New Brunswick Hunting Forum banner
1 - 20 of 66 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read the forum for about a year now and I must admit, rarely have I contributed. However after reading several posts on several different topics it appears there is a general anti-forestry attitude on here. Phrases which have been used to label the industry have included but are not limited to, "Destruction of forests", and "Crown land mismanagement".

If you've read this far, you've probably guessed already that I work in the forest industry here in NB, and have for some time. I would like to think that I can for the rest of my career. I bet there are others on here who also make a living working in various capacities in the idustry, who are all hunters, fishermen, more importantly sportsmen.

This topic as it relates to hunting always ruffles feathers, even I myself see things which I may not agree with while on the job. I'd like to open this topic up to a discussion on anything forestry, whether it's plantations, growth and yield, logging practices, forest spraying, etc, so that some of those who need answers can get them and perhaps we'll end up with a better understanding of what actually takes place, even if we don't necessarily agree with it.

Okay, a recent comment (Sorry Bullseye) to get this started, stated that spruce trees don't grow well on sites where sugar maple grows. This is not so, as a matter of fact they grow better since these sites are very well drained, and high in nutrients. I am not by any means saying I support cutting hardwood and planting softwood. So let's have them boys, what do you really need to know, or what do you really need to understand? Hopefully the other folks on here who work in the industry can help me out with it! (Or we can all keep b*itching about without knowing anything about it)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
i second that, i've worked in the forestry industry for the last 8 years running machinery and i got out of it because of what is being done(destroying) it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Thanks girlscout. Your right, hardwood and softwood can both be chipped economically. Also to your point about letting hardwood or mixedwood grow back, DNR dictates the extent to which companies can replant softwood on hardwood sites post harvest. The determining factor is the % hardwood which is intolerant vs. tolerant and the % softwood. Intolerants are white birch and poplar, tolerants are sugar maple, yellow birch, and beech, which noone can clear cut. All tolerant hardwood stands on Crown land have to have a select cut harvest prescription, either strips, single tree selction etc. If a stand is composed of 50-75% (50% softwood) intolerant hardwood it can be clear cut, however if it exceeds 75% it must be allowed to regenerate naturally.

Obviously, softwood stands which are harvested are replanted for softwood, but only after it is determined through a post harvest sample jointly with DNR and licensees that softwood trees aren't going to establish naturally. Typically this sample is completed one year after harvesting takes place.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
323 Posts
I would like to see a larger percentage of hardwoods be allowed to regenerate and get rid of herbicide or reduce it considerably. I am also concerned with the amount of biomass left on the forest floor. I totally understand the usage of biomass and how it makes economical sense but a percentage has to be left to enrich the soil.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
I realize that DNR has all of these wonderful rules in place to protect our provinces forests, but be honest with yourself...to say that conversion has or is not happening in NB forests because of the standards that DNR has in place would be a complete lie. Maybe its not even conversion from pure sugar maple to white spruce, (which has/does happen, but is not the point I'm trying to make...) but say from our naturally occurring MIXED ACADIAN FOREST type, to plantations. Yes there is data to suggest that plantations are not as bad as everyone makes them out to be, but there is no arguing that they lack many of the features that our natural forests do. Also the short rotation ages associated with plantations bring along a whole other slew of problems. The rules for clearcutting eligibility are great on paper, but many MOSTLY hardwood stands are clearcut on crown land because of the odd spruce/fir existing and the stand being classified as mixed wood. It doesn't take much time in the woods of new brunswick to know that things are not the same as they used to be, and that plantations exist where they should not. Supporters of industry also tout the benefits that clearcuts provide our deer and moose in terms of excellent browse and other vegetation as feed. That would be a legitimate argument in an area where food was a limiting factor in deer populations I suppose...here the limiting factor for the majority of the deer herd is our harsh winters..and yes of course DNR has wintering yards planned down to the hectare as well, but I have seen them cut down, know of many others who have seen them cut down, and I for one don't see many similar pieces of land coming back online to replace the ones cut. Perhaps they are but I highly doubt it.
 
G

·
Great topic by the way. A refreshing, educational topic that could generate some good discussion and insight.

