I haven't seen anyone post this, but I want to make sure everyone reads it.
That scumbag mentioned here (Mark Arsenault) paints the picture exactly. Creating jobs for people to thin their softwood plantations is "too costly" when the Province of NB is willing to pay ALL of the costs of air bombing the crown forest with Round-Up.
N.B. biologist says herbicides harm wildlife
Rod Cumberland suggests province return to the pre-chemical days of silviculture when people did the work
BY CHRIS MORRIS
The wildlife biologist who managed New Brunswick's deer herds for over two decades says herbicide spraying of Crown forests is a major factor in the decline of the province's deer population.
Rod Cumberland, a Department of Natural Resources biologist for 22 years before leaving last year, is adding his voice to environmental concerns over the province's use of herbicides to eliminate hardwoods in softwood plantations on Crown lands.
'Herbicides kill hardwood trees and deer eat hardwood trees so in my simple mind that is a simple equation: we are killing what deer need to eat,' Cumberland said in an interview.
The province has been spraying herbicides since the 1970s, treating between 12,000 and 14,000 hectares of Crown land softwood plantations and cutover areas annually.
Cumberland said that in roughly the same period of time, deer populations in New Brunswick have plummeted to fewer than 80,000 today, from well over 200,000.
He said many deer have abandoned the Crown forests to browse closer to urban centres and in suburban backyards.
'We plant nice gardens that deer love and they are not stupid - they are where the food is,' he said.
This year's herbicide spray program is just getting underway and the Conservation Council of New Brunswick has asked the provincial government to suspend the spraying, especially since Health Canada is currently reviewing the safety of the herbicides.
'It's disconcerting these products are still being used and we don't really know they are safe,' said Tracy Glynn of the conservation council.
But Mark Arsenault, president and CEO of the New Brunswsick Forest Products Association, said only a very small area of Crown land is treated with the spray, which the industry considers a highly effective tool in forest management.
'They (the conservation council) paint a bleak picture that doesn't reflect the realities,' Arsenault said in an interview. 'The amounts used are very small and they allow us to grow more and better quality softwood on a smaller parcel of land, freeing up much more Crown land to have natural, regenerated and biodiverse forests elsewhere. You can get more wood off a small parcel of land when it is managed.' Arsenault said only one per cent of Crown land sees any forestry activity in a given year and only a small part of that one per cent receives herbicide applications - usually the portions that are replanted with softwood. He said about 13 per cent of Crown lands have softwood plantations on them.
The Health Canada review of the herbicides - specifically glyphosate-based herbicides sold under such trade names as Roundup, Vision and Vision Max - will be completed in 2014.
The review began in 2010 following an earlier decision by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to re-evaluate glyphosate.
Cumberland said that while industry downplays the impact, he has personally witnessed major changes during the more than two decades he has worked in the woods as a wildlife biologist.
Cumberland said the province would be well advised to return to the pre-chemical days of silviculture when people did the work.
'That's all we hear in New Brunswick - there are no jobs,' he said. 'Well my gracious if you put guys back out there with spacing saws, you can employ a pile of people… In my mind it is not rocket science.' Arsenault said such a solution would be too costly.
Cumberland and a fellow biologist, J.M. DeVink, are publishing a scientific paper on the issue.
The province conducts the annual herbicide spray program. The Department of Natural Resources did not respond to requests for comment.
On its website, the provincial department states that the spraying takes place for about 40 days from mid-August to late September.
Several provinces have moved away from the sprays. Quebec has outlawed herbicide spraying since 2001 and. Nova Scotia is no longer funding herbicide spraying of their public forest.