Forest Biomass


Today the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“MNRF”) released a draft Forest Biomass Action Plan (the “Draft Plan”), a commitment made in Ontario’s forest sector strategy, released on August 20, 2020. The Draft Plan is now open for comment until June 21, 2021. This bulletin briefly summarizes the Draft Plan. The Draft Plan seeks to examine innovative uses of forest biomass, such as mill by-products and underutilized forest biofibre, for applications in heat and power generation and sustainable, low-carbon consumer products. The Draft Plan strives to secure jobs, support economic development, and encourage sustainability in the forest sector. The Draft Plan seeks to achieve the following five objectives: Identify pathways to markets for forest biomass by: further refining Ontario’s inventory of forest biomass; publishing reports summarizing the types of forest bioproducts and technologies and describing current and future demand for Ontario bioproducts; completing a jurisdictional scan; developing a life cycle inventory for traditional and non-traditional wood products, study biomass carbon dynamics, and refine life-cycle impact assessment models; supporting development of regional clusters; and conducting collaborative research studies on soil quality, stand development, productivity, and biodiversity. Support demand for forest bioenergy and bioproducts by: ensuring that existing facilities receive ongoing access to the provincial market at fair compensation; publishing a report quantifying the financial contribution of forest biomass; providing resources for the development of community-led projects; advancing the use of forest biomass through the Ontario Bioheat Initiative; creating a provincial bioheat strategy; engaging with potential industry users to integrate forest biomass into supply chains; and pursuing government procurements that use biomass to reduce the carbon footprint of buildings, energy, and other products. Improve the business and regulatory environments for the use of forest biomass by: reviewing and updating Ontario’s Forest Biofibre Directive; streamlining permitting and reduce regulatory burdens; making…