Industry, universities, and environmental organizations have teamed up to establish a collaborative process to discuss sustainable forest management in New Brunswick.
The Collaborative Research Partnership for Sustainable Forest Management received more than $990,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) under its Community-University Research Alliance (CURA). The grant supports a collaborative process among academic, conservation and environmental not-for-profit organizations, and the forest industry.
“Our government is investing in research, innovation and training that benefits Canadians by supporting partnerships between community organizations,” said Keith Ashfield, MP for Fredericton and Minister of National Revenue. “This new research partnership will help New Brunswickers working in the forestry sector by helping to make the industry more economically and environmentally sustainable.”
Don Floyd, interim dean of the faculty of forestry and environmental management at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton says he’s grateful for SSHRC’s support, which has allowed a variety of partners to advance sustainable forest management in New Brunswick.
“New Brunswick is confronting some very important challenges in our forest sector, from the effects of climate change to global industry restructuring,” said Dr. Floyd. “We think it is essential that the environmental community, the forest products industry and the university seek new ways to work together. We have identified important areas of agreement where we believe we can make significant progress.”
The partnership began with an invitation from J.D. Irving, Limited to representatives of environmental and conservation non-profit organizations and professors and researchers at UNB Fredericton. This group began discussing current sustainable forest management practices and research areas of common interests in New Brunswick. New Brunswick’s forests sustain clean water, habitat as well as jobs for people. Fostering a better understanding of the environmental, social, economic impacts of the forests is a worthwhile priority.
The process called the Forest Collaborative, focused on learning from each other to develop on-the-ground activities to advance common interests. The shared vision of vibrant communities, profitable renewable resource-based industries and resilient ecosystems drives the desire to increase the ability to collaborate and implement innovative solutions. The process is assisted by an independent facilitator. The partners in this process identified projects under three themes that require further collaborative research, shared learning, and knowledge dissemination:
- developing strategies for conserving important habitats and forest community types across private and public ownerships;
- increasing forest sustainability (environmental, social and economic) in New Brunswick through improved communication, participation, and transparency and increasing FSC certified forest in New Brunswick; and
- developing broader and deeper collaborative leadership skills, knowledge, and practices with institutions in the forest sector in New Brunswick.
Blake Brunsdon, chief forester for J.D. Irving, Limited says his company believes that good science and environmental performance is good business. The New Brunswick Forest Collaborative provides a welcome opportunity to exchange ideas and share information with science-based environmental groups.
“Sustaining jobs, the environment and communities in today’s competitive global market means we have to find innovative ways to work together,” said Mr. Brunsdon. “We look forward to participating in the work of the Forest Collaborative to make New Brunswick the best place – environmentally and economically – to live and operate a sustainable business. We appreciate the CURA funding and thank the participants for their collaborative efforts.”
Partners in the funded project include: The Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre; Bird Studies Canada; Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter; Fundy Model Forest, J.D. Irving, Limited; Nature Conservancy of Canada (Atlantic Region); Nature Trust of New Brunswick; RESOLVE, and the UNB faculty of forestry and environmental management, l’Université de Moncton, and Natural Resources Canada-Canadian Forest Service (CFS).
“The environmental organizations participating in this process are eager to find ways to achieve improved forest conservation and resolve conflicts over the use and conservation of our New Brunswick forests,” said Roberta Clowater, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – NB Chapter. “We would like to express our appreciation to SSHRC for providing this funding, which will increase our capacity to participate in new research and to work collaboratively with representatives of the universities, CFS and J.D. Irving Ltd.”
For more information, contact: Natasha Ashfield (506) 458-7969- University of New Brunswick Gary Toft (613) 943-7599- Minister of State (Science and Technology) Mary Keith (506) 632-7777- JD Irving, Limited Roberta Clowater (506) 452-9902- CPAWS-NB