Forest Vegetation Management and the application of herbicides is an important tool used as part of a strategic approach to sustainable forest management in New Brunswick. The responsible use of registered herbicides is designed to free young conifer trees from immediate competition from surrounding vegetation and is applied during the critical early years of establishing a new tree plantation or naturally regenerating forest area. New Brunswick invests significant money each year in establishing plantations on Crown land. In order to protect this investment, using vegetation management tools including herbicides is critical. Less than 0.5% of New Brunswick’s forests are treated with herbicides annually.
Forest Vegetation Management and the Use of Herbicides
The Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG) enforces a number of pesticide regulations in New Brunswick, which includes glyphosate herbicides. These measures add increased safety for human health, the environment, and wildlife living near the treatment sites.
These additional measures include:
- The use of detailed GIS technology to plot the treatment site, and to minimize the likelihood of off-target drift
- Buffer zones around private land and water courses (including wetlands, rivers, lakes, ponds, etc.)
- Certification and training for applicators
- Mandatory public notifications
- Proposed treatment areas approval in New Brunswick
- Notices in major New Brunswick newspapers
- Signs outlining treatment details and timelines posted at access points to all treatment areas
The use of herbicides, such as glyphosate, is overseen in New Brunswick by a number of regulatory organizations to ensure that it’s being used safely and according to the best practices outlined in research.
The regulations governing the use of all herbicides, including glyphosate, are set by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA), an arm of Health Canada that completes periodic reviews of the scientific research about forestry chemicals. With this information, PMRA officials have the authority to update the regulations and label instructions for any product to ensure that the forestry sector is using the best possible science to manage Canada’s forests.
The New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government then provides additional measures of safety through the Provincial Pesticides Control Act. Additional measures of safety include individual applicator certification and training as well as permits to apply the product. This means that anyone who wants to use glyphosate must be qualified and apply for a provincial permit which has safety measures beyond the product label instructions. The DELG also requires organizations to submit reports and inspects operations to make sure they comply with all regulations.