Sign on for a healthy forest — petition to ban herbicides in NB

One of the most important issues concerning citizens of New Brunswick that the Minister of Natural Resources can address right away is the use of herbicides on our Crown forested lands.

People from all over the province have joined with concerned citizens, community environmental organizations and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick — which has long advocated for a ban — by asking the government to get these chemicals out of our public woods.

Just last month, forest activists from Kedgwick presented copies of a petition calling for a ban on herbicides to the NB Legislative Assembly with more than 1,000 signatures. Since then, the numbers have grown significantly.

Approximately 13,000 ha of New Brunswick public forest are sprayed every year with herbicides to kill hardwoods and plants that compete with conifer seedlings in plantations.

Sprawling clear cut in New Brunswick

There are many reasons to ban herbicides in our woods:

  1. Herbicides are wiping out the food source and habitats of forest wildlife and are linked to the declining deer populations in the province.
  1. Glyphosate, the key ingredient in the herbicide used, was labelled a “probable carcinogen” by the World Health Organization in 2015. The province of Quebec banned herbicide spraying of its public forest in 2001 in light of public health concerns.
  1. Replacing the use of herbicides with thinning crews of people working in the woods — as Quebec has done — would ensure more jobs from our forest resource.
  1. At a cost of about $1,000/hectare, herbicide spraying contributes to N.B.’s annual forest deficit and prevents natural forests from growing.
  1. There is widespread public opposition to the spraying of the forest in New Brunswick. Three petitions against spraying the forest, signed by thousands of New Brunswickers, have been tabled in the Legislature in just over ten years. The Kedgwick residents noted today that they got an overwhelming 98 per cent positive response to their petition to ban herbicides. A Facebook group launched by concerned residents called Stop Spraying in New Brunswick has quickly attracted more than 13,000 fans.

Extensive silviculture in post clear-cut areas is transforming resilient natural forests into pest-susceptible monocultures. Areas that naturally favor deciduous forest are planted with coniferous species, resulting in the loss of biodiversity.

Download copies of the petition here. Petitions can be returned to the Conservation Council at 180 Saint John St., Fredericton, NB E3B 4A9. We will be collecting petitions until March 1, 2016.

Read our factsheet on herbicides — What you need to know about what’s sprayed on our forests

Read our 2-page factsheet on the provincial forest strategy — What’s wrong with NB’s Crown forest management plan

Read our article on the Auditor General’s reports on the forest deficit and silvilcuture programs in the province

For more about our work to ban herbicdes in NB woods, see the Phase Out Herbicides section of our website.

For the latest news from our Forest Conservation program, see here.