Procedure for approving harvests on Nova Scotia Crown lands now outlined on the HPMV

mapviewerThe covering web page for the Harvest Plan Map Viewer (HPMV) has been modified recently, and now outlines the overall process for approving harvests on Crown land.

It involves four steps:

Step 1. The Crown land Licensee develops proposed harvest areas and prescriptions based on Pre-Treatment Assessment (PTA) and the Forest Management Guides (FMG), subject to all requirements for operating on Crown lands.
Step 2. Department of Natural Resources (DNR) resource management professionals review every proposed harvest plan as part of the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) review process and determine if the plan is appropriate and meets all requirements for operating on Crown lands.
Step 3. Each proposed harvest area on Crown land is posted on the Harvest Plan Map Viewer (HPMV), an interactive web viewer, that enables the public to view and comment on harvest plans.
Step 4. Crown Land Licensees are notified if the proposed harvest plans are approved or if changes are required following the public comment period and an evaluation by DNR senior management.

More details are given for each step. View Harvest Operation Maps

This is a welcome clarification of the procedures.

Earlier Linda Pannozzo had sought clarification of the procedures for selecting sites to be harvested in connection with her investigation of cuts proposed in an area of occurrence of the endangered boreal felt lichen (view article in Halifax Examiner, March 10, 2017). She asked NSDNR “what kind of vetting process do companies have to go through to end up on the Harvest Plans Map Viewer and eventually approved?” She received an outline from Bruce Nunn (NSDNR) entailing 9 steps; these are compressed into four steps on the HPMV page. It had not been broadly understood previously that, as Pannozzo realized after getting the reply from NSDNR, “forest companies (licensees) post the [proposed] harvest blocks, not the DNR, and the companies are permitted to post the plans while the IRM review is taking place.”

One change in the procedure that was introduced earlier on a temporary basis and now is apparently permanent: the comment period is 40 days (versus 20 days earlier).

All of which are improvements in transparency and in engagement of Nova Scotians in decisions relating to harvests on Crown lands.

Some further refinements that would be welcome:
– retain previously approved harvests (they had been for a while but a decision was made not to do so – view post Aug 2, 2017; they could be on a separate layer);
– provide access via the web to the current and past lists of proposed harvests that are sent out on request;
– include wildlife layers as available now on the Provincial Landscape Viewer
– include a layer with historical harvests on Crown, industrial and private lands;
– provide links to the IRM assessments.

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