I have a curious question maybe someone can answer. Everyone always talks about clearcutting. Thats fine, thats industry. Everyone also talks about wintering areas and deer yards, and protecting them. Thats good too. They need protection.

My curiosity lies in how educated foresters and wildlife managers can allow clearcutting and subsequent spraying/replanting right up to the border of a wintering area, all the way around it...leaving an "island" so to speak to live and stay warm for a few harsh months...but no access to food without venturing long distances in deep snow to get a few groceries and then have to make the trek back again. Is there no communication between the forstry sector and the wildlife sector beyond "this is a recognized deer wintering area...you cant cut IT, but you can cut/spray,and replant up to it's boundry " ??

Has there or is there ever a buffer zone (i.e.500 meters??) left around wintering areas where they cut (and NOT spray/replant monoculture) to allow some natural growth to regenerate and provide winter browse within close proximity to the wintering area.

Seems like a simple concept to me...am I missing something? (other than leaving a buffer zone is essentially leaving behind lost revenue)

Just curious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
I hate driving dirt roads in mid summer and seeing gigantic cuts with nothing but brown, leafless would-be hardwood saplings.
It's a sad sight no matter how you look at it, no matter what kind of numbers you throw at me, no matter how you try to justify it!

The proof is before your eyes.

It seems as though 70% of the provinces woodlands are being harvested this way. When is the last time that you saw true old-growth forest...or even forest that hasn't been cut since the 30's ? These forests do exist but some of them are already taped in preparation for cutting. Drive around the province of New Brunswick and you'll notice that in many places it looks like some proverbial barber gave our land a brush cut, (possibly the worst of all haircuts) and, in the process, died its hair one color and destroyed its roots.

I especially hate when you drive by one of these hardwood deserts and standing in the middle of it are but a few sad-looking pines that are supposed to be there to seed the growth of the acres and acres that were cut. Sometimes what they leave have had patches of bark stripped from them in the process of cutting anyway.

It's just not a sustainable way to exploit our provinces resources.

FR

post script - I've also noticed that the buffer zones along waterways are quite elastic in the minds of some companies. WHERE ARE YOUR HEADS AT!?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
223 Posts
Well, I agree that DWA's are important, but think about what constitutes a deer wintering area and then think about where deer are wintering in urban areas. This isn't the most suitable habitat but there is browse (hedges, shrubs, exposed grass, apple trees, bait piles etc.). Winters are just as tough here if not tougher as the snow depth is typically deeper in these exposed relatively young aged stands of trees that they make use of. Sure typically in most truly forested situations there is deeper snow in some areas and less in what is calssified as DWA's which are under typically tolerant softwoods with sufficient understory for browse.

BUT WHAT THE H#!! IS THERE TO EAT IN SOFTWOOD PLANTATIONS AT ANY TIME OF YEAR! The species composition thresholds established by DNR for crown lands ARE ALLOWING FOR CONVERSION Griff. This the true battle that we have to face! Herbicide, re-application if need be, and/or PCT, CT at 20-25 years and a second CT following that then clearcut and then plant again and start all over? Due that twice or three times and in many areas you will be liming and fertilizing those soils (look at Finland). At every stage the focus is on leaving a desirable softwood crop tree. A closed canopy leaves little room for any understory for browse of any sort. We need to wake up because if we think we are going to be needing more softwood pulp and stud wood then we are screwing ourselves out of being able to turn higher value products (hardwood products) from our soils down the road permanently! IT ALL STARTS AT THE PERCENT COVER THRESHOLDS AND REGENERATION METHODS FOLLOWING HARVESTING! That is the battle for crown lands. Don't get me started on what forestry companies do on private land. Anyone been to Irving's Black Brook holdings? That is a rant for another time.

I am done my rant for now.
 

·
Former Mod
Joined
·
1,169 Posts
(Or we can all keep b*itching about without knowing anything about it)
[/quote]


I think when it comes to the Northern half of the Province as it relates to practices in the last 40 years, my ''bitching'' is entirely justified....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
76 Posts
I spent a lot of time around Irving's Black Brook holdings Water Runner...unbelievable...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
There is a bundle of things surrounding this issue that I simply can't get my head around and for me while the deer herd weighs in on my thoughts it's not all just about the deer.
The area that JCrawford is talking about is a good example that I'm familiar with, but certainly not unique.

