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New Brunswick forests and economy threatened by forest industry proposal PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Saturday, 24 January 2004 17:05
Ottawa? Canada?s leading conservation organizations are asking New Brunswick legislators to reject a proposal to drastically increase logging rates and weaken environmental protection measures in New Brunswick?s public forests. These warnings are being given by national conservation groups in response to the o­ngoing deliberations of a Select Committee of the New Brunswick Legislature. The Committee is currently developing recommendations after the completion of public hearings o­n a proposal put forth by six major forest companies licensed to log New Brunswick?s 3.3 million hectares of public forest. An industry and government sponsored consultant?s report has asked that the provincial government roll-back environmental protection measures, greatly increase tax-payer subsidies to the forest industry, and double the amount of softwood harvested from Crown lands by the year 2050.


Media Release
Wednesday, January 21, 2004


New Brunswick forests and economy threatened by forest industry proposal

Ottawa?Canada?s leading conservation organizations are asking New Brunswick legislators to reject a proposal to drastically increase logging rates and weaken environmental protection measures in New Brunswick?s public forests.

These warnings are being given by national conservation groups in response to the o­ngoing deliberations of a Select Committee of the New Brunswick Legislature. The Committee is currently developing recommendations after the completion of public hearings o­n a proposal put forth by six major forest companies licensed to log New Brunswick?s 3.3 million hectares of public forest. An industry and government sponsored consultant?s report has asked that the provincial government roll-back environmental protection measures, greatly increase tax-payer subsidies to the forest industry, and double the amount of softwood harvested from Crown lands by the year 2050.

?These proposals, if implemented, will place New Brunswick at odds with emerging global markets for sustainably produced forest products? says Tim Gray, Director of Boreal Forest Programs at the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS). ?All across Canada we are working with other forest companies and jurisdictions to conserve the natural forest, establish protected areas and manufacture high-value wood products that use less wood,.and they are being rewarded by better access to the marketplace. New Brunswick cannot afford to lose this race? he adds. ?Consumers and retailers are increasingly looking for better, not worse, environmental and social performance? says Elizabeth May, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of Canada. ?New Brunswick communities will lose economically and ecologically if this proposal goes ahead? she adds.

?New Brunswick?s native Acadian Forests are among the most threatened ecosystems in Canada? says Julie Gelfand, Executive Director of the Canadian Nature Federation. ?The citizens of New Brunswick should capitalize o­n these assets, not throw them away at the behest of companies intent o­n pursuing an outmoded approach to forest management? she adds.

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NB Forest Backgrounder



Contact:

Sierra Club of Canada
613-241-4611

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS)
416-986-2408

Canadian Nature Federation
613-562-3447





Backgrounder

The Select Committee o­n Wood Supply (an all-party committee of New Brunswick members of the Legislative Assembly) has recently completed pubic hearings across New Brunswick to solicit public reaction to the proposals contained in a report prepared for the New Brunswick forest industry by Finnish-based Jaakko P?yry Consulting. The report advocates:

  • Increasing the rate of forest harvest o­n public lands through immediate reductions in environment protection measures for stream buffers, white tailed deer habitat, and old growth forest habitat.

  • Doubling the tax-payer tree-growing subsidy to industry and legally guaranteeing the increased harvest level to the forest industry. At a cost of over $1 billion over 30 years.

  • Doubling to 40% the amount of public land that will be dedicated to softwood tree plantations.

Despite the legal guarantees of increased supply that the forest industry seeks, the report makes no commitment to employment levels or any other public benefit for the people and communities of New Brunswick. It is also interesting that Jaakko P?yry Consulting recently produced a study for the province of o­ntario that recommended investment in high value, lower volume forestry?.the exact opposite of the proposal being put forward to the people of New Brunswick (see www.livinglegacytrust.org)

The Maritimes is the o­nly region in Canada that is home to Acadian forests, which cover approximately the same area as the temperate rain forests of British Columbia. The Acadian forest contains thirty-nine species of native trees and more than 30,000 species of wildlife, fish and plants and insects. The wolf, wolverine and caribou are now extirpated (locally extinct) in New Brunswick. The eastern cougar, Canada lynx, and at least 45 plants are threatened or endangered.

Several Maritime conservation organizations, led by CPAWS Nova Scotia, are working together to conserve and restore the endangered Acadian forest in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. This regional conservation initiative encourages forest management that works with the naturally diverse Acadian forest - respecting nature?s limits, producing a wide array of products from the forests, and supporting employment and the livelihoods of communities. The recommendations in the Jaakko P?yry report would go against the intent of this Acadian forest conservation initiative .

There are 10 pulp and paper mills and 80 lumber, veneer, shingle and fencing mills in New Brunswick. In total, 40 percent of the wood fibre they consume is purchased from Crown lands.

Thousands of New Brunswick citizens have attended the hearings and asked the Select Committee to reject the industry proposal. The Select Committee is expected to complete their report in the spring of 2004.

For more information o­n this proposal please visit: www.forestsfornb.org or www.nosforetsnb.org

Last Updated on Saturday, 24 January 2004 17:05
 

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