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Mixed Wood Forest
(photo: CCNB)


Lorsqu’une forêt est abattue, est-ce que les gens s’en préoccupent?

À travers le monde, on entend beaucoup parler des espèces en voie d’extinction. Au Nouveau- Brunswick, nous perdons la forêt acadienne mixte, nos forêts humides de cèdre , ainsi que nos riches forêts de feuillus des Appalaches. Bienvenue à la forêt industrielle où, le plus souvent, la forêt a été coupée à blanc pour en récolter le bois d’oeuvre.

Un nombre croissant de propriétaires de lots boisés et d'entrepreneurs pratiquent ce que l’on appelle une foresterie écologique. "La foresterie écologique travaille de concert avec la nature afin d’atteindre des objectifs économiques, au lieu de l’ignorer afin de maintenir une forêt industrielle."

Le Conseil de conservation fait campagne pour obtenir une réforme du système de gestion de nos terres publiques afin qu’il adopte la foresterie écologique et qu'il prévoit plus de surveillance locale de la gestion des forêts, tout en fournissant de bien meilleures redditions de comptes au public sur le processus décisionnel qui affecte les terres forestières publiques.






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When a Forest Falls,
Does Anyone Care?

David Coon,
Conservation Council of New Brunswick,
October 2001


hen a forest falls, does anyone care? There is much talk around the world about driving species to extinction. In New Brunswick, we are losing entire biological communities. We are losing the mixed wood Acadian forest that once dominated large areas of our province. We are also losing our wet cedar forests and rich Appalachian hardwood forests.

In their place, we are gaining more and more forest dominated by short-lived early successional species, such as poplar, white spruce, balsam fir, and the white and grey birches, and we are gaining tree plantations of black spruce and jack pine.

Welcome to the industrial forest, where more often then not, forests are levelled to harvest the timber. Akin to draining a lake so you can scoop up the trout off the bottom, the widespread and repeated use of clearcutting in New Brunswick is eliminating some forests in favour of others.

In the industrial forest, not all kinds of forests are created equal. ‘Few species good, many species bad’ could be the slogan of industrial forestry. The cheapest, fastest and simplest way to harvest timber and manage the future production of wood fibre is to liquidate what grows and begin afresh. You can create densely growing tree plantations of the species which most closely fit the needs of your mill. Or you can tend what grows back by cutting out what doesn’t suit the fibre specifications or timber specifications for your mill. In both cases, you are trying to funnel as much of the energy and nutrients cycling through the ecosystem into growing the kind of trees that run your mill. What is the point of wasting energy and nutrients on growing hemlock or salamanders, when they have no value to you? Make the forest fit the mill.


(photo: CCNB)

Welcome to Crown land, the 50% of New Brunswick’s forests held in trust by the Province of New Brunswick to serve the common good. In a valiant attempt to hold on to wildlife whose habitat requirements are not met by the industrial forest, small disposable islands of forest are retained to provide safe haven for deer, pine marten, pileated woodpeckers and their ilk. And now we have a network of protected areas to remind us of the diversity that once characterized our forests and provide living laboratories to figure out how natural forests work.

The Conservation Council, in collaboration with the Federation of Woodlot Owners, surveyed a number of private woodlot owners and logging contractors in 1999, and discovered that Crown lands could be managed much differently. They could be managed for the full diversity that nature provides, while providing livelihoods and income from selling pulpwood, studwood, sawlogs and veneer logs.

A growing number of woodlot owners and contractors are practising what can be called low impact forestry. As Andrew Clark, a contractor in the Upper St. John River Valley has written, what we need to do now is manage the forest for the health and vigour of naturally occurring species and design an industrial strategy to make best use of, and to maximize employment from, the products of this natural forest.

Andrew Clark checking
value added in woodlot

(photo: CCNB)

Low impact forestry relies on partial cutting systems to both remove wood for sale and restore the natural health, vigour and diversity of the forest to produce more wood and a greater diversity of wood products in the future. It relies on knowledge, experience, skill, and a sense of stewardship in planning harvests, always with an eye to the future consequences of these actions in terms of the quantity, quality, and diversity of trees that will result from the intervention. Low impact forestry works with nature to attain economic objectives, rather than keeping it at bay to maintain an industrial forest.

Seeing is believing. Visit the Conservation Council/Federation of Woodlot Owner’s
low impact forestry website at
There you can read the profiles of the contractors and woodlot owners we visited, and see photographs of their woodlots and management practices.

Even better, take a woodlot tour offered by your local woodlot owner organization.

(photo: CCNB)

Should we not expect at least the same level of care, stewardship and management that a growing number of individual landowners and private contractors provide for privately-owned land for our public forest lands?

The Conservation Council is campaigning for a reform of our Crown lands management system, so that it will embrace low impact forestry and more local control over forest management, while providing for much greater public accountability in decision-making concerning public forest lands.

You can help by expressing your concerns to your MLA, to the Minister of Environment, Kim Jardine and to Premier Bernard Lord. They all can be reached at P.O. 6000, Fredericton, NB E3B 5H1 or you can send your representative a free fax at the Fax Action website.