Nova Scotia Introduces “High Production Forestry” Scheme

In response to recommendations outlined the “An Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia” report, the province has released in its “High Production Forestry Phase II Guidance for Implementation.”

According to the document’s introduction, the Province of Nova Scotia is embarking on a new vision for forest management on Crown lands. This vision focuses on a paradigm shift for sustainable forest management, with an emphasis on using nature as the building block for decisions about the maintenance of all values associated with the forest. These values include biodiversity, forest products like timber, ecological services, and cultural values like recreation.

The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables is implementing this new vision which stems from “An Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia” (Lahey, 2018). This two-year, in-depth review of forestry practices, that included consultation with stakeholders and the general public, provided recommendations for transforming Nova Scotia’s forest management approach on Crown land. It sets the foundation for ecological forestry through implementation of a triad zoning model on Crown land that’s managed under the Crown Lands Act and other public land under protected areas legislation.

One zone of the triad model is the high production forest zone where timber production is the priority to support the forest products sector and provincial economy. This document reviews steps taken to develop government’s approach to this zone and outlines key directions for implementation, effective January 17, 2023.

A map released with today’s announcement provides locations where clear cutting may allowed on Crown land. The initial parcels of Crown land where the province may permit clear cutting total 9,395 hectares. Over time, the government aims to turn 10 percent of Crown land—or 185,000 hectares—into what it calls high-production forestry. They include areas found throughout Guysborough, Antigonish, Colchester, Pictou, Lunenburg, Queens, Annapolis, and Kings counties, but other locations will be identified in the future.

Before harvesting and future planting can be carried out, the identified parcels must be assessed by licensed harvesters to ensure they are suitable for high-production forestry. Licensees must then submit a proposal to the Department of Natural Resources, and the public will be given an opportunity to provide input.

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