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The Forest
July 20, 1996

A Collective Resource

History tells us that the forestry industry in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region has been very prosperous. Distributed across the entire region but concentrated in the Matapédia and Témiscouata valleys, this natural resource forms the framework upon which a large part of the region’s economic activity is built.

Forests cover a large portion of the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, 50% of which is under private tenure while the remaining 50% is publicly held. This distribution is unique to the region. In the majority of other regions in the province approximately 90% of the lands are under public tenure compared to 10% held privately. There are approximately 10,000 private wood lot owners (Sommet sur la forêt privée, 1995).

In 1995, the total harvest of wood in the region was 2,932,644 m3, of which 1,248,351 m3 came from private forests and 1,684,293 m3 from public forests. High harvest volumes such as these have an important impact on the region. Consider that each m3 of raw material generates approximately $110 worth of finished products and $29 in salaries.

Characteristics of the Bas-Saint-Laurent Forest
Characteristics Private Forests Public Forests
Area of productive forested territory 7,470 km2 10,610 km2
Available gross market volume 56,405,000 m3 101,882,000 m3
Proportion of available gross market volume 36% 64%
Dominant species fir, spruce, grey pine, larch fir, spruce, grey pine, larch
Source : Ministère des Ressources naturelles, Rapport sur l'état des forêts québécoises 1990-1994 ; À l'heure du développement durable, Gouvernement du Québec, 1996.

Dynamic Enterprises

PhotoCompared to other regions in the province the Bas-Saint-Laurent is unusual in that local entrepreneurs control a major part of the forestry processing industry. Of the 135 municipalities of the region, more than 80 have one or more processing operations.

The vitality of the industry can be attributed to several factors including a favourable geographic location, adequate road, rail and port infrastructures, high-quality public and private sources of supplies at reasonable distances, flexible financial and administrative structures, aggressive marketing efforts and value-added production.

Number of Forestry Industries by Regional County Municipality (RCM) (1995)
RCM Total Number of Plants Number of Active Plants Number of Jobs in 1995
Kamouraska 15 13 171
Témiscouata 32 29 759
Rivière-du-Loup 13 13 411
Les Basques 9 8 34
Rimouski-Neigette 15 14 58
La Mitis 19 17 386
Matane 21 20 339
La Matapédia 34 30 747
TOTAL158144 2,905
Source : Ministère des Ressources naturelles, Statistiques de l'industrie de la transformation primaire du bois : région du Bas-Saint-Laurent, MRN : Direction régionale du Bas-Saint-Laurent, 1995.

Regional Workforce in the Forestry Industry (1995)
Category of Plant Total Number of Plants Number of Active Plants Number of Jobs in Plants Number of Jobs in Harvesting and Transportation
Pulp and Paper 77 1,134 396
Sawing and Shavings 3131 1,345 1,927
Other Sawmills and Plants 120106426122
TOTAL158144 2,905 2,445
Source : Ministère des Ressources naturelles, Statistiques de l'industrie de la transformation primaire du bois : région du Bas-Saint-Laurent, MRN : Direction régionale du Bas-Saint-Laurent, 1995.

PhotoThe 144 working plants produce mainly newsprint, cardboard, lumber, panels, shingles, boards, charcoal, wood chips, sawdust and shavings. Some of the producers include: NORAMPAC CASCADES, CARTONS SAINT-LAURENT, PRODUITS FORESTIERS ALLIANCE, LE GROUPE CÉDRICO, LULUMCO, UNIBOARD, BOISERIES SAINT-LAURENT, TEMBEC, BOIS B.S.L., F. F. SOUCY, FÉLIX HUARD, etc.

A Developing Industry

The challenge for forestry development in the Bas-Saint-Laurent today includes placing greater emphasis on forest management in both public and private forests, adopting forestry practices that are based on regional "socio-forestry" realities and implementing mechanisms that will allow 2nd and 3rd stage processing enterprises to develop.

Updated : 1996-07-20


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