2023 Year in Review

The year 2023 marked another significant chapter in the story of New Brunswick’s forest sector. In the face of uncertainty and increasing constraints of inflation, regulatory changes, competing land uses, ongoing global issues and trade impacts, the sector continues to be characterized by resilience and community-focus. Industry participants continue to seek efficiencies and innovative solutions to maximize use of our resource while maintaining the integrity of our forests for all users. New Brunswick’s unique partnerships continue to realize successes in pest and wildfire management in the Atlantic provinces and beyond.

On a national level, as wildfires ravaged forests across the country the Canadian forest sector played a crucial role in mitigating fire risks, participating in firefighting, and in supporting affected communities. While climate change undoubtedly contributed to the intensification of wildfire activity, the sector’s responses highlight its adaptability and commitment to sustainable practices and solutions. The sector also continues to lead Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy by optimizing forest management practices in the production of high-quality, sustainable wood products, biofuels, and bioproducts, while concurrently meeting biodiversity and conservation objectives. The forest industry continues to demonstrate its unwavering commitment to sustainable practices, environmental stewardship, and to fostering Community Resilience through Canadian Forestry.

Forest NB, in alignment with its mission to be the voice of forestry in New Brunswick, spearheaded various initiatives aimed at growing sector opportunities and supporting thriving communities. Here are some key highlights from 2023:

  • In collaboration with industry stakeholders and government partners, Forest NB continues to lead the implementation of a comprehensive workforce action plan, seeking to find solutions to address education, training and immediate labor needs through the Priority Occupations Initiative that included:
    • The development and launch of the Forestry 110 curriculum in high schools in autumn 2023 represented a significant milestone in engaging and educating future generations about forestry careers (12 schools; 386 students in 2023-24).
    • Piloted training programs for entry-level forest equipment operators and advanced operator upskilling.
    • Exploring a silviculture worker training pilot with government and industry partners.
  • Forest NB in collaboration with the Farms and Forests Coalition advocated for legislative changes to incorporate comprehensive land planning objectives, promoting sustainable natural resource management and utilization, particularly on private lands, amidst local governance reforms.
  • Forest NB continues lobbying efforts and dialogue participation to support members interests with the Department of Energy and Natural Resources on several important regulatory issues, including the Private Woodlot Sustainability Fund, Private Woodlot Management Committee, Royalty rate restructuring and Forest Management Agreement renewal, economic analysis for implementation of Nature Legacy conserved area, and development of a forest sector digitalization strategy.
  • Forest NB continues to advocate and collaborate with other stakeholders on many important national and international issues as well: the European Union’s Deforestation Regulation and subsequent work of the CCFM Task Force to define forest degradation in Canada; the Canadian Wildfire Mitigation and Prevention Strategy; Canada’s 2023 Biodiversity Strategy; softwood lumber agreements and tariffs; Early Intervention Strategy for Spruce Budworm, and the national Forest Sector Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Alliance.
  • Forest NB partnered with Business Finland and the Department of Energy and Natural Resources to host a delegation of Finnish forest sector businesses in Fredericton, initiating collaboration to establish long term relationships that benefit both New Brunswick and Finland.
  • Forest NB continues to represent members’ interests serving on various sector-related Boards, including Forest Protection Limited, the New Brunswick Forest Safety Association, and the Maritime College of Forest Technology.
  • Significant enhancements in communication and outreach were achieved, with notable increases across all web platforms. Our redesigned website and a comprehensive communications strategy, developed in-house, continues to amplify the sector’s impact, and engage stakeholders effectively. Video projects, such as the “8,000 Trees” series continue to provide long-term value and high engagement with a diverse set of audiences.

As we reflect on the accomplishments – and the challenges – of 2023, we remain committed to championing the growth opportunities inherent in New Brunswick’s forests. By fostering collaboration, innovation, and sustainability, we will continue to build resilient communities and a prosperous future for all through Canadian forestry.