Forestry Lawyers, for purposes of the Lexpert Directory, are defined in the widest sense in order to identify those firms capable of providing a full service to forestry industry clients. As such, forestry lawyers’ practice area includes purchase and sale of forest companies, mergers and reorganizations of forest companies, transfer of forest tenures, representing forest company issuers on public financings, log purchase and sale contracts, logging contracts and contracts respecting other phases of timber harvesting; all manner of statutory and regulatory compliance under specific forestry legislation; all aspects of environmental law relating to the industry; advising and defending with respect to prosecutions under environmental and forestry legislation; Aboriginal law matters relating to the industry; and all manner of negotiations, representations and submissions to various government ministries, boards and administrative tribunals or bodies.
Please note that the Lexpert Directory has separe practice area pages for:
Forestry law is the set of legislations or statutes which aims to conserve a state’s forest lands, consequently, regulating various activities, such as timber harvesting, through forest management.
These legislations or statutes apply both to public lands (lands owned by the state) and privately-owned lands. As such, regulations under forestry law are mainly composed of licensing for harvesting or utilising forest resources, prohibitory laws against private individuals and entities, and impositions of policies and responsibilities among state agents and offices. Forestry lawyers ensure that their private clients understand and implement regulations to prevent violations under the forestry laws.
Forestry law is a part of environmental law, thus, it also has strong ties with Indigenous Peoples law, as a state’s regulated forestry lands may be mostly found with the Indigenous Peoples. Forestry lawyers may represent Indigenous Peoples before forest product companies, tribunals, or any court to enforce their rights over land and resource claims.
In addition, forestry law is also connected with other branches of law, such as energy law, mining law, and agriculture law, evident in situations when the interests of the energy and agricultural sector contradicts those of the forest protection. Hence, a forestry lawyer is also an expert on these other fields of laws, who may also use mediation and arbitration in negotiating and conversations with the Indigenous Peoples.
While forestry law is of a preventive nature, in the sense that forestry lawyers ensure compliance with forestry legislations and regulations to prevent adverse consequences, forestry lawyer may also aid with litigation, such as those arising from timber and logging contracts, tenures, and agreements.
Canadian federal forestry laws generally apply only to federal lands – which is only a small portion compared to the forestry lands managed and regulated by the provinces and the territories. This small portion are mainly the statutory-declared national parks; lands owned by the Department of National Defence; and land reserves for Aboriginal Peoples. Here, forestry lawyers advise their clients – which are mostly forest products companies – with the applicable federal forestry laws in their business operations.
The Forestry Act basically delegates to the Minister of Natural Resources to develop and conduct research on the forest lands managed by the federal government. The Minister may also establish Forest Experimental Areas in federal forest lands, which the Governor General in Council may impose necessary regulations for the protection, care and management of these forest lands (Section 6, the Act), such as cutting of timber, prevention and removal of trespassers, and any other prohibited activities to preserve these forest lands.
In addition to the Section 6 of the Forestry Act, the Governor General has promulgated the Timber Regulations, 1993. According to the Regulations, it is prohibited to cut and remove timber in federally managed forest areas without a permit issued by a forestry officer, or without an agreement with the Minister of Natural Resources.
With the bulk of forest areas in Canada are found, owned and managed by the provinces and territories, most of forestry laws are implemented by the provincial and territorial governments. Additionally, some federal forest laws may also apply to the same forest areas. For this reason, forestry lawyers can delineate jurisdictions of these respective and mostly overlapping laws, and which of these are applicable according to the operations of their clients.
These provincial and territorial laws, in enforcing their own forest laws and the federal ones, provide for procedures in timber licensing or timber agreements with forest product companies; exact responsibilities from these companies in the duration and after their operations; demand royalties and taxes; and manage other forest areas not designated as timber areas. As such, forestry lawyers assist forest product companies in following these various impositions by the provincial and territorial laws.
The main regulating agency of forestry laws in Canada is Natural Resources Canada. The Minister of Natural Resources is responsible for the implementation of the Forestry Act, the Timber Regulations, and other regulations.
In connection with these laws, third-party certifications also contribute to regulating the forestry sector and forest management in Canada. These certificates primarily shows that a forest product company legally operates under Canadian laws and follows strict compliance with other international standards. It assures consumers that products from these companies are produced in the view of environmental sustainability. There are three forest certification organisations which provide the forest management certifications, namely:
The main issues surrounding the forestry sector in Canada is the protection of forest areas from natural and man-made causes against deforestation, and the balance between economic exploitation and preservation of these forest areas.
While natural causes of deforestation also occur, such as wildfires, pests, or diseases, human interaction with forest areas also accounts for its denudation and conversion. Actual implementation of various laws of different sectors – environmental, agriculture, energy, mining, and indigenous peoples – takes into consideration the responsible use of natural resources to provide for the needs of the country as a whole.
Hence, forestry laws and forestry lawyers play an important role in the addressing of these key issues.
Need more information on Canada’s forestry laws? See below for the list of the best forestry lawyers as ranked by Lexpert to assist you.