For years there was was / is a large forestry preserve in the area, signs all over the place telling people to case their firearms identifying the management area etc. In the last couple of years they have systematically flattened and clear cut this land. I can't help but wonder what point a forest preserve serves if it can be clear cut.
Gates have been erected on ALL the Access roads to the point that people that owned private camps in the area needed to access their property from the old rail bed that can be accessed from practically the one road that wasn't gated. I don't know if anyone has ever hauled a trailer and met another truck doing the same thing on a rail bed but it's difficult to imagine anything but a very long time trying to get by each other. When this safety issue was pointed out by angry residents to the M.P. at the time ... 1 gate on 1 road was opened for Deer season to accommodate these land owners then it is closed once again. In the last couple of years the main access (non-gated) road has undergone a number of improvements including new ditching etc ..... most of the folks with camps in the area discovered why the Province did all this work as JCrawford pointed out --- The new Ditching etc pretty much stops at a new road that a forestry company has cut into essentially the last large track of crown timber still standing in the area!

Gates on Crown land have been justified by folks that say that they need to restrict access for insurance reasons and that they (the company doing the cutting) are responsible for any damage to the roads etc. Trucks loaded with logs day and night all winter won't harm the road but a half ton or a wheeler will --- my arse!

There was a time where even politically despite the effect on the environment, there were arguments about employment. Entire communities relied on the industry to live. Oodles of men were in the woods cutting timber and transporting it to be processed by a number of mills that were the life blood of many communities and cities. Now a few people with a processor that needs to be run 24-7 to make the payments on the thing, does the work of all these people ..... And many of the mills that were themselves heavily subsidized and supported by the tax payers have closed. I know there are still many people working in this industry but nothing like it used to be.

In the late 70's -early 80's my father would take me to tobique (Riley Brook area) to hunt. At that time the clear cutting was well under way in that area. Those cuts looked exactly like the ones that we see today when all is said and done ... though at that time it didn't seem like they would leave the big pines for someone to come along after and harvest -- because back then the issue wasn't that a processor couldn't cut it, The man with a chain saw did it all. Anyway they erected large signs back then talking about reforestation with dates for re-harvest 20 years in the future or something like that. I challenge anyone to stand in front of any of these signs and say with a straight face that what they see behind it is what people were imagining back when the land was clear cut with the promise that reforestation would restore what was removed. Now what they talk about is fiber ... 4 inch pulp sticks that they can thin a couple of times and then harvest producing more than one would think .... and they speak about this like it was the original idea.

I'd be the first one to say that I am not an expert and expect that my view of things certainly has some holes in it that a forestry expert could point out and perhaps correct. I do know that If I take hose and water my grass, and leave it long enough .. for the most part it stays green. If I remove a large swath of grass and run the hose ... soil and mud will drain onto my driveway immediately and the ground will be bone dry in the blink of an eye. There is more to repairing sod removal than simply spreading some seeds.

I think that employment has always been the trump card and one that is difficult to argue. There is no question that it is a difficult dynamic to tackle and that a promise of a mill opening or closing something similar is a powerful negotiation tool, but I think we have gotten to the point that some serious questions have to be asked, not just about the effect on our forests but about the sustained employment that has always been the carrot. I remember the Softwood lumber dispute ... US Mills maintaining that they couldn't compete with Canadian mills because the wood was undervalued here and inefficient mills could only compete with this advantage. NOT one Canadian official ever considered that maybe they should stop the export of raw logs to these US mills to see just how efficient they actually were. I recall when the NB power debate was going on last year the guy from Frasers spoke to the media and said that the cheap Quebec power rates were essential to them keeping the Mill in Edmundston open .... but I don't recall anyone asking him why it was then that they had recently closed Mills in Quebec .... where they already got these reduced power rates.

