Nova Scotia’s new natural resources strategy has helped make the province a national leader in land conservation and sustainability.
The Path We Share is a 10-year strategy aimed at improving Nova Scotians’ stewardship of natural resources, including biodiversity, forests, parks, Crown land and geological resources.
The province launched the strategy in August 2011 with a companion document, From Strategy to Action, which lists 32 priority actions. Today, Aug. 15, Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker released an update on the province’s progress on those actions over the past 24 months.
“This strategy is a comprehensive and progressive plan that has helped put Nova Scotia on the map as a leader in the management of our natural resources,” Mr. Parker said. “Nova Scotians truly value the incredible resources they have, right here at home. We want to make sure those resources are around for generations to come, not just for personal enjoyment, but to support the forest industry of the future.”
Almost all of the 32 actions are on schedule. The timelines have been extended on four actions: reporting on the state of forests and biodiversity and improved harvest tracking and silviculture programs will be completed in the next six months. Redesigning the integrated resources management process, and evaluating the effects of implementing an annual allowable cut will take an additional 12 months.
The province has received national recognition on its progress. Organizations such as Global Forest Watch and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) have in particular praised Nova Scotia for its achievements on land protection and improvements to keep endangered forests intact.
Chris Miller, national conservation biologist for CPAWS, said: “Nova Scotia is now a leader in Canada for conservation. In a year with very little progress across the country creating new protected areas, Nova Scotia is a noteworthy standout. Good progress is being made here and the province is definitely bucking the national trend.”
Over the past 12 months, government has introduced new efforts to support the natural resources strategy, including:
— a community forests program
— annual funding of $1 million for provincial parks
— $6.3 million to purchase land to increase coastal access, protect Mi’kmaq values, enhance wildlife conservation, and help the province meet its 12 per cent land protection goal
— $500,000 to help woodlot owners in western Nova Scotia build and upgrade access roads, support silviculture treatment and increase forest fire protection–more than $600,000 invested in the province’s mineral incentive program.
“Government has always agreed with Nova Scotians that the status quo was not an option,” said Mr. Parker. “We know how important it is to get these actions done, but it is just as important that they are done right, in a way that stays true to the new vision and values we established in collaboration with Nova Scotians.”
The province will continue to measure and report regularly on the progress of the natural resources strategy.
Details of the strategy’s 32 actions and progress to date are available at novascotia.ca/natr/strategy/ .