Fire / Feu



Le Rapport Jaakko--Poyry sur la sellette

Qu'est-ce que les Nouveaux-
Brunwikois devraient demander au gouvernement - avant que le débat commence

"Comment les contribuables en sont-ils arrivés à payer 150 000 $ pour un rapport qui ne tient compte que souhaits des entreprises forestières? "

La préoccupation du rapport Jaakko-Poyry vise essentiellement à déterminer si les entreprises forestières du Nouveau-
Brunswick sont désavantagées par rapport à leurs compétiteurs. Toutefois, ce rapport ne cherche pas à déterminer si le système actuel (avec 6 entreprises multinationales forestières qui détiennent 10 permis et contrôlent 50 % de notre forêt) est avantageux pour les Nouveaux Brunswickois.
Ce rapport ne tient pas compte non plus des communautés rurales où, historiquement, plusieurs familles dépendent du travail en forêt pour leur survie.

À titre de propriétaires des forêts du Nouveau-
Brunswick, nous avons besoin d'être consultés, et ces consultations ne doivent pas se borner à combien de profits satisferait les grandes entreprises. À tout le moins, on doit se poser cette question : " Est-ce que ces individus soutirent plus de profits de nos forêts que les citoyens du Nouveau-
Brunswick?"

 

 

 

Questionning the
Jaakko Poyry Report
What New Brunswickers should ask the
government - before the debate begins

Jean Guy Comeau
Chairperson of the Community Forestry Committee,
Private Woodlot Owner
June 2003


aow did taxpayers end up paying 
$150 000 for a report that reflected the multinational forest corporations' wish list?


(photo: LowImpactForestry.com)


The wish list was sent on September 14, 2001, from the New Brunswick Forest Product Association to the Honourable Jeannot Volpé, New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources & Energy (DNRE). It called on the DNRE to:

1) Revise the vision document and forest management agreement to maintain the softwood Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) above the 1997-2001 level and double the sustainable harvest by 2050. 
2) Revise government policies to be consistent with doubling the wood supply and develop mechanisms whereby government and licensees are held financially accountable to achieve objectives of forest management agreements.
3) Implement a silviculture program to achieve the wood supply objectives stated above.

The Jaakko Poyry report is preoccupied with whether the forest industries in New Brunswick are at a disadvantage relative to their competitors. It doesn't, however, consider if the present New Brunswick system (with six multinational forest corporations holding 10 licenses and 50 percent of our forest land) is to the advantage of New Brunswickers. Nor does it consider the needs of rural communities, where historically many families have depended on work in the forest for their survival.

Private Woodland Owners

The Auditor General of New Brunswick warns that the Crown Land and Forest Act requires attention. For example, a section of the Act passed in 1980 specified that the mandate was to encourage the management of private forestland as the primary of source of timber for wood processing plants in the province. Crown Land, in contrast, was meant to be a source of residual supply.

This "private woodlot first" situation gave woodlot owners, and the seven provincial marketing boards that represent them, some powers in establishing timber prices. But an amendment to the Act in 1992 conflicted with this section. It took away the designation of private forestland as the primary supplier of timber to industry, thus removing the rights of woodlot owners to negotiate prices of wood.

Jean Guy Comeau on this woodlot


(photo: LowImpactForestry.com)

Today, six multinational companies have jurisdiction over 70% of all forested land in New Brunswick. Their control of 20% of industrial freehold and more than 50% of the Crown Land now determines everything that happens in the forests of New Brunswick from the stump to the mill. This has made it almost impossible to get fair prices for privately owned wood. We don't see anything in the Jaakko Poyry report that even mentions the current imbalance created by multinational corporations having direct control of such a great percentage of the highest quality forest wood supply of New Brunswick.

DNRE Staffing

The report also states DNRE and the forest industries should reduce the cost of forestry management, by reducing manpower, to make the sector more viable. New Brunswick is cited for having relatively high staffing levels in comparison to such provinces as Québec and Ontario.

