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Great forestry practices, strong partnerships enhance recreation opportunities

Irving Woodlands is inviting ATV’ers and snowmobilers to explore more than 800 kilometres of trails and roads on its freehold land in New Brunswick this season.

Land-use agreements with QuadNB and the Snowmobile Association of New Brunswick allow members of both organizations to safely access and maintain existing trails on JDI land, fostering more opportunities for local outdoorspeople to get out and enjoy New Brunswick forests.

Interested ATV’ers and snowmobilers should check in with their respective, local club to access trail maps in their area.

Irving Woodlands Director of Corporate Relations, Robert Fawcett, says it’s thanks to generations of forest management that we’re able to meet the increasing consumer demand for forest products while at the same time ensuring land can be used for conservation and recreation.

“Good forestry practices including tree planting and responsible herbicide use mean we’re growing more wood on a smaller footprint than ever before,” Fawcett said. “Being able to respond to growing consumer demand for renewable forest products on a smaller plot of land means more can be put toward conservation and biodiversity goals and recreation opportunities.”  

Combined, these measures contribute to healthy, diverse and resilient forests, abundant wildlife populations, world class conservation and a strong economy that benefits all New Brunswickers

Our approach is implemented at the landscape level, encompassing all hectares of the forest and cascading down to the smallest unique site. These three pillars are tied together by our long-term commitment to funding research, helping us understand landscape-level impacts of forest management. We apply research outcomes to adapt our forest management strategy and operational plans to maintain our commitment to conservation and biodiversity.

Our commitment to research

Since 1990, we have invested more than $30 million in forest-based, peer reviewed research to learn more about our region’s fish, wildlife and plants, and the impacts of forest management. This research ensures we are using the best science to guide our conservation strategy across the forest and doing our utmost to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts. We are a founding partner of many wildlife and forestry research projects and have collaborated with dozens of researchers and more than 100 graduate students.

Our Forest Research Advisory Committee (FRAC) was established in 1998 to bring forest managers and researchers together. FRAC’s goals are to identify, advocate for and conduct research to address knowledge gaps. Our research partners’ work is often peer-reviewed and published. We are currently focused on landscape-level impacts on water, birds, beetles, bryophytes, moose, deer and tree diversity. Through our decades of research experience, we have been able to show a clear role for both forest management and conservation efforts to help maintain biodiversity on our managed lands.

Research highlights

Songbird habitat – Since 2016, we have partnered with researchers at Natural Resources Canada, Carleton University and the Canadian Wildlife Service to conduct an ongoing study to understand the presence and habitat preferences of songbird species in the forests in our region. The research especially focuses on the Canada Warbler and Olive-Sided Flycatchers, which are listed as a federal Species of Concern. Preliminary conclusions from this research show that the two species have flexibility in their habitat selection and that managed/working forests support abundant habitat for these songbirds. We also see the largest diversity of songbirds on our freehold forest lands compared to other, less intensively, managed adjacent lands.

Understanding climate: moose and winter tick interactions – To better understand impacts of winter ticks, climate change and predation on moose populations, we are a major sponsor of an ongoing research project in partnership with Université de Laval, Université de Montréal, the University of New Brunswick and the provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec. To date, 286 calves have been equipped with GPS collars in 5 regions to assess their movement and survival, as well as the health of moose populations. Preliminary findings suggest ticks are increasing the variability in calf survival and moose abundance.

Whitetail deer habitat in the working forest – We have partnered with six research and government groups in an ongoing study of the impacts of intensive forestry on the population of whitetail deer. This four-year project focuses on understanding habitat selection by deer related to snow depth/winter severity versus food availability, forest cover and more. By using data from collared animals we can predict whitetail deer population growth and how whitetail deer use the forest, informing appropriate areas to conserve for deer wintering.

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In addition to making 800 kilometres of trail available to ATV’ers and snowmobilers in New Brunswick, Irving Woodlands also maintains and provides free of charge public access to world-class conservation sites like the Irving Nature Park in Saint John and Dunes in Bouctouche.