Ph.D. candidate (September 2006)
Supervisor: Dr. Tat Smith
My interest is forest policy in Ontario and my perspective is almost thirty years of experience in business and government. What accounts for the shift in the socio-economic and political influence of forestry? How do governments make decisions about forests, especially those owned by the public? Can public policy on forests be improved through decision-making processes?
As chair of the Class Environmental Assessment of Timber Management on Crown Lands (1988-94) I witnessed first- hand the debate on the future of the province’s forests. Certainly 1988, in my view, marked the contemporary “glory days” of Ontario forestry with respect to accomplishments in its practice, business achievements and community and government support.
As owner and operator of a small manufacturing business, I appreciate the challenges facing businesses in complying with sustainable environmental practices. What are the barriers to forestry contributing to successful environmental policies and the innovations to follow?
Through the non-profit sector, I have been involved with private forest landowners and conservation. Why is the breach in perceived common interest between Northern and Southern Ontario growing larger and more contentious? Is urbanization the factor that will determine whether forestry remains an economic force provincially?
The study of public policy is shared by political science, history and environmental studies but I believe more social science research needs to be done within the Faculty of Forestry. After all, it is the public policy framework that will determine the future significance of the Ontario forest industry and the public support for it. Or will it be decided that the better use of Ontario’s forests is to serve the interests represented by growing political support for a “green belt” stretching from Toronto to the Boreal?