The Nova Scotia government has announced six strategic directions that will be the basis for the province's future forestry policy. The new rules will reduce clearcutting, prohibit whole tree harvesting, and ensure commercial buyers of biomass are subject to the same rule as the forest industry. "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," said 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. The strategic policy directions are: - Reduce the proportion of wood harvested by clear cutting to no more than 50 per cent 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. - 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. - Analyze options for a provincewide annual allowable cut to limit total harvested amounts. - Public funds will not go toward herbicide spraying for forestry. - Private land owners will not need management plans to harvest their woodlots for non-commercial energy use. The Department of Natural Resources is in the final phase of writing a natural resources strategy. The forest policy framework and more information is available at gov.ns.ca/natr .
"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 non-government environmental organizations for input on how we're going to achieve the strategic directions," said MacDonell.