Forest Sustainability

The Plan:

  • Reduction of conservation forest from 28% to 23%;
  • 21% increased wood supplied from crown land (soft wood; mature forest stands);
  • Reduce mature forest stands from 26% currently to 10% in 50 years;
  • Increase silviculture plantations from 12% today to 21% in 50 years;
  • Guaranteeing this 21% increased wood supply to licensees (no specifics, 60% to J.D. Irving);
  • Total up to 3.9 million cubic metres;
  • Habitats will be “re-arranged”;
  • Accessing steep slopes, rocky areas, buffers;
  • Maintain only active deer yards.

The Reality: In 2012, then DNR Minister Northrup presented a new strategy:

  • A reduction in the hardwood Annual Allowable Cut from 1.77 million cubic metres in the 2007-2012 plan to 1.41 million cubic metres, 21% reduction;
  • No increase in softwood allocations, no clearcut harvesting;
  • Meeting all 20 of the provincial conservation objectives established to maintain healthy wildlife populations and old-forest habitat types;
  • Total of 9.4 per cent of Crown land will be designated as Protected Natural Areas; 28 % of the total Crown forest as “conservation forest,” which is managed primarily for biodiversity conservation purposes

Facts about sustainable forestry:

  • You either have ecological integrity or you don’t regardless of the jobs provided;
  • More plantations and more conversion of mixed wood forest to conifer leads to greater susceptibility to spruce budworm and stresses due to climate change (Matt Betts);
  • Do we want to run the experiment in New Brunswick where we drop mature forest down to 10 or 20 % and then find out, too late, that we’ve caused local extinctions for a bunch of species? (Matt Betts);
  • 2011 report by NB Crown Land Task Force : ” With the Conservation forest limited to 23% of the forest land base, target levels for old forest communities and habitat levels are not achieved.”; also: “ The task force recommends that, where practical, the area outside the PNA land base in the presently identified Conservation forest be considered for inclusion as PNAs. The preferred outcome would be to expand the PNA footprint to 12% of Crown land”
  • None of the licensees currently operating on Crown land have gotten FSC certification (Forest Stewardship Council) in New Brunswick, though FSC has certified 181 hectares worldwide, and is considered the gold standard in certifying sustainably managed forests.


NB Naturalist – Our Forests-Nos forêts, the special edition of Nature NB’s magazine, contains a number of articles related to forest sustainability. Download the magazine here.