When I look around I see a bunch of communities that have lost their major employer. This despite all the support and "corporate welfare" that they have received and more important any hint that a mill or Mine might open and the province will get it's check book out again. I see crews in the woods that are much much smaller than they once were (though they are a lot more efficient) and lots of truckers to take the crown timber to destinations that are increasingly far away.

I recall the spruce-bud-worm spraying controversy, and recently the Agent Orange headlines, but I never hear a peep almost anywhere about spraying clear cut crown land to eliminate hardwood growth. I have a difficult time imagining that there is not a single risk manager employed by the province that doesn't see a potential red flag there. It is absolutely predictable that some one in the future is going to bring action against the province for some health issue that we should have known about. They certainly seem to see the issues if some home owner wants to spraying their lawn for dandelions.

Griff I expect that you have lots of stats to tell us the miniscule percentage of forests are harvested in NB and how sustainable these practices are. Depending on the context of the conversation I'm confident that many of these points will appear reasonable. I also have zero difficulty believing that the way things are going forestry companies will be able to continue to harvest in NB for a long time into the future.

This point does not exist in a vacuum however, and the question about what the forest is going to look like should hardly be a secondary thought.
Sure the Industry employs a lot of people, but if that's the strongest argument to look the other way, what is the level of employment we should require them to maintain and should it be tied directly to timber allotment? How long is it going to be before large swaths of single species trees are faced with a disease or parasite that will threaten to devastate what we have turned our crown lands into? Who will be responsible for fixing this problem -- the guys doing the spraying and "terraforming" now or you and I the tax payer? How brown do the brooks and rivers have to turn after a rain storm before the practices need to be altered?

I think (perhaps too simplistically) of the Deer and Salmon for example as the proverbial canary in the cole mine. I know there is more to it and realize fully that some of the past success we have had with our deer populations has in some ways been because of and not despite of our forestry practices. I'm really not trying to have it both ways but what is there now and what we had in the past is useful and valuable to everyone (Including in no small part the forestry companies). The way that they are harvesting and reshaping our land both now and in the future means what will remain will be a lot more valuable to a pulp / biomass company than anyone else. Putting all one's eggs in a single basket has never been good policy. Even if people are only concerned about their little piece of paradise would do well to keep in mind Bulls eye's point about the north half of the province -- It's completely relevant and worth considering because at this rate the southern half of the province is going to look exactly the same way in the very near future.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16 Posts
As a previous DNR employee and a ex forestry worker.
It all revolves around ""MONEY"" until hunting brings more money in to the province then cutting it.
Things will never change.

P.S. I herd allot of talk about harsh winters in the past and how the deer survived.
It is not the quantity of snow that affect the deer but the depth of snow over a period of time.
for example over 150cm of snow for more then 100 days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Great discussion guys, all very well thought out points I must add. It is true that forestry employs a significant number of New Brunswickers, either directly in mills and woods operations, or indirectly such as parts suppliers, manufacturers etc. The employment card has been played to death but where else (or what else) can we bring to this province that employs 8000-12000 people. However we look at it, it's reality.

Deer yards are always a great topic of debate, the only answer everyone has is we think we need them, not really sure how many, not really sure how big, not really sure where, not really sure if they should be connected.... Wildlife managers and foresters in reality rarely talk, wildlifers establish guidelines, foresters follow them once in place. A good point was raised on connectivity that could be addressed if there were more dialogue between professions, industry and government.

Spraying hits home also, basically the simplest way I'd describe it, is when you plant, your should protect your investment, similar to agriculture or your own home garden (I realize the scale is different). It should be noted also that not all of our forest in the province is the Acadian forest, we have areas that are simliar to the Boreal, softwood dominated, low lying, slow growing etc. These generally aren't candidates for select cutting. If left to natural devices, they would windthrow or burn, the latter not likely with forest suppression programs these days.

