Forestry remains a key economic driver as Nova Scotia celebrates National Forest Week, Sept. 18-24.
“Forestry employed 11,500 Nova Scotians in direct or indirect jobs in 2015 and added $800 million to the province’s gross domestic product,” said Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines, who planted a tree today in Sir Sandford Fleming Park, Halifax. “Innovation is absolutely the key to unlocking the future potential of our forest resource and sustaining and building on the economic and environmental benefits our forests can provide.”
Government is engaged in collaborations to help ensure sustainably managed forests. Among the investments are:
–$1.67 million from the province, Emera, the government of Canada and Innovacorp for the Forestry Innovation Hub that looks at new uses for forestry resources to spur economic activity in Nova Scotia
–$400,000 for the Cape Breton Privateland Partnership, a program that promotes services such as professional, independent advice for family woodlots on Cape Breton Island including help for selecting contractors
–-$40,000 to the Forestry Lab, a platform that tests new forestry-related ideas. It focuses on innovative ways to address challenges in the forestry sector, existing and potential competitive advantages, and the long-term, productive capacity of Nova Scotia’s forests. The lab works with small private woodlot owners, saw mill operators and other sector stakeholders across the province
In addition, last year government signed an agreement to create the first community forest in Eastern Canada. Government contributed $274,000 to start the Medway Community Forest Co-operative Ltd., a 15,000-hectare forest in Annapolis County managed by local people to benefit the local economy.
“The Department of Natural Resources is being innovative in its actions, as well,” said Mr. Hines. “Forestry decisions on Crown lands are now based on ecosystem-based forest management. That means tree and plant species, wildlife habitat, and soil and terrain conditions are assessed before timber is harvested. This is a result of what Nova Scotians have told us they are looking for, science-based decision-making for our forests.”
Forest harvesters leasing Crown land must now post proposed harvest site maps online for public comment before final harvest decisions are made. Nova Scotia is a leader in this level of transparency of forestry information. The maps may be viewed at https://nsgi.novascotia.ca/hpmv/ .