Government’s changes to forest practices will increase ecological protection and biodiversity, and lead the province to a more sustainable forestry sector.
The changes follow recommendations by University of King’s College president Bill Lahey in a review of forest practices, which was submitted to government in August. Government’s response to the report was released today, Dec. 3.
Government also released new interim guidelines for tree retention for Crown land licensees that put greater focus on multi-aged management practices.
“Forestry is a longstanding economic driver in Nova Scotia and it’s important we get it right. We accept Prof. Lahey’s findings and will immediately begin work to put in place the tools to achieve ecological forestry in Nova Scotia,” said Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin. “This will result in significant changes to the way forests will be managed, including less clearcutting on Crown land.”
The department will move forward with the following priority actions:
- protect and enhance ecosystems and biodiversity as the department’s overarching forest policy priority
- implement what is known as the triad model of ecological forestry, which includes conservation areas, high-production forest areas and a combination when conservation and forestry objectives are blended
- make revisions to the Forest Management Guide to place more emphasis on ecological values in the decision-making process
- begin a peer review of the department’s approach to natural disturbance regimes to ensure alignment with ecological forestry
- increase the focus on wildlife and species at risk with a focus on health and recovery plans
- improve openness, transparency and accountability of the department’s decisions
- explore opportunities for small-scale wood energy projects to allow low-quality wood to be used in heating public buildings, such as hospitals, schools, and government offices.
“These are important changes and our immediate priority is to implement them on Crown land,” said Mr. Rankin. “Policy changes pertaining to private forest land will be considered when the implementation of Prof. Lahey’s recommendations on Crown land are more advanced.”
Government’s response to the report and the interim retention guidelines are available at https://novascotia.ca/natr/forestry/Forest_Review/