The current land tenure system divides Crown land into 10 timber licences, currently assigned to eight companies owning wood processing facilities in New Brunswick. The companies hold the licences for 25 years, whereupon they can be renewed. Every five years the companies must produce and follow a forest management plan that lays out the details of how they will manage that land, where and how much wood will be harvested each year, and how wildlife habitat will be maintained based on the goals and objectives submitted to them by the Department of Natural Resources and Energy for that period.
The Conservation Council proposes a variety of new licence categories to recognize aboriginal interests, the desire for other New Brunswickers to manage areas of Crown land, and the need for a greater level of forest stewardship at the local level. These include: community forest management licences for native and non-native community forest boards; woodlot licences to enable individual woodlot owners, municipalities and Indian reserves to add nearby blocks of Crown land to their existing woodlot operations so they might increase their economic and ecological viability; and timber management licenses for native and non-native wood producer coops, marketing boards or timber management enterprises to manage larger areas of Crown land on an ecologically sustainable basis.