Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Don't sacrifice conservation for short-term wood suppy say woodlot groups

FREDERICTON - Forty-five environmental, wildlife and private woodlot groups have signed on to a statement telling government they do not want government to sacrifice long-standing conservation measures on Crown land to provide a temporary increase in wood  supply  for  the forest industry.  Additional wood sought by the industry can be readily supplied by the private woodlot owners of the province.

Roberta Clowater, Executive Director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, NB Chapter, and chair of the Crown Lands Network of groups, said, “Tinkering with the current system, and turning back the clock on environmental protections established for good reasons over the last twenty years will not solve the problem, or result in a solution that has any broad-based support.”

“New Brunswick's forest conservation measures are considered by our own wildlife  biologists  and  forest  ecologists  to  be the bare minimum needed  to  avoid  local  animal and plant extinctions.  Any reduction from the status quo would be unacceptable, and not sustainable,” added David Coon, Executive Director for CCNB Action.

DNR foresters have calculated that a 10% reduction in Annual Allowable Cut (AAC) is required to maintain a sustainable wood supply into the future. The previous government was prepared to sacrifice long-standing wildlife habitat and conservation measures to limit the reduction in AAC to 5% for the next five years. This is unacceptable to the signatories.

Based upon information released by the Private Lands Task force in early February, private woodlots clearly are producing enough wood to supply an increased demand.   The undersigned groups are asking the Minister of Natural Resources Bruce Northrup to support the conservation of our rivers, our wildlife, and our forest ecosystems by refusing to weaken the existing standards, and encourage industry to increase their purchases of wood from New Brunswick's private woodlot owners.