In writing and preparing for this update for May, I realize how much life in the forestry sector has changed over the last two months, and how essential forestry is to Atlantic Canada – with ROYALE® toilet paper made right here in Dieppe, New Brunswick and personal protective equipment now in high demand using pulp for hospital gowns.

However, the forest industry moves on and the value of the resource increases as crews are back in the woods thinning and selection harvesting. Mills are opening and wood is starting to move again as construction begins. We are grateful that the forestry sector, one of New Brunswick’s most important economic generators, is being used at a time when many other sectors are on hold. The value of trees is increasing, and the talk of local buying power is on the rise.

Urban forestry across our region has seen similar outcomes due to COVID -19 with reduced staff onsite and with staggered shifts to lessen the numbers in buildings at any one time. No summer students will be hired this year to help with the planting and maintenance programs. Halifax, in particular, is still working through the backlog from the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian last year. Planting seasons are running late across the region due to late openings of nurseries. Planting events with large corporate groups this season are all on hold, with a possibility to plant this fall or wait until next spring. There are many unknowns at this time as each province has different rules.

And yet, we are seeing things turn around in urban forestry as well. Tree maintenance is increasing in city parks, focusing on cleaning up trails. Chipping wood is happening onsite as there is an increased pressure to keep parks open and safe. TreeAzin application will resume in Fredericton, New Brunswick this summer on approximately 80 trees. Increased trapping of green prism sticky traps is happening in larger municipalities across the region this summer and fall as cities manage and budget for emerald ash borer. This fall, from November 23-25, at the Zatzman Sportsplex in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Landscape Nova Scotia will host the next HortEast conference. Stay tuned for updates.

As we work through this pandemic, municipalities across the Atlantic region are back to work at a reduced capacity but tree work is getting done, as we all try to find our new normal. Stay safe everyone and get outside – there is more to the forest than just the trees.