across the Maritimes into the Northeastern U.S. and parts of Quebec,
the Acadian forest is a remarkable diverse ecosystem of 32 tree
species. The forest was historically composed of long-lived tree
species that grew for 200 to 400 years in forest stands that contained
a mixture of hardwoods and softwoods.
Three hundred years of European
settlement and industrialization in New Brunswick have drastically
altered the Acadian forest. Large tracts of forest have been cleared
for farming and forestry activities. Species composition has changed
towards a forest with shorter-lived and shade-intolerant species such
as poplar, white birch, and white spruce.1
Fall on Mount Carleton, NB.
(Photo: Tracy Glynn)
Traditionally, forest management has
been based, almost entirely, on economic profit.2
Societal pressures have resulted in the addition of numerous values;
hunted wildlife, job creation, water quality, recreation, aesthetics,
protected areas, and biodiversity are all aspects of today's forest
Of the 30% of New Brunswick's public
land that is designated as forest conservation area, only 4% is
protected area where no logging is permitted. The remaining 26% of
conservation area does not allow clearcutting but is open to other
forms of logging like partial cutting. After you account for
watercourse buffers and areas that are too steep to log, clearcutting
is actually only excluded from 15% of the public forest which is
designed to conserve wildlife habitat and biodiversity.
Areas important for wildlife habitat
and biodiversity will be decimated if industry-driven recommendations
of reducing forest conservation areas from 30% to 20% are implemented.
The best science available suggests these areas actually need to be
larger to be effective in conserving biodiversity. As a signatory to
the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity, Canada is obligated to curb
biodiversity loss by 2010.
in Goshen forest, Elgin, NB.
(Photo: Tracy Glynn)
Clearcutting animal habitat and water
protection zones does not only maintain the plunder of our public
forest, creating an even more precarious environment for the survival
of our threatened and vulnerable species like the Canadian Lynx,
various songbirds, and forest orchids, but it also dramatically
shrinks the market for New Brunswick's private woodlot owners, putting
family forests out of business.
Selection logging is a more acceptable
harvesting method than clearcutting and, if done right, can ensure
that habitats and freshwater are protected. But, the industry wants
more clearcutting in wildlife habitat and conservation areas because
this is where the last big wood is found and it is the cheapest way to
make quick profits. The area of old forest would plummet again under
such a concession when it only exists on 5% of the entire Acadian
forest land base.3 The forest must also be
left alone to regrow naturally. In 2005, the World Wildlife Fund
classified the Acadian forest as one of North America's most
Alternative licensing structures such
as community forestry arrangements are a growing trend in other places
such as British Colombia. Working alternatives rooted in what is best
for forest-dependent communities would also prioritize restoration and
conservation, and support for more diverse timber and non-timber
products because of the inclusion of diverse interests in the
Snag with squirrel.
A 2008 provincial survey on public
views on forest management4 found
that environmental values of watershed and habitat protection gathered
stronger support than industrial harvesting of forests. A majority of
New Brunswickers who responded to the survey felt that industry has
too much control over forest management in the province. Survey
respondents ranked the Conservation Council of New Brunswick, a
long-time advocate of the restoration and conservation of the Acadian
forest, in the top three of organizations that best reflect survey
The government of New Brunswick is set
to unveil a new forest management policy this year after consultation
on a set of different forest management scenarios to be presented to
the public. It is hoped that the government finally recognizes that
the Acadian forest is rapidly being lost and that something has to be
done to save not only the forestry industry, but also the forest.
Every government that has come to power in New Brunswick in the last
decade has proclaimed that our forest is one of the best-managed
forests in the world. But, as indicated in the recently released
provincial survey, New Brunswickers hold a different opinion. These
are the opinions of woodlot owners and workers, conservationists,
hunters and anglers, and urban and rural dwellers alike, who are
witnessing the degradation of the forest happening before their eyes
and want a management regime that protects what is special and natural
in New Brunswick.
 Lorimer, 1997; Loo
& Ives, 2003; Mosseler et al., 2003; Dewolfe et al., 2005
 Greater Fundy Ecosystem Research Group, 2005,
"Forest Management Guidelines to Protect Natural Diversity in the
Greater Fundy Ecosystem"
 Mosseler et al., 2005
 Commissioned by the N.B. Department of Natural
Resources and carried out by researchers with local universities and
the Canadian Forestry Service.