboriginal times, Northern Ontario has been dependant on forests for its livelihood and so has its social, economic, and cultural development. The twentieth century saw the development of sawmills, paper and pulp, logging, and other such industries in Northern Ontario. Today, the forest product industry, tourism, fishing and hunting, lumbering, and transportation contribute to the livelihood of more than 90,000 people all across Northern Ontario.
The forests sector industries ensure that they indulge in effective forest management. Since the livelihood of the region depends on the forest areas, effective measures are taken to ensure that the natural resources are sustainable and able to provide for the entire forestry community. High standards in terms of environmental protection and reforestation are provided to the precious natural resources. Apart from communities in Northern Ontario that are dependant on the forestry industry for their bread and butter, there are also communities in Southern Ontario that exist on the basis of the forestry sector, making using of products such as timber, paper, lumber, and so on. Thus, the forestry industry and community in Northern Ontario is playing a significant role in the economy and standard of living of other regions in Ontario as well.
However, the forestry communities of Northern Ontario have their own share of problems too. Although Northern Ontario has been blessed with abundant natural resources, and even though these sources are being used to generate power, they have not managed to alleviate the costs of power itself. The astronomical pricing of power is causing a loss of jobs and affecting the livelihood of the forestry communities. The government must ensure that power is produced at a price so that its supply can be carried out at a reasonable cost. Lack of an organization or a committee to regulate the forestry industry produce and ensure that adequate reforestation takes place is also a big problem faced by the forestry community in northern Ontario.
The signing of the Ontario Forest Accord in 1999 has been a breakthrough in terms of advancement for the forestry community in Northern Ontario. An effort has thus been made by the government, the forestry communities, and the environmental community to understand each others problems and come up with effective solutions together.