At this year’s Forest NB AGM, Gregor MacAskill of Gardner Pinfold presented an outlook on forestry titled, Economic Impacts of the New Brunswick Forest Sector.

“Over the years, the forest industry has experienced many challenges,” says Mike Legere, executive director of Forest NB. “As we all work to build a sustainable sector, we wanted to get a better sense of our progress to-date, and to have a baseline as we plan for the future.”

The report details forestry as being one of New Brunswick’s biggest economic drivers, creating about 24,000 jobs with 600 forestry companies operating in the province, and more than 2,500 in the supply chain. It contributes $1.7 billion to New Brunswick’s economy. At 15 percent of total exports, forestry is the biggest manufacturer exporter in New Brunswick outside of oil, and 98 percent of all exports are value-added wood and paper products.

“We are very pleased to see these numbers, but we know from experience the ups and downs in our sector are cyclical. It is a highly competitive industry, and we need to work harder every day to be better,” says incoming Forest NB chairman Terry Noble. We will be using this data as a measurement as we move forward, and as the forestry sector evolves. As a sector, we have an obligation to our province and to the communities we serve, to invest and innovate so we can continue to contribute to our local economy and create jobs for New Brunswickers.”

The sector predicted $750 million of new investment by 2020 in developing new markets, innovations and operational efficiency to address constraints to competitiveness like high wood, transportation and energy costs.