In response to the Auditor General’s report tabled on June 23rd, the industry association, Forest NB, considers that the findings validate that the current investment in silviculture on Crown and Private lands do support forest management objectives with regard to sustaining wood volume which will translate into more stable and predictable wood supply for the province’s forest industries thereby securing jobs and economic growth. The report highlights shortcomings with regard to heightened accountability and reporting but industry is satisfied that the DNR has acknowledged this and has measures in place to address these issues thereby improving public confidence in crown land management.
Executive Director Mike Legere states that with regard to the audit objective of due regard for economy and efficiency, that the scope of the audit does not take into account the longer term impact that the economic crisis of 2008-2011 had on royalty revenues. “What should be remembered and put into context regarding the reported $10 million average deficit over the five year period the audit covers, is that DNR shared in the economic pain suffered by the forest industry during the economic downturn. Royalty revenues were really adversely affected, in particular in 2009, and this plays into that average deficit number.” Moving forward Forest NB sees improved royalty revenue for the province from increased allocations and is confident that DNR will heighten its reporting of return on silviculture investments. “We believe that improved royalty revenue can only help offset the current deficit experienced by the Forest Management branch,” Legere explained, “and also that the indirect contribution a better wood supply makes to increasing economic growth will be better demonstrated by DNR.”
Forest NB is the voice of New Brunswick’s forests and forest industry in matters relating to trade, government, public and environmental affairs. We promote a healthy forest, raise public awareness of sustainable forest management practices and provide a forum for the exchange of information, ideas and issues facing the sector and New Brunswick communities.