Acadian Forest Declaration
New Brunswick’s Acadian forest is endangered.
We must act now to save what is left.
The Acadian Forest Declaration
The mature Acadian forest of New Brunswick is being lost at a rate of 1 percent every year to clearcutting. The area of Crown land in the province containing mature Acadian forest has already dropped below 45 percent and is now one of the most endangered forests in North America. Under the current forest management regime, only 12 percent of mature Acadian forest will remain on New Brunswick Crown land by 2025.
Clearcutting and replacing our naturally diverse Acadian forest with softwood plantations is accelerating the loss of biodiversity in our Acadian forest. As a signatory to the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity, we are obligated to significantly reduce the current rate of biodiversity loss by 2010. According to the latest science, this will require tripling our provincial standard for forest biodiversity to keep the area of mature Acadian forest from falling below 40 percent of our Crown lands.
If we don’t act now to save the Acadian forest, we can expect a new wave of regional loss of species beginning with the northern flying squirrel and songbirds like the Blackburnian warbler.
Only a handful of corporations hold licences over all of New Brunswick’s public forests. These corporations have pressured the government into maintaining current wood allocation levels. Wood allocations in their current form are not ecologically, economically or socially acceptable or sustainable. Thirteen public hearings across this province ended with recommendations that the annual allowable clearcut be reduced 10 to 15 percent by 2007. It is the provincial government’s responsibility to properly manage and conserve our public forest.
Community forestry is currently thriving in many parts of the world. This lower impact forestry would lift our forests out of endangered status and return it to being one of the most rich, diverse and best managed forests in the world. Community forestry would also provide more fair access and share in the economic wealth found in our forest resources for this generation and future generations of New Brunswickers.
Considering that our mature and diverse Acadian forest is essential to the web of life in New Brunswick and to the economic well-being of our communities, we, the undersigned, call on the government of New Brunswick to:
- End clearcutting of Acadian forest on Crown land so that it can be managed for the full diversity that it can provide;
- Triple the provincial standard for forest biodiversity by 2007, so we can meet the 2010 target for biodiversity conservation in the U.N. Convention on Biodiversity; and
- Change the Crown land licensing system so that it supports community forestry and public stewardship of our forest.
I want to sign the Acadian Forest Declaration.
Organizations outside NB
Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice
Mercy Centre for Ecology and Justice
Ontario Public Service Employees Union (local 104)
Sierra Club of Canada – Atlantic Chapter
Society for Corporate Environmental and Social Responsibility
Comments from signatories
“Exploiting resources for selected big corporations and short term economic profit. Shame NB government. What about keeping the rare forests and wildlife species for tourism or further biological studies that benefit all over the long term? Old growth forests are wonderful tourist destinations, injections of much needed long-term provincial wealth. People need to stand up to politicians and those “whom we dare to speak of”, Stand up to the government by voting for those who support biological/ecological data rather then the sound of coin. Where will these companies figure heads be when mills have been shut, our forests have gone, the unique species that live in them have been added to the already extensive COSEWIC at risk or extinct listings. Stop big companies pushing out the skilled youth of NB and creating needy families forced to leave there homes in search of labour. You can’t pull the wool over the eyes of New Brunswick forever.” – Kurt Hermann, Fredericton, NB
“We are all connected. Please work together for sustainable community forestry.” – Sharon Flatt, Saint John, NB
“I come from New Brunswick and I’ve spent a great deal of time in the forests all over NB. As a hiker I’ve seen the clearcut mountainsides in our central northern region and as a tree planter working for Irving I’ve seen how ineffective/ counterproductive their backwards attempts at reforesting are. Careless people plant trees so close together the result is no kind of habitat for anything.” – Dustin Wilson, Tricycle Media, Montreal, Quebec
“This summer I managed to see old growth Acadian forest in New brunswick for the first time. In order to do so I had to hike deep into fundy park. It was an event that had to be planned and thought out carefully, getting time off of work and all the rest of it. The forest itself was incredible- the lush moss and fungi, the huge trees that I couldn’t even wrap my arms around, the smells- it was magical to say the least. THere was so much happening in that ecosystem on the Coastal Trail. The trip ended driving out of the park towards Fredericton, where I saw clear cuts bordering Fundy. My heart sank as I imagined the active ecosystem, minutes away that took hundreds of years to form, being ripped out of the earth by human made machines in a matter of days. I want to express that I hate this violence towards the forest. I understand the importance of jobs and the role the forest plays in our economy: but, honestly, there are other ways to harvest. It is embarrassing that this happens on crown lands supposedly protected and managed for the people of New Brunswick.As a young New Brunswicker, I am struggling to understand why this province seems like a pushover to powerful multinational companies that cut down our trees for the sake of their shareholders. If only those in charge could see the broader spectrum of an ancient balance, a healthy environment for our province, and trees to harvest in the next generation.” – D’Arcy Wilson, Sackville, NB
