Resources Quarterly Interview
The New Brunswick Forest Products Association (NBFPA) has been the voice of the New Brunswick forest industry since 1959 and since that time it has held true to its commitment of promoting sustainable and progressive forest management, ensuring healthy forests and quality products.
The NBFPA delivers on these commitments through advocating sustainable use of forest resources, creating public awareness on forestry related issues, and advising government on the development of policy, programs and regulation for the social, economic and environmental betterment of New Brunswick.
The New Brunswick forestry sector is undergoing a pivotal transformation and so too is the association representing the interests of many of the major industry participants. Under the leadership of the Board of Directors, the association is experiencing a re-engagement of member involvement at a critical time of pending changes to the management of provincial forested lands. The association foresees wood supply and its impact on competitiveness and finding balance between timber and conservation objectives as key issues to be focused on.
With regard to wood supply, the association Executive Director, Mike Legere, believes the New Brunswick government has found a reasonable solution to improving competiveness for the industry. “Certainty of wood supply spurs investments in productivity.” Legere said. “There are many cost factors beyond the direct control of producers including energy, labour, and raw material but efficiencies in operations are one of the levers that can make New Brunswick forest products more competitive in global markets.”
The importance of the industry to New Brunswick cannot be overstated. The broad impacts include $36 million in provincial revenues through timber royalties, $250 million in direct taxes, 22,000 direct and indirect jobs, $900 million in direct payroll and with $2.12 billion in output it represents the single largest contributor to provincial GDP. The industry also recognizes the non-timber value of the forest resource and strongly supports balancing timber interests with that of conservation. New Brunswick has above average recreational use of forests compared to neighbouring provinces and the members of the NBFPA are strong supporters of balanced conservation measures.
The future is very promising for the industry with optimistic forecasts for housing starts in the U.S. and improved economic conditions in general with our largest trading partner. With the prospect of improved wood supply and improving markets the industry is optimistic.