Fredericton – The New Brunswick Forest Products Association members received the 2012 management plans from the Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Bruce Northrup in Fredericton today.
The new ten year plan format offers more predictability and stability in the planning process and is an improvement on the past five year period plans. However, the ten year management plan Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) is not a clearly defined reliable long term timber objective that was promised by the Minister and the Premier at the 2010 Forestry Summit.
Kevin Jewett, NBFPA Chairman said, “It has long been the goal of the industry to have a growing Timber Objective on both Crown and private land. We also remind the Minister that both the Chairs of the Government appointed taskforces on Crown and Private timber objectives also called on the Government to clearly define and set a timber objective. Industry is again calling on the Minister to establish reliable objectives in the very near future.”
The Management plan set out the Annual Allowable Cut levels, areas to be set aside for protection, conservation, wildlife, habitat and environmental objectives. The management plan’s major features as presented by Minister Northrup include:
- establishing an annual allowable cut (AAC) for softwood species (spruce/fir/jack pine) of 3.27 million cubic metres, which is the same AAC as in the 2007-2012 management plan;
- a reduction in the hardwood AAC from 1.77 million cubic metres in the 2007-2012 plan to 1.41 million cubic metres. This 21 per cent reduction will ensure a sustainable hardwood supply in the future;
- implementation of non-clearcut harvesting measures to maintain the diversity and important ecological features of the Acadian forest;
- meeting all 20 of the provincial conservation objectives established to maintain healthy wildlife populations and old-forest habitat types;
- doubling to eight per cent the amount of forested Crown land designated as Protected Natural Areas. In total, 9.4 per cent of Crown land will be designated as Protected Natural Areas; and
- designating 28 per cent of the total Crown forest as “conservation forest,” which is managed primarily for biodiversity conservation purposes. The conservation forest includes the Protected Natural Areas.
New Brunswick Forest Products Association members are supportive of doubling the protected natural areas and are pleased that all 20 conservation objectives are being met in the proposed plan. However, our members have expressed grave concern in the overall decrease in the Annual Allowable Cut levels by 7%. More specifically the 21% reduction in hardwood AAC. This reduction will have a significant impact on our successful hardwood pulp, paper, board and sawmills’ operations. Mark Arsenault, President and CEO, called on Minister Northrup to immediately establish an emergency working group, chaired by senior Department of Natural Resources and Industry officials. This working group should be tasked with establishing a hardwood strategy.
The forest sector companies will begin work immediately on developing plans for the 2013 operating period and beyond. The New Brunswick Forest Products Association members are eager to work with all forestry stakeholders and the Department of Natural Resources to finally establish a private and Crown long term growing timber objective and to cooperatively address the short comings in the hardwood AAC.
President and CEO