New forest management strategy aims to restore balanced outcomes for the environment, society and economy30 August 2023
FREDERICTON (GNB) – The provincial government released a new forestry management strategy today that aims to restore balance and fulfill a commitment to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes for the environment, society and the economy through a focus on conservation, sustainable forest management principles, and economic development.
“Today, New Brunswick is in the unique position to dedicate more areas for conservation while also increasing the economic benefits of the forest sector – and at the same time expanding non-timber uses like maple syrup and other agri-food production,” said Natural Resources and Energy Development Minister Mike Holland. “And we are doing it while improving our management of species at risk, augmenting water protection, and safeguarding culturally significant lands identified by First Nations.”
Holland said the strategy, Our Forests are For Everyone: A Long-Term Strategy for Healthy and Sustainable Forests, was designed to ensure that New Brunswick’s public forests are a place for wild species to thrive, a place of cultural significance, a setting for people to enjoy nature and a driver for economic growth – both now and for future generations.
Crown forest management is designed around an outcome-based approach and science-based adaptive management. Using an 80-year outlook and a variety of environmental, societal, and economic dimensions, the provincial government will provide specific goals and objectives for Crown forests and the Crown timber licensees will be required, by law, to develop management plans that deliver on them.
“Good forest management strategies begin with good conservation principles, and that is exactly where our government started when renewing our forest management strategy for Crown lands,” said Holland. “We made a clear commitment to improve our approach and demonstrate that we can deliver better and mutually beneficial outcomes for our environment, society, and the economy.”
He said the push for a more balanced approach has led to many firsts for the forest sector and several major improvements compared to the strategy which has been in place since 2014, including:
- advanced technology for inventory accuracy
- elevated importance of biodiversity
- improved biodiversity protection
- consideration of climate change
- advanced Truth and Reconciliation calls to action
- support to maple syrup production
- advanced goals of private woodlot owners
- improved accountability and transparency
As part of the strategy, the recently released State of the Forest report, Excellence in Forest Management – Understanding our System, will be an annual report that will be focused on a different theme each year. This year’s theme focuses on the province’s forest-management system. Future themes may include conservation, climate change, diversified use of the forest, as well as the forest industry and growth in non-timber related economic benefits, such as the maple sugary and other agri-food production.
“I am proud that, in many ways, this strategy answers the call for change that our government heard from New Brunswickers,” said Holland. “By working together with all stakeholders, we can truly achieve excellence in forest management that will benefit New Brunswickers for generations to come.”
- The forest industry supports more than 24,000 full-time jobs and contributes more than $1.5 billion annually to the provincial economy.
- The prioritization of biodiversity and the achievement of gains through the Nature Legacy initiative has resulted in legal protection for 10 per cent of the province’s land and fresh water.
- Climate risk information has been formally incorporated into setting long-term strategy and management of resilient public infrastructure.
- A maple resource strategy has been released which uses technology to efficiently integrate wood supply and conservation, and significantly increase maple syrup production.