Industry Insider Newsletter
May 2022
Impacts of proposed by-law to ban clear-cutting in the Municipality of Miramichi
A proposed by-law to ban clear-cutting is currently being reviewed by the Municipality of Miramichi and will have serious impacts on the private woodlot owners and the local economy in the region, if passed.
Development of by-laws should take into consideration a broader perspective including landowner rights and impacts to the regional economy. It also should be developed in collaboration with the experts and stakeholders in the field of forestry, including those landowners who will be impacted. Further, there needs to be consideration of the current science-based management regime already required for sustainable management of forests, including private woodlots.

Currently, there are 400 private wood-lot owners within Miramichi municipal boundaries, and this will increase by over 300 private woodlots through municipal reform in 2023. Private woodlot owners have the right to decide how to manage their forest but if this by-law is approved, it will be a significant infringement on those rights. Sustainable forest management requires the expertise of professional foresters, the Municipality doesn’t currently have that expertise in their Engineering Department and may not be qualified to assess the health of forests and determine appropriate management prescriptions for woodlots.

There would also be significant impacts for forest product producers in the Miramichi region who rely on the consistent supply of wood from private woodlot owners in the municipal region. The proposed by-law jeopardizes the consistency and volume of supply that would be available from private woodlots by placing unreasonable limits on annual harvest volumes. Collectively, these impacts would be devastation for the regional economy that is significantly based on the forest sector – not just private woodlot owners and forest product producers, but also all of the upstream and downstream supply chain businesses.

Clearcutting is often misunderstood amongst the public, but it is deemed a sustainable forestry practice, and not all tree removal is clearcutting despite erroneous perception. Prescribed clearcuts on mature forests mimic the effects from natural occurrences like fires, insect infestations and wind blowdowns where forests would have been lost. Harvesting those forests prevents losses from such occurrences and reduces the risk of forest fires by removing high fuel loads that can occur with dead and dying trees. Banning the opportunity to effectively harvest for revenue or for management of aging or damaged forests also increases risks for public safety and amplifies potential disaster mitigation costs.

Clearcutting is also not the same as deforestation which indicates the conversion of land from one use to another. Management of woodlots includes harvesting of trees, but also regeneration of forests which is an important component of a renewable cycle of carbon management that effectively managed forests afford. Therefore, the proposed by-law contradicts the ability to sustainably manage forests for carbon neutrality because damaged or dying forests become sources of carbon emissions as opposed to carbon sinks provided by rapidly growing younger forests.
Forest NB and its members have consistently been raising concerns around the unintended impacts of municipal and regional governments implementing by-laws that don’t take a broader perspective of resource management and economic viability. Banning valid land management practices in forestry, agriculture, or other resource sectors that are the economic backbone of the province, particularly for many rural communities and areas would be devastating for these communities from and those citizens that are employed either directly or indirectly in these sectors. Effective by-laws and decision-making processes cannot be developed without the input of experts and especially stakeholders – those landowners whose rights will be impacted. 
2022 Forest NB Industry Forum Recap

Nearly 140 people attended FNB's 2022 Industry Forum, in Fredericton N.B. The return to an in-person event after 2 years of social distancing and virtual meetings reminded of us of the importance of networking and collaborating with different businesses and partners. The Forum focused on the importance of diversity, digitalization and innovations in the forest sector in order to be more competitive, respond to labor shortages and become more efficient forest managers. We also got updates from our colleagues in government. Many more subjects were touched upon, here are a few.

The honorable Blaine Higgs, Premier of NB, brought greetings during our reception dinner and the Honorable Mike Holland gave an update from the department of Natural Resources and Energy during our Forum luncheon.

Our Keynote speaker, Kelly Cooper spoke on the importance of building an inclusive work culture to create more innovative ideas in the workplace. Kelly manages the Free to Grow in Forestry initiative that seeks to help forestry companies have a more inclusive work culture with change management techniques. Training modules are available for employees and managers on New content is being developed to support businesses.
Joel Neuheimer, from Forest Products Association of Canada, presented on FPAC's Perspectives on Diversity and Innovation. An average of 5 300 retirements per year is happening and will happen between 2020-2028 in the forest sector which equates to 5 300 openings per year. FPAC developed strategic diversity and inclusion programs to address labour shortages.

Moulay Akoufi, PHD., speaker during our plenary session on research and development, discussed new technology that is being developed with A.I. to help fight forest fires by understanding how fires spread and determine where they could potentially be in 4-5 hours. This information would help deploy resources more efficiently and stop fires faster.

The FNB 2022 Industry Forum gave forest sector partners and businesses helpful updates on upcoming technologies and innovations. We also want to thank our out of town presenters who helped make our event a success. The attendees learned about the importance of diversity in the workplace all while having the wonderful opportunity to network face-face and build stronger relationships. See you next year.
Right to left Conway Elkins, Chair person of Forest NB, Hon. Blaine higgs, Premier of NB, Kim Allen, Executive director of Forest NB, Hon. Mike Holland, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development