Nova Scotia finally defines clearcutting
The province of Nova Scotia has a goal of reducing clearcutting to no more than 50% of the total tree harvest in the province by 2016.
However, that goal proved to be difficult to implement without a technical definition of clearcutting.
After much consultation, in Nova Scotia, a clearcut is now defined as a forest harvest where less than 60% of the area is sufficiently occupied with trees taller than 1.3 meters.
“The work to implement this important strategy is going very well. It will mean better and more sustainable management of our natural resources — parks, geological resources, forests and biodiversity,” said Charlie Parker, Minister of Natural Resources. “The strategy is improving management of Nova Scotia’s forests and woodlots and will make it easier for prospectors and exploration companies to make new discoveries.”
To help meet strategy goals, the province has announced more than $8 million so far, to help woodlot owners’ operations be more sustainable, provided training to more than 120 woodlot contractors and employees, and launched a mineral incentive program to expand exploration and mine development.
As planned, 18 specific actions were started within the first 12 months of the 10 year strategy. Other actions have timelines starting after the strategy’s first year, including developing rules related to whole-tree harvesting and biomass use. The completion dates for those two actions have been extended to redirect resources to urgent challenges facing the pulp and paper sector. Details of the strategy’s 32 actions and the new clear cutting definition, as well as progress to date, are at http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr .
“It is good to see this progress being made in the first year of the strategy because it represents a great deal of input from Nova Scotians, key interested groups, experts and government staff,” said retired Justice Connie Glube, former member of the steering panel for Nova Scotia’s natural resources strategy development.
The strategy is focused on biodiversity, forests, geological resources and provincial parks. In the past year, government has made several commitments to support each of those efforts, including:
- helping design measures to assess wind energy projects that consider ways to increase protection of biodiversity, such as migratory birds and moose
- launching a province wide consultation on making to make the provincial parks system more sustainable
- announcing a mineral incentive funding program to help enhance and promote mineral exploration and development
- distributing funding to support silviculture treatments and road access at small woodlots
“It is good to see government moving forward, in spite of delays caused by the pulp and paper industry downturn. There has been real progress towards achieving the goals and objectives laid out in the natural resources strategy,” said Andrew Fedora, executive director of the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
The Nova Scotia Government said it will continue to measure and report on implementing the province’s natural resources strategy.