It appears to me that the fox is saying, "don't worry, and let me look after the chicken coop". Well, I am not sure the chickens are safe. Let's look at what DNRE staffing has done for the owners of the Crown Land in the Miramichi of New Brunswick. According to recent reports, 34 fines for a total of $27 818.26 were issued to two forestry companies working in the Crown forests of Northumberland County. Some of these fines related to culverts that were not properly stabilized, load slips that were improperly completed, oil spillage, harvesting outside designated harvesting blocks, wasteful harvesting practices, and cutting unapproved harvesting blocks.

On the heels of a very busy year for Forest Rangers who work on Crown Lands, the Jaakko Poyry has the audacity to state that we have too many Forest Rangers. When we talk to DNRE, however, they tell us that they do not have enough staff to supervise Crown Lands. As a result, it is very likely that just a small percentage of forestry practice infractions are detected.

Finland Comparisons

The Jaakko Poyry report tells us to follow the lead of Finland but only to the parts that fit the multinational wish list. In Finland, wood production was clearly the objective of forestry policy until the 1980's. Today there is an emphasis on protection, conservation, and recreational values. Finland is establishing more of a balance in its forests, moving away from plantations. Looking at some of the recommendations of the Jaakko Poyry report, these new directions and ideas in Finnish forestry are totally discounted and rejected.

The average size forest holding in Finland is around 26 hectares, and 63% of all private land holdings are less than 20 hectares. The proportion of timber from private forests, with respect to wood used by domestic industry and mills, is approximately 80% annually. Each year there are 100 000 to 150 000 wood sale agreements, with the average amount of timber being about 400m3. Do the Finnish sell their wood for the price we have currently in New Brunswick?

In Finland, the state owns 35% of the forested land and 80% of this state-owned land is in northern Finland. Due to pressure for other forms of use, this land generates only about 10% of the forest industry's total fiber demand. Recreation and forest conservation are assigned to Finland's state forests, in addition to wood production. The annual timber sale from state land currently stands at less than 10% of the volume generated from New Brunswick Crown forest. In New Brunswick, the Crown owns approximately 50% of all the forestland, but it currently supplies between 40 and 50% of the forest industry's fiber requirements.

The JP report illustrates a disregard for forest protection. It suggests, for instance, increasing the volume of wood cutting in areas currently set aside for conservation, deer yards, and buffer strips along salmon rivers. The report does not mention that community forestry practices prevail in Finland, with 62% of the forest owned by 440 000 private forest owners. If family members are taken into account, every fifth Finnish person helps make decisions on matters connected with the forest and its future.

Finnish people decide how their forests are managed. Those involved in the decision-making process include municipalities, parishes, small communities, and other organizations that supply wood to the mills. This is the practice that the people of New Brunswick want their government to enact. Last year many meetings were held in many communities and our wishes were made clear to the Minister of Natural Resources & Energy, Mr. Jeannot Volpé. In Allardville, more than 700 people expressed their concerns regarding the loss of jobs by power saw operators and skidder operators employed by UPM Kymenne, a Finnish company.

Who pays and who benefits?

There is another issue that should greatly concern New Brunswickers: the Jaakko Poyry report recommends doubling the softwood supply. This will require additional investment by the taxpayers of New Brunswick in silviculture costs. This investment will definitely increase from the $23 million in the 2001-2002 provincial budget to just over $50 million per year, then taper off to 
$34 million a year. Most New Brunswickers are already paying the maximum taxes that they can afford. Now we, and our children and future grandchildren, are expected to be financially responsible for an investment that will benefit multinational corporations.

As owners of the forests of New Brunswick, we need consultation, but it should not be limited to a report that looks only at how much profit major corporations want. These companies are currently focused on increasing their profits by reducing the number of good jobs they offer. We are witnessing this firsthand on the Miramichi, where it was reported that UPM wants to reduce expenses by 10 million dollars a year. People who are currently well paid, and deservedly so, are destined for unemployment.

Today, multinational corporations, their shareholders, and the companies that make machines for operation in the mills and forests profit greatly from our forestry operations. We need to ask ourselves this question: "Are those individuals deriving a greater benefit from our woodlands than the people of New Brunswick?"