GREATER FUNDY ECOSYSTEM RESEARCH PROJECT
UNB Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management
State of the Greater Fundy Ecosystem
Community Participation in Forest
in New Brunswick
Canadian Forest Service
P.O. Box 4000 Fredericton, NB
The goal of this research project was to contribute selective refinements to the current Fundy Model Forest (FMF) forest management decision-making framework focusing on improvements to the process of community input.
A focus group session was conducted to determine the possible means or tools for input of the four main stakeholders: government, industry, woodlot owners and the community.
Survey and interview data collected for this study demonstrate a desire for a change in the way forest management decisions are made in the case study area and the province. This desire stems from an increasing concern for the environment, the continued productivity and survival of the forest industry and the communities that depend on it. In recent years, there has been increasing encouragement for public participation in decision-making on the part of all stakeholders through legislation, policy and practice.
The government (i.e. Federal, Provincial, and Municipal) has undertaken initiatives, such as the Commission on Land Use and the Rural Environment (1993), to solicit public opinion and input. Industry has incorporated public input opportunities into their planning exercises, and often conduct information tours designed to educate members of the public. Interest groups have become more vocal in demanding the opportunity for effective participation in decision-making and increased accountability of the industry and government.
Hikers along the Coppermine Trail in Fundy
Criticism towards the process of forest management decision-making was expressed in the interviews, surveys, and focus group. Criticism was also directed towards the participation initiatives of the government and industry. The results of the focus group and interviews suggest that mistrust among the stakeholders and tokenism have made the past involvement efforts of the community ineffective, and typically unrewarding for those participating. This is observed through the divergence between the perception of decision-making responsibility in the survey (i.e. who is versus who should be), and through comments received in the survey.
IMPLICATIONS FOR MANAGEMENT
Current forest management practices remain a contentious issue. Practices such as clearcutting and pesticide use are accepted by the government (Provincial and Federal) and the industry, but still meet with resistance by many of the public. Communication and education is required in order to alleviate this tension. Those responsible for these operations must be more willing to interact with the public, and attempt to understand and address concerns.
The interviews and survey data demonstrate a desire by all stakeholders to work together to ensure a sustainable forest resource which may be used for a multitude of benefits. The agreement in forest management objectives clearly shows this.
Information provided by:
Dr. Graham Forbes
Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at UNB
Last Update: May 7, 1998
This document: http://www.unb.ca/web/forestry/centers/cwru/soe/commun.htm