This week New Brunswick’s Auditor General released a follow-up to her 2015 report on forest management in the province.
You’ll remember that six years ago Kim Adair-MacPherson recommended that the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development reduce the amount of Crown land harvested by clearcut, to bring practices in line with the government’s 2012 forest management plan.
“Clearcut is running consistently around 80 per cent, whereas in the area of selective or partial cut, there is a decline from 20 per cent to roughly 10 per cent in more recent years,” MacPherson-Adair told MLAs and reporters upon releasing the 2015 report.
Back then, she noted that the department had ignored numerous studies and recommendations calling for a reduction of clearcutting on Crown land. Her report said that selective and partial cutting methods are recognized as best management practices because they also serve to protect waterways, wildlife habitat, and preserve a healthy range of plant and animal life in the woods.
Now, in 2021, Adair-MacPherson adds her own call to the list of recommendations ignored by the department.
“I am disappointed the Department of Natural Resources and Energy Development is yet to implement key recommendations from our 2015 chapters,” she says in her 2021 follow-up, released Feb. 23.
“The Department continues to disregard the need to reduce clear-cut harvest on Crown land to align with the Province’s forest management strategy.”
“We remain unsatisfied with the implementation rate of our recommendations,” she concluded.
That’s a sentiment shared by the Conservation Council, our supporters, and thousands of New Brunswickers who love our woods and want to see it managed for the benefit of all citizens, not just the large forestry companies.