Lets keep the discussion rolling guys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
120 Posts
Any fool with half a brain and two good eyes can see what has been done in the past and is continuing today.Corruption and mis-management at the highest levels in government AND big business have destroyed the diversification of our forest and left us with single species plantations and an access road every five hundred yards.Just take a look at some maps and see the "before" and "after" picture.The "tree growing company" is scrambling around right now trying to find more wood to keep it's mill in Chipman going.THE WOODS HAVE BEEN RAPED AROUND CHIPMAN FOR THIRTY MILES IN EVERY DIRECTION! THERE IS NO MORE WOOD LEFT TO HARVEST EXCEPT IN BUFFERS AND DWA'S. JUST WATCH WHAT GOES NEXT!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
797 Posts
I've been out of the woods since spring and besides the ability to put out trail cams on they way home or check them i dont miss it.I greatly miss the seeing the deer in certain areas i've worked and i'm sure alot of you know where i'm talking of, as for last year my last year in the woods i didn't see any game worth talking of--Oh ya probably because my employer worked for IRVING that year..I could do nothing about the land i've changed during my years as a forester but tried to help more than hurt that i know for sure. Like most say $$$$$$$$$$$$$ is the route of all evil and there don't seem like we are ever going to be able to change certain things in NB'S forest industry.Hope for change, thats all we can do..RR
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
RR I'm glad you joined the discussion. Clearly you have an informed perspective, and are a hell of a woodsman and hunter.

Griff I'd agree with your thoughts on the employment number, but my question is what number would that have to shrink to for this to be important? Punch those numbers up for 1980 Especially on the direct side of the ledger. Again I agree it is a reality.

I'd also agree that (especially recently) there has been quite a bit of debate around deer yard requirements. If we want to know why as you said

" the only answer everyone has is we think we need them, not really sure how many, not really sure how big, not really sure where, not really sure if they should be connected"

Maybe we are asking the wrong questions .... It seems to me that the discussion followed the decision to increase the allotment.
Deer yards are not being scrutinized because someone was wondering if we can do something to increase or improve them to help our dwindling herd .... they are being scrutinized because someone came in the room and said where are we going to find the wood??? Do deer really need that much? something like that.

Finally I understand clearly the logic of your statement.
" when you plant, your should protect your investment, similar to agriculture or your own home garden"
I Don't question why they are spraying -- I question why we allow it. I'm talking about Crown Land, it's not their land it's ours. -- I don't think of reforestation as "their investment"- I think of it as a requirement that the province should attach to any forestry lease / stumpage arrangement.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
223 Posts
Spraying hits home also, basically the simplest way I'd describe it, is when you plant, your should protect your investment, similar to agriculture or your own home garden (I realize the scale is different). It should be noted also that not all of our forest in the province is the Acadian forest, we have areas that are simliar to the Boreal, softwood dominated, low lying, slow growing etc. These generally aren't candidates for select cutting. If left to natural devices, they would windthrow or burn, the latter not likely with forest suppression programs these days.
Griff, This is the problem. No one is saying that you should select cut the world it is the regeneration criteria people have a problem with. NB Crown Land Forest Management Manual criteria for a softwood plantation. What is in bold is the problem!

4.2.3.4 Softwood Plantation Standards
Pre-treatment
Criteria
The pre-treatment criteria for softwood plantations are:
· In most cases, areas to be planted should originate from one of the
following cover types:
· Softwood (S) (75 % or more softwood).
· Softwood/hardwood (SH) (softwoods greater than or equal to 50 %
and less than 75 % ),
· Intolerant (HS) hardwood/softwood (softwoods greater than or equal
to 25% and less than 50 %, with more intolerant than tolerant
hardwood),
· Intolerant (H) hardwood (less than 25 % softwood, with more
intolerant than tolerant hardwood) on ecosites 1, 2, 3, 4 or 6.

· Exceptions may be approved by DNR where relatively small parts
(e.g. < 5 ha) of the cut block originated from cover types other than
indicated in the above four bullets.
· Where intolerant H type stands on ecosites 5, 7, 8, and 9, or tolerant H
or HS stand types are not regenerating as expected, the decision to full
plant will be determined by a joint DNR and Licensee assessment.

· The stocking of acceptable softwood regeneration (section 9.3) must be
less than 45 % for full planting or less than 75 % for fill planting.
 
1 - 20 of 66 Posts
Top