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Nova Scotia proposes forestry, biomass policy

Dec. 2, 2010, Halifax – Changes to the way Nova Scotia's forests are managed were announced on December 1, 2010, as six strategic directions that will be the basis for future forestry policy.


December 2, 2010
By NS Department of Natural Resources

Dec. 2, 2010, Halifax – Changes to the way
Nova Scotia's forests are managed will better protect them, secure good jobs,
and ensure that the province's forest industry remains competitive. The changes
were announced on December 1, 2010, as six strategic directions that will be
the basis for future forestry policy.

"We are charting a new course that enables Nova Scotians to make a good
living from our natural resources while ensuring future generations can enjoy
similar benefits," says Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell.
"These strategic directions will bring positive changes to our forests and
guide the forest industry to managing them sustainably."

The Mi'kmaq and key stakeholders will be invited to provide input before the
policies are finalized. Rules and guidelines to support these directions will
become part of the next steps in the strategy process.

"Now that we've explained what we're going to do, we will be meeting with
the Mi'kmaq, small woodlot owner representatives, the large mills, and
nongovernment environmental organizations for input on how we're going to
achieve the strategic directions," says MacDonell. "We also have an
agreed to consultation process with the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia and we will be
using that to consult with them."

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Rex Veinot, a small private woodlot owner in Maplewood, Lunenburg County, and
two-time winner of the Woodlot Owner of the Year award, welcomed the new
strategic directions. "Small woodlot owners who want to practice
sustainable forest management will welcome these changes," he says.
"Many small woodlot colleagues practice uneven-aged management while
recognizing that clear-cutting is necessary in some stands, but not at the rate
that has occurred in the past."

The strategic policy directions are:

  • Reduce the proportion of wood harvested by clear-cutting to no more than 50% of
    all forest harvests over a five-year period. Commercial harvests will be
    registered with the Department of Natural Resources, and progress will be
    reported annually;
  • Prohibit removing whole trees from the forest site to maintain woody debris,
    which is important for soil and biodiversity management and is consistent with
    the province's Renewable Electricity Plan. Christmas tree harvesting will be
    exempt;
  • Public funds will not go towards herbicide spraying for forestry;
  • Private landowners will not need management plans to harvest their woodlots for
    noncommercial energy use;
  • Analyze options for a province-wide annual allowable cut to limit total
    harvested amounts;
  • Incorporate forest biomass harvest requirements in the Code of Forest Practice
    and, as stated in the Renewable Electricity Plan, revise regulations to ensure
    commercial users of biomass for energy or fuel production are registered buyers
    and subject to the same rules as the forest industry.

The Department of Natural Resources is in the final phase of writing the
natural resources strategy. The forest policy framework and more information
are available at gov.ns.ca/natr.


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