We are facing many uncertainties as we work together to navigate the unknowns of a global pandemic. But one thing we do know for sure: protecting our forests both now and for the future is more important than ever before.

Despite both similar and different challenges, jurisdictions in Atlantic Canada have a long history of innovation and success which has been built around our access to an abundance of forests. Our natural resources and our forests will continue to play a vital role in how we turn this next corner and begin to rebuild our provinces, our livelihoods, and our economy.

The Government of Canada advises that manufacturing and forestry are essential to ensuring the health, safety, and economic well-being of Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the raw materials we rely on to make everything from personal protective equipment (PPE) to food packaging come from the forest sector.

The Healthy Forest Partnership will continue to deliver our 2020 research programs and activities to protect our forests and prevent a spruce budworm outbreak. All planned research and treatment activities will continue as planned with adaptations to adhere to COVID-19 public health guidelines to ensure the safety of our researchers, technicians, and communities.

While spruce budworm populations and tree damage remain low in Atlantic Canada, the risk of an outbreak remains high due to the continuing epidemic in Quebec and risk of moth migration into Atlantic Canada. We’re cautiously optimistic our Early Intervention Strategy is helping to prevent an outbreak in Atlantic Canada, but we must remain diligent to ensure there is no spread.

For centuries, we’ve relied on our forest for recreation, our livelihoods, and our way of life. Our forests are integral to the success of our region, which is why we must keep them healthy. The Healthy Forest Partnership will continue to work hard to make this happen, as Atlantic Canada recovers from the COVID-19 crisis.