PROV­INCE TO RE­DUCE CLEARCUTTING ON CROWN LAND

The News (New Glasgow) - - FRONT PAGE - BY KEITH DOUCETTE

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.

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