HistorySince pre-colonial times the forest has played a major role in the lives of the inhabitants of New Brunswick. The Native inhabitants of this region used wood to construct shelters, tools and means of transportation. The forest was also home to the many different animals they hunted for nourishment.
The first settlers relied heavily on the forest since their principal source of economy was the fur trade. At this time, wood was exported only on a small scale; it mainly served local needs in shipbuilding, the construction of homes and heating.
The early part of the 19th century saw the decline of the fur trade and the beginning of a more intensive exploitation of the forest. Great Britain had been at war with France since 1793 and needed wood to rebuild their merchant marine and navy so they turned to the forests of the North American colonies. For more than half a century, woodsmen entered the forests of New Brunswick in search of pine and oak. In two decades the annual wood production climbed from 5,000 tons to more than 400,000 tons. In response to this increase of wood production, lumber mills opened throughout the province.
At the end of the nineteenth century, technical progress introduced new materials such as brick, iron and steel into competition with sawtimber. This caused demand for lumber on the international market to diminish, fortunately, the market for pulp and paper increased during the same period. With the increase in demand for pulpwood, the economic value of private woodlots gained recognition in the early 1900's.
Woodlots in New BrunswickThe forest plays a crucial role in the lives of many New Brunswickers. The forest industry is one of the major employers of our province with about 15,000 people working directly in the industry as employees or contractors and 13,000 more people working in jobs related to this field. There are 14 New Brunswick communities that depend entirely on the forest industry for their economic survival and close to 40 others who rely heavily on forest-related business.
New Brunswick has a landmass of 73 500 km2 (over 18 million acres), 85 percent of which is forested. These lands are divided in four major categories; crown land (51%), federal land (2%), industrial freehold (18%) and private woodlots (29%).
In New Brunswick, there are approximately 40,000 private woodlot owners who own 1,857,884 hectares (4.59 million acres) of the province's total forested area. From this land-base, private owners generate over 90 million dollars worth of economic activity.
New Brunswick's woodlot owners are a varied group, encompassing people of all ages and occupations. The objectives of ownership are extremely varied, depending on the values of the owner in question. These values include, but are not limited to, recreation, spiritual, timber/income, firewood and wildlife.
NB Federation of Woodlot Owners and Marketing BoardsOver the past four decades, New Brunswick woodlot owners have established regional organizations, marketing boards, and a provincial body, the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners, to represent their interests to government and buyers.
The initial establishment of marketing boards was prompted by a market situation where supply and demand was dominated by a small number of large players. Marketing boards strive to insure that woodlot owners of all sizes achieve a fair share in the available markets. These organisations were first started in 1961 in the Madawaska region and by the end of the 70's seven marketing boards were in place covering the entire province.
Today, a majority of wood originating from private woodlots in New Brunswick is sold through the marketing boards. These organisations negotiate prices, contracts, and market access on behalf of private woodlot owners who are marketing primary forest products. The boards collect a certain percentage of levies from the sale of any primary forest products. The money collected through levies is mostly used to cover the marketing boards administration costs. The remainder of the money is then invested in various programs offered by the boards.
In 1965 the existing marketing boards came together to create the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners. The federation was created to represent the concerns of woodlot owners to government and to improve the level of communication between woodlot owner organizations around the province. From the beginning, the Federation's purpose has been to do all that is necessary to promote the economic and social interests of woodlot owners.
What kind of service do they provide?
If you are a private woodlot owner in New Brunswick, you can access information and services from one of the seven regional marketing boards. Activities and programs offered vary between marketing board. For a full list of services and related fees, please call your local marketing board. (locate your marketing board)
Marketing boards' highly qualified staff can assist you with a wide range of activities such as timber inventory, harvesting block layout, trail construction and management plan development, to name a few.
Also, they offer programs that encourage improved management of woodlots. One of the major programs offered by all marketing boards is the silviculture program. This provincially funded program aims to encourage the application of various silvicultural treatments. Woodlot owners can apply on a yearly basis to receive subsidy to help them pay for silvicultural treatments, including mechanical and chemical site preparation, re-forestation, pre-commercial thinning, and mechanical and chemical plantation maintenance. Many marketing boards have a land service program. This service allows the marketing board to act as the official representative for the woodlot owner. More specifically, they would manage and supervise wood harvesting and silviculture operations in accordance with a management plan. Usually, this service is used by absentee woodlot owners.
Finally, marketing boards can provide you with information. At all times, you can access current stumpage fees and market information through your regional marketing board. Staff members are also available to give you advice on forest management options. Some boards provide their members with newsletters containing regional information.
NB Federation of Woodlot Owners
As mentioned earlier, the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners is composed of all seven regional marketing boards. This non-profit organisation represents woodlot owner issues to government at a provincial level and provides an opportunity for input into government policies. The Federation also co-ordinates and administers the provincial Private Land Silviculture program.