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N.S. forestry innovation trust funds three new projects


December 22, 2020
By P&PC Staff

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Nova Scotia’s forestry transition team has approved the first three projects to benefit from the province’s $50-million innovation fund, established after the closure of Northern Pulp.

The members of the Forestry Innovation Transition Trust – Sandra McKenzie (chair), Douglas Hall and David Saxton – made the announcement Dec. 21.

Innovation voucher program

Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is receiving a one-year commitment of funding, for a potentially multi-year project of up to $2 million, to administer a new voucher program.

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NSCC’s Forestry Innovation Voucher Program will enable established businesses, new startups, non-profit community groups and Mi’kmaq partners to leverage the college’s infrastructure, assets and expertise in the forestry sector to develop new products and technology as well as capitalize on business growth opportunities.

Innovation vouchers will be available in two options: applicants can receive up to $25,000 for 6-month projects or obtain up to $50,000 for one year.

Support available through the program includes access to NSCC’s demonstration woodlands for product testing and study, as well as access to services such as prototyping, design, test validation and business model planning.

The project will be evaluated for future funding based on the initial year’s results.

Opportunties for Mi’kmaq foresters

The Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq will receive $288,596 to support the Mi’kmaw Forestry Initiative announced in March 2019, which is intended to create opportunities for jobs, training and creation of Mi’kmaq businesses in silviculture and harvesting.

The initiative provides the Mi’kmaq with forest planning and management responsibility on two blocks of Crown land – one in the St. Croix area of Hants County, and another in Digby and Annapolis counties – totalling about 20,000 hectares.

Funding will support the hiring of a forestry cultural liaison to engage with the eight mainland Mi’kmaq communities and demonstrate their values, perspectives and practices around sustainable forest management, and ecological conservation and restoration to both Mi’kmaq and non-Mi’kmaq communities.

Supporting sustainable practices

The trust also announced an initiative to sponsor a facilitated session for sector organizations wishing to support sustainable forestry practices in Nova Scotia.

The trustees received several applications proposing projects aimed at assisting private woodlot owners to adopt and maintain sustainable resource management practices. The process will support the development of a coordinated initiative.

What’s next for the trust

Three other projects have been approved in principle and will be announced early in the new year after funding agreements are finalized.

Ten applications from the first call for proposals were declined because the projects did not meet the objectives of the trust.

A total of 12 applications were received during the second intake, which closed Nov. 30, and are being assessed. The trust will issue three uptakes in 2021-22.

Funding will be available until Mar. 31, 2025, or when the funds have been spent.