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St. John River: Fir Trade

Forests are vital to New Brunswick's economy

More on the St. John River:
St. John River:
The Good and the Bountiful

Cargo of Misery:
Disease and death stalk desperate newcomers

Company Town:
Boss Gibson's Marysville

Natural delicacy of the river valley

Fir Trade:
Forests are vital to New Brunswick's economy

Fries to Go:
Fast food for the world

Home Children:
Tragic chapter in our immigration history

Big Noise:
Foghorn is invented for Partridge Island

Return Flight:
Bald eagles recover old nesting sites

The Sand and the Fury:
The complex ecology of the Fundy tides

Starting Over:
Loyalists seek refuge from revolution

Vive la République !:
The unique cultural mélange of Madawaska

The Acadian Forest has always been a sustaining force of economic life in New Brunswick. Only 15 percent of the province is unforested. But very little of the forest is original growth. Most of it has been logged at one time or another.

Only the tallest, straightest white pines were used for the masts of the sailing ships built along the Saint John river in the 18th and 19th centuries. Today the forest provides products ranging from hardwood floors, fine furniture and high quality paper to maple syrup products and Christmas trees. Nearly 12,000 New Brunswickers are employed in forest-related industries.

New Brunswick forests have 32 native species of trees. Softwoods, used for construction and papermaking, include white pine, spruce, fir and cedar. Hardwood species, used for furniture and flooring, include birch, maple, oak, and butternut.

With the decline in the shipbuilding industry and the timber trade towards the end of the 19th century, the focus of the forest industry gradually shifted from the production of lumber to the production of pulp and paper. The rise of pulp and paper mills also spurred the development of hydroelectricity.

Most pulp and paper mills export their products to the United States and other countries. Efforts are being made by laboratory scientists in the pulp and paper industry to reduce pollution almost completely and to use forest resources more efficiently. Wood chips, second-grade lumber, and other wood by-products from sawmills now provide much of the fibre that is used to make pulp and paper.

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