Nova Scotia Journal

Saturday, December 2, 2023

Landmark report logging in Nova Scotia forests as usual

Landmark report logging in Nova Scotia

Key Takeaways:

  • A 2018 report by William Lahey was supposed to serve as a sustainability roadmap for Nova Scotia’s forestry industry.
  • However, the author says clear-cut logging and sub-par forestry practices are still prevalent three years later.

The province commissioned Lahey, president of the University of King’s College in Halifax, to evaluate the forestry industry and make recommendations. However, Lahey’s assessment of what has been accomplished thus far this week shows little progress.

Despite “good faith” planning at the government level, Lahey told Canada’s National Observer that nothing has changed on the ground. However, five of the 45 recommendations in the original document, known as the Lahey Report, have been implemented.

The licensing of Crown land to the Mi’kmaq Forestry Initiative and goals for implementing an ecological forestry model in a new piece of provincial legislation, the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act (EGCCRA), which was passed in October, are examples of recommendations that have been implemented.

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In his initial report, Lahey advocates for dividing existing Crown land into a triad forestry model, which divides forests into three sections: production forest, protection forest, and “the ecological matrix.”

Some forests would be completely protected from logging, while others would be logged at varying rates depending on age and other factors. Forests with a mix of protection and logging would fall into the “matrix” category.

Nova Scotia's forestry industry
Nova Scotia’s forestry industry

“Under this approach, regulating forestry with ecological well-being entails categorizing forests as either predominantly for conserving ecological integrity. Predominantly for producing timber, or for a balanced combination of conservation and production objectives, all with the overall goal of aligning forestry with ecological protection,” the initial report stated.

Even though the triad is included in the EGCCRA, it is not being practiced on the ground, which is an essential suggestion from the original document.

“It is especially concerning that non-ecological forestry continues to be practiced on Crown lands that will be widely reserved for ecological forestry once the triad is finally implemented on Crown land,” according to a section of the 2021 evaluation.

The most important recommendation from the 2018 report, he said, was to replace clear-cutting with ecological forestry practices on a “substantial majority of Crown land that is not managed exclusively for conservation or intensive forestry.”

Source: National Observer News

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