Why clear cutting forests could be a thing of the past on Nova Scotia’s Crown land

Why clear cutting forests could be a thing of the past on Nova Scotia’s Crown land

Report calls for big changes to forestry management in Canada’s Ocean Playground

The Nova Scotia government is promising big changes to the way the province’s forest is managed. The promises come in response to a report reviewing forestry practices, written by University of King’s College president and vice-chancellor William Lahey. In his report, Lahey called on the province to try something new―ecological forestry.

According to Lahey, ecological forestry is not anti-forestry. “It seeks to combine the imperative of protecting ecological systems and biodiversity with the social importance of sustaining a productive and profitable forestry industry,” Lahey writes in his report.

In order to achieve the goal of ecological well-being that supports a thriving forestry economy, the report says there must be a combination of forests protected from all forestry activity, forests dedicated to high production forestry and management of the rest of the forest contributing to both ecological conservation and a commercial forestry. “In general, this means forestry with a lighter touch and limited clearcutting,” Lahey writes.

The scholar criticized the province for not doing enough to deliberately manage Nova Scotia forests within this model. In late December 2018 the government established priorities to achieve ecological forestry. In its response to Lahey’s document, the government says there will be less clear cutting on Crown land, and it will work with private land owner organizations to adopt the report’s recommendations.

If the report recommendations are put in place, Lahey estimates it would reduce the wood taken from Crown land by 10-20 per cent. Lahey admits this will impact an industry that contributed approximately 4,400 jobs and $615.7 million in exports for Nova Scotia in 2017. “This will cause a significant challenge for industry to which there are no easy solutions,” Lahey writes. “These recommendations will … create supply complications for mills and other buyers.”

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