By: Conservation Counsel
A broad range of public interest groups and experts in New Brunswick says new legislation is needed to ensure our public forests are being managed to meet the needs of all New Brunswickers.
The group, which includes representatives from wildlife organizations, the scientific community, private woodlot owners, environmental and conservation organizations, is calling for the urgent development of a new Crown Lands and Forests Act.
In a statement sent to the provincial government today, the group says the existing act, which came into law in 1980, fosters an outdated approach to forest management and fails to reflect the interests of the whole province. Forest management has become more complex, and New Brunswickers now expect forests to be managed for water, wildlife, recreation and other uses as well as jobs and revenue.
The statement referenced Auditor General Kim MacPherson’s June 2015 report on forest management, which stated our public forest should be managed for economic, environmental and social values, and highlighted that the province has lost money from the management of public forests for at least the last five years.
The group says new forest legislation should:
(1) State clear principles for managing public forests to protect the range of life in the forest, nature’s benefits, a wide variety of sustainable, forest-based business opportunities, and recreational values all in the context of climate change;
(2) Clarify and reinstate government as the trustee responsible to the public for the stewardship of Crown lands;
(3) Ensure transparency in setting forestry goals and objectives, and in achieving them, including a robust system of public involvement and consultation throughout the process;
(4) Respect the Peace and Friendship Treaties and establish mechanisms for consultation through free, prior, and informed consent with indigenous peoples;
(5) Support diversification and value-added processing within New Brunswick’s forest products sector; and,
(6) Ensure that private woodlots provide a proportional share of the wood supply and promote productivity from private woodlots through stronger management, pricing and marketing measures.
Read the group’s statement and background information here.