The development of the UNB Woodlot is intolerable in today’s knowledge of the conservation importance of such natural gems.
The UNB Woodlot is one of the most unique treasures found in Fredericton. How many cities can boast a wild area of its size in its city limits? Vancouver’s Stanley Park is much celebrated but sadly the UNB Woodlot does not garner the same respect and protection.
The UNB Woodlot is over 3,500 acres of wild woods home to herons, blue bead lilies and lady slippers, old-growth red spruce stands, mature forest and wetlands.
The expansion of big box stores and housing developments into forest and wetlands deprives wildlife of their habitat and threatens biodiversity. Today, a primary threat to forest and wetlands that remain near Canada’s cities is urban sprawl.
We encourage the city of Fredericton to join other cities such as Edmonton that are taking measures to halt biodiversity loss. There are a number of species of conservation concern in the UNB Woodlot like the dragonfly and the Great Blue Heron. There are a number of sensitive areas like Corbett Caves and Larch Swale. Two thirds of the world’s ecosystems are in trouble and the threats on Fredericton’s ecosystems are part of this global problem.
The forest and wetlands in the UNB Woodlot provide ecosystem goods and services to the residents of Fredericton at no cost. These services include erosion control and sediment retention, recreation, air regulation (including cleaning and filtering), climate regulation, water supply, and soil formation. To replace these functions with other man-made structures after failing to protect a perfectly natural (and free) design would be costly. Lessons should be learned from cities across Canada that are now footing huge bills to restore natural areas and wetlands because of past unwise development.
We feel there has been inadequate public engagement on the proposed developments in the UNB Woodlot. We call on the city just as we call on UNB and the provincial government to engage the community, including conservation groups, forest and wetland ecologists, users of the Woodlot and First Nations on any future proposals for the UNB Woodlot. The UNB Woodlot is after all located on traditional Woolastook territory, never ceded to the British Crown or Canada in the way of a treaty or land claims agreement.