“The ecological ignorance displayed by industrial forest users is not acceptable. Some fibre farms may be necessary today, but we should not be extending their reach just as the west wakes up to the destruction it has wrought by applying short-term economic thought to future generations life support systems.” – Jason Bull, Sierra Club of Canada, Corner Brook, NL
“I hope we can harvest fewer trees, plant fewer softwoods and maintain the size and diversity of our Acadian forest. I’d welcome the growth of community forestry as a sustainable and fairer alternative to excessive exploitation by a few large corporations.” – Ann McAllister, Saint John, NB
“I keep hearing the Bruce Cockburn song “If a tree falls in the forest…” as I read this petition. Let’s pass this on to everyone we know…” – Gerard Godin, Moncton, NB
“Community forestry is something that needs to happen in NB. The system here of profit-driven corporate forest management is not currently built to respond to the needs of the people–from community to community–nor to the needs of the environment, both being inseparable. A total overhaul is needed.” – Asaf Rashid, Fredericton, NB
“We only have to look at Europe to see the results of clearcutting over the years. Canada, her people, and our wildlife deserve more.” – Petra Kelland, Cold Lake, Alberta
“Having lived for almost a year in Japan and seeing directly what happens to the biodiversity when you replace non-native trees I can only hope that concerned parties will learn from the mistakes made here and not repeat them.” – Luigi Chiaramonte, St. Tottori, Japan
“It takes courage to do the right thing. Please do the right thing for future generations and the health of our earth.” – Haifa Miller, Fredericton, NB
“Public lands need the public to manage them.” – Donald Trevor, Sackville, NB
“I am and always have been against clear cutting of our forest. It leaves a large ugly scar on the once beautiful landscape of our countryside.” – Judith Anderson, Woodstock, NB
“I am very concerned about the practice of clear-cutting in this province; a practice that is illegal in countries that are truly concerned about the environment and the global community. I suggest community managed forests be put into place and the corporations like Irving that have clearly managed forestry in this province poorly be eliminated from any connection to our land.” – Krysta Oland, Harvey Station, NB
“I am President of the NB Southwest Riding Association for the NDP. We are fully behind this, and support you in your efforts.” – Andrew Graham, St. Andrews, NB
“Public sector should have more input on all major decisions regarding public forests. Keep our forests mixed please. NB cannot sustain a one species forest. More acess to waters and woods for public recreation. A handful of companies should not be able to dictate forest use.” – Bonita and Willard Wright, Juniper, NB
“Get on with the business of conserving, protecting, and diversifying our forest in resources compliant with the UN Convention on Biodiversity. Don’t just meet the targets, EXCEED them! This only makes economic, cultural and political sense.” – Derek Simon, Harvey Station, NB
“The Acadian forest was once a diverse, bountiful forest. Now it has been clearcut and developed, destroying wildlife habitat and biodiversity of plant and animal life, and wrecking communities. It is public land-the people living there should be able to make a living from community forestry, which has proven to be effective environmentally, socially and environmentally.” – Amanda Dainow, Halifax, NS
“Trucks are hauling night and day out of the Plaster Rock area woods. Frasers (Nexfor) have clearcut valleys around Sadler Mtn. and Trousers Lake. Its a desert!!!!” – Emmett Burgess, Grand Falls, NB
“Never has this issue ever been so crucial as it is now. Also, if our public forests continue to be used in an unfair way against our own private woodlot owners, the present wave of resentment against the present government and like minded politicians; bureaucrats will only grow and get worse.” – Ronald Fournier, Glassville, NB
“Our forests are a precious resource and must be treated as such.” – Anneke Gichuru, Grand Manan, NB
“I have spent vacation time in NB every year recently, and mature forests are a big part of the attraction for me, my family, and our tourist dollars.” – Mike Freeman, Toronto, ON
“When my father was a child there were log drives on Christropher brook, Restigouche County. Today that stream has decreased in size and Grog Brook runs dry thanks to the Irving cmpany’s logging practices.”– Michael D. Thompson, Vancouver, BC
“Yes to community forest practises. Our land our say!” – Marion White, Balla Philip, NB
“Over our deeply justified concerns re: large-scale industrial logging of the last tropical forests – largely with exclusion of the local populations of the operations’ benefits – we tend to forget the boreal and ancient forests in the “developed” world. Unsustainable use of the former, and any use at all of the latter, should alert everybody who is convinced about the need for safeguarding the threatened habitat for forest-dependent people and the biodiversity of our planet. In this context, clearcutting of forests is simply a crime, also to the environment afar, through silting of rivers and lakes, and the high negative impact on the climate.” – Reiner Tegtmeyer, London, UK
“The people of New Brunswick and the Legislature’s own Select Committee on Wood Supply have outlined a vision toward sustaining New Brunswick’s Forests. The government should now have the courage to embrace that vision and move forward.” – Lawrence West, Stanley, NB
“Acknowledging the attributes of the Acadian Forest will increase significantly the health of both the forest and local community. We cannot afford not to do this.” – William McKay, Nagaya Forest Restoration Ltd., Dieppe, NB
“We need to seriously consider how we manage our woodlands for the future because right now the future looks bleak.”– Dan Ficken, St. John’s
“Short-term gains should never overweigh long-term loss.”– Bryan Casey, Ottawa, ON
“Incredible that a government would let economical pressures depict the destruction of an endangered forest.”– Aaron Cameron, Waterloo, ON
“Our family has enjoyed Fundy National Park and the Waterside area for the last 40 years. We want to preserve its beautiful natural resources for generations to come.”– Ellen Thompson, Barrington, RI