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article imageProvincial Budget Could Create Silviculture Job Losses

By Bob Ewing     Mar 20, 2008 in Politics
The New Brunswick provincial budget has not pleased everyone, cuts to the province's silviculture program are not resting well with the woodlot owners who claim job losses will result.
The recent budget that was brought down by the government of New Brunswick has provincial woodlots owners dismayed. The budget contains cuts to the province’s silviculture program and this is a major concern for the marketing association for woodlot owners.
"This is major. And when I say major, it's major," Alain Landry said.
The CBC article says that the provincial budget came down on Tuesday and Finance Minister Victor Boudreau announced cuts to the Department of Natural Resources that included a $13-million reduction in funds for silviculture which involves getting rid of smaller trees to open up space for newer trees to grow.
This is considered to bet an inexpensive way to encourage new-tree growth.
"I don't think there's going to be any silviculture that's going to be done basically. Everybody that I've spoken to across the province told me that silviculture is dead as far as the private woodlot owners are concerned in New Brunswick." Landry said.
Prior to the new budget, the province paid 80 per cent of the cost of silviculture treatments. It will cut its contribution by 30 per cent and will reduce the overall budget for the program from $8 million to $4 million.
Landry expects 100 people will be out of work, in Northern New Brunswick alone, because woodlot owners can't afford to pay them for duties such as tree planting and thinning.
"Hopefully this is the bottom of the cycle. How could things get much worse? All our prices are going up. All our costs are going up." Hazen MacRae, a woodlot owner in South Tetagouche, N.B., for 30 years. said.
Progressive Conservative Leader Jeannot Volpé said, "That would have been a year where they should have invested more in silviculture, so that those people affected in the forestry sector would have at least a chance to stay there for one more year,”
The number of trees being planted will not be affected.
"We are still going to be growing or planting the exact same number of trees as we planted this year, Mr. Speaker. This year we planted 28 million trees and next year we'll be planting 28 million trees," Boudreau said.
On the other hand, Natural Resources Minister Donald Arsenault admitted there will be less thinning of forests this year.
More about Job losses, Silviculture, New brunswick