12 MARCH 2014
The decision of the Alward government to permit 21% more clearcutting on Crown land this year will be ruinous for both rural communities and wildlife, according to Green Party Leader David Coon. "This corporate forest plan sells rural New Brunswick and our environment down the river. It runs roughshod over the values and aspirations that New Brunswickers hold dear," said Coon.
The Green Party wants to create the conditions for an innovative and diverse forest industry that suits our forest and sustains our rural communities, but Coon says the Alward plan will make that impossible.
"This is the greatest give-away of forest resources to corporations in living memory," said Green Party leader David Coon. "Rural communities will be unable to rebuild their local forest economies because the Premier will give away their local natural resource base to corporate mills in other regions. Local independent mills will become a thing of the past and the market for independent woodlot owners will be devastated. As for wildlife, entire populations will be eradicated without adequate habitat in which to live," said Coon.
"The current system has become corrupted," said David Coon. "We want to take operational control of the Crown lands back from the corporations and manage them for the public good, with decision-making authority given to local communities," said Coon.
Over the past decade, experts employed by the Department of Natural Resources determined that the 3.26 million cubic metres of spruce and fir clearcut from Crown land was unsustainable and harvest levels needed to be lowered to reflect the available wood supply. The only way harvest levels can be raised, is to allow clearcutting in the 26% of the Crown lands where only selection harvesting had been permitted in order to sustain wildlife habitat and provide streamside buffers.
The long-term timber objectives of the Alward forest plan will dramatically increase herbicide spraying and convert much of the remaining natural forest on Crown lands to plantations," according to the Green Party leader.
"Once again, we see the Alward government siding with money and power rather than with New Brunswickers," said Coon.