NEW BRUNSWICK - The provincial New Brunswick government will double protected land in the province, going from 4.6 percent to 10 percent protected by 2021.
Made last week, the decision has led to some polarization, with conservation groups and environmentalists in support and a skeptical forestry industry.
Mike Holland, Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Development, told CBC News that there's no deal with industry to offset the conservation plan with any other kind of incentive.
"This is a conservation announcement," he said. "It was meant to enhance, improve, and increase the conservation footprint of the province of New Brunswick."
Under the new direction, certain previously clear-cut forests could turn protected and allowed to regrow into natural forests.
Holland told CBC that the government received public pushback after a 2014 deal was more heavily weighted toward industry. He said that deal gave companies like J.D. Irving, who lobbied hard for it, access to 20 percent more land for logging. That deal lacked a conservation focus.
Holland will decide which specific land to conserve with the help of conservation groups, First Nations, and the forest products industry.
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