No Surprises with Survey Results

(Fredericton, NB) – The New Brunswick Forest Products Association (NBFPA) says there were no surprises in the recently released public survey on forest management in New Brunswick.

Association President and CEO, Mark Arsenault, says the survey clearly illustrates the deep appreciation New Brunswickers have for working forests, and the need for industry to develop new and innovative communication tools to educate and inform the public of forestry operations in the province.

“New Brunswick has always been highly-dependent on the forests, whether they are being accessed for recreation or commercial applications. It makes good sense that we want to continue to manage our forests using the best possible science for future generations,” stated Arsenault.

New Brunswick’s Crown Lands are managed by the Department of Natural Resources under a disciplined regime that takes into account a wide range of priorities, including both timber and non-timber objectives. According to Arsenault, the policies and procedures developed for harvesting on Crown Land are some of the best in the world and balance environmental protocols with sustainability.

“The licencees, who operate on Crown Land, are all part of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) and subscribe to a comprehensive, independent audit of their operation to achieve certification,” says Arsenault. “The SFI program is rooted in the premise that `responsible environmental behavior and sound business decisions can co-exist.’ As the name implies – sustainability is the hallmark of the program.”

The NBFPA president said the survey results show a need for better public communications, a finding already acknowledged by the Minister of Natural Resources.

“Our members regularly hold stakeholder meetings, all advertised well in advance, to inform the public of ongoing forest operations and the turn out is often minimal. It is challenging to get people out. We will, however, take these survey results and work even harder to reassure New Brunswickers that the business of forestry does not threaten the values they hold for our forests.”

To this end Arsenault points to the inroads the industry has made with the AFMNB and the CENB over the past year.

“We have met with these two groups on several occasions to explain the business of forestry and how our members conduct forest operations. It’s our goal to work hand-in-hand with the Department of Natural Resources to expand this outreach effort.”

Arsenault is also quick to point out the need for immediate action to assist the ailing forest industry. “We need to immediately address future wood supply and high energy costs, invest in new technologies and new uses for wood products and prepare for what will surely be a new-look forest industry in the province. I am convinced, based on past performance, all of these objectives can be met quickly without compromising the values New Brunswickers have for our forests.”

For more information contact:

Mark Arsenault, President & CEO
New Brunswick Forest Products Association