30 October 2019
FREDERICTON, N.B– Forest NB, in responding to the recent announcement by Natural Resources and Energy Development minister, Mike Holland, believes that the proposed doubling of protected and conserved land and water resources has the potential to have positive benefits for New Brunswick and the forest sector but with some reservations.
“We are cautiously optimistic that if appropriately implemented, this commitment to increasing our protected areas including public forests to ten percent of the total land area will, in addition to our current forest management practices, help mitigate issues effecting climate change, biodiversity, water and habitat protection,” stated Mike Legere executive director of Forest NB.
“As an industry that is built on the ability to access wood from our forests, we are acutely aware that we need to address the needs and aspirations of all New Brunswickers when it comes to forest management objectives. This is why we engaged in some of the earliest discussions with government on the viability of this proposed measure to increase conservation lands. The government’s forest management practices have in effect enabled this increase by assuring that timber supplies can remain accessible. Past investments in forest management including all aspects of forest regeneration, are now paying an additional return to New Brunswick,” Legere added. “If required intensive forest management will be used where applicable to ensure that the objective of doubling protected areas does not come to the detriment of a viable forest industry.”
Forest NB states that consulting with industry on the details of how to translate this 10% into a workable plan that does not negatively affect forestry operations and the 24,000 jobs supported by these operations, will be challenging. Several of the groups involved in Monday’s announcement have already revealed their aspirations to yet further increases in areas conserved without any clear attention to specific purpose or economic impact. Despite concerns, Forest NB maintains full intention of approaching implementation of this new investment in conservation in a spirit of collaboration.