Five years ago, when we first released our strategy, we committed to some actions around clearcutting, whole-tree harvesting, and other forestry practices. Those commitments were based on our best information and intentions at the time. But times have changed. We’ve learned more. We now have a better understanding of what it means to take an ecosystem-based, landscape-scale approach to land management.
In the strategy, for example, we committed to reducing clearcutting to no more than 50 per cent and to revisit the annual allowable cut (AAC). We understand now that the decision to clearcut (or not) has to be made in a larger context. In some areas, clearcutting will not have an impact on the total health of the forest — it may even improve it. In others, clearcutting could have a negative impact. We have now developed tools that ensure that all harvest treatments are aligned with the nature-based requirements of Nova Scotia’s lands.
The Dexter NDP Government’s approach to the clearcutting issue was to (i) move the DNR Minister who supported a real reduction in clearcutting to another portfolio (early 2011), and then (ii) in 2012 to define a clearcut in a way that the province actually met the goal of reducing clearcutting to 50% of all cuts (from over 90%) instantaneously but without any real change.
The current Liberal government hired a former Bowater manager as executive director of the NSDNR’s renewable resources branch (2014)… and now we have the claim that “all harvest treatments are aligned with the nature-based requirements of Nova Scotia’s lands.”
Please tell the wildlife! Oh, and I look forward to publications by DNR scientific staff in peer reviewed scientific journals that document this remarkable achievement.