Reducing GHG emissions through comprehensive management plans
The latest submission of Canada’s 2023 National Inventory Report (NIR) of greenhouse gas emissions to the United Nations confirms that while Canada is making progress towards our 2030 Emission Reduction goals, there is still much room for improvement. Of particular note, the report confirms a long-known fact in the forest industry – that increased insect mortality and wildfire are the largest source of GHG emissions and air pollution associated with the forest sector. Even with increasing catastrophic events such as these forested lands remain a net sink, holding more carbon than they emit, and there is opportunity to increase that capability. In a rapidly changing climate, implementing sustainable management practices can greatly reduce insect and wildfire risks and the resultant emissions.
Forests are an essential natural resource across Canada and particularly in New Brunswick, providing us with clean air, water, and an array of environmental, social, and economic benefits. One of the primary benefits of forest management is reducing the risk of insect mortality and wildfires through sound management practices. This is achieved through comprehensive management strategies which consider not only harvesting timber and fibre, but also managing for future harvests, improving forest resiliency, protecting biodiversity and wildlife habitats, and maximizing the carbon sequestration potential of the forests. All forest operations conducted on crown lands in New Brunswick operate under management plans designed to achieve these many objectives.
In Atlantic Canada the Spruce Budworm Early Intervention Strategy is a unique success story in science-based management solutions that could inform similar approaches in other jurisdictions. The objective of the strategy is to manage population levels of this native insect species to minimize the devastating effects of mass defoliation – and the wildfire risks associated with dead and dying forests – by pinpointing and treating areas of potential Spruce Budworm outbreak. Initiated in 2014, the Healthy Forest Partnership is a highly successful collaboration of research, academic, government, and industry professionals working together to understand how and when outbreaks start, and how to prevent major outbreaks from happening in Atlantic Canada.
The forest sector in Canada has already reduced its emissions by nearly 70% since 1990. Research and development of new technologies and continual improvement of management practices creates novel uses for wood fibre and innovative efficiencies in forest management and wood-based product production. Investing in research and development and employing evidence-based best management practices like the Spruce Budworm Early Intervention Strategy will be essential to maintain healthy forests and reduce GHG emissions from insect mortality and wildfires.
For more information on Canada’s Greenhouse Gas emissions, visit Canada’s official greenhouse gas inventory – Canada.ca
Canada’s Forest Sector Welcomes Federal Emissions Report’s Focus on Worsening Fires Canada’s Forest Sector Responds to Federal Emissions Report (fpac.ca)
For more on the Healthy Forest Partnership