PROVINCE TO REDUCE CLEARCUTTING ON CROWN LAND
Nova Scotia will adopt sustainable forestry practices that will see reduced clearcutting on Crown land, although the province’s lands and forestry minister is unable to say yet by how much.
Iain Rankin said forest policies will be guided by ecological practices through the so-called “triad” model — some areas protected from all forestry, others dedicated to high production including clearcutting, and others harvested with a “lighter touch” and limited clearcutting.
The approach was one of the main recommendations in a report last August by University of King’s College president Bill Lahey.
“I want Nova Scotians to know that they will see changes in how we conduct forestry on public land,” Rankin said this week.
He said his department would immediately look to revise its forest management guide, which dictates the types of forestry that can be done on Crown land, over the next year.
While that’s carried out, a set of interim retention guidelines will see an immediate reduction of clearcutting on Crown land, Rankin said.
However, the minister said the government is avoiding a set target for now, while it studies the reduction numbers included in Lahey’s report.
Lahey said his recommended changes would reduce clearcutting from an estimated 65 per cent of all harvesting on Crown land to between 20 and 25 per cent.
“It’s about putting the science and ecological considerations first before you arrive at a number and not putting a political target ... and then working backwards to find the science to justify that target,” said Rankin. “It requires full analysis.”
According to federal figures, about 90 per cent of wood harvested in Nova Scotia is clear cut.
However, Lahey’s report said about 80 per cent of forest harvesting uses clearcutting — the practice is used on about 90 per cent of private lands, and about 65 per cent of Crown lands.
It said about 18 per cent of all land in Nova Scotia is owned by forestry companies.
Rankin said his department would begin work on a process to identify appropriate areas for high production forestry on Crown land.
Once those are identified, the province will allow the regulated use of herbicides, although public funds won’t be used.