Upcoming MCFC webinars should shed some light on L&F responses to Lahey recommendations 14June2020

Some text added & editing June 15 am, 2020

A lot is expected from application of an Environmental Assessment process to Crown land forestry operations in Nova Scotia

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We are not hearing much from L&F these days, except for the routine announcements of new Crown land logging allocations.

Those announcements continue pretty much on the old model while we wait, seemingly forever, for the detailed L&F response to and the actual on-the-ground application of the Lahey recommendations.

A bit of a sleeper in the various news about the Lahey Recommendations is the concept or plan to apply a “a Class II environmental assessment – or a process akin to that kind of environmental assessment” to forestry operations on Crown lands; also, the concept or plan to apply “the overall responsibility for forest management on some Crown lands… to an incorporated entity that is inclusive of multiple constituencies, including First Nations, forestry companies, landowners, municipalities, park and wilderness area administrators, and those defined as environmentalists.”

A Medway Community Forest Co-op webinar coming up on Tuesday June 16, 2020 will shed some light on the former:

Forestry Professional’s Series: The Why and How of Environmental Assessment of Forest Management on Public Land
Tuesday, June 16, 2020 2:00 PM 3:00 PM
Our first speaker in the Forestry Professional’s Series is Dr. Peter Duinker where he’ll talk on Environmental Assessment and its application in forestry.
To register contact Heba Jarrar at: heba@medwaycommunityforest.com

For some background on the topic and how it is seen to be applicable to NS Crown land forestry, go to the Lahey Report and do a Search (Find) for “Environmental Assessment” (20 items); some extracts are appended below. It is expected that a lot will be accomplished by application of an EA process to Crown land forestry operations.

Prof. Duinker, recently retired from the School of Resource and Environmental Studies at Dalhousie, was a member of the panel of Expert Advisors to the Independent (Lahey) Review and clearly had some influence on recommendations related to the EAs. (He is also the one Expert involved in the L&F Ecological Forestry OLD FOREST Project.)

Also view: Addendum Ch 18 Environmental Assessment of Forest Management (by Peter Duinker), and the L&F Ecological Forestry Project Environmental Assessment. The Project Team Lead  is Tom Soehl, Director, Aboriginal Policy, Lands and Forestry (L&F) with “Experts Involved – To be determined (Request for Proposals to develop a 20-Year Forest Stewardship Planning Guide underway)”. Tom Soehl also served as the DNR secretary/liaison to the Independent Review. From the EA Project outline:

Key Deliverables
• Proposed Regulatory Framework
• Guide for Preparation of 20-Year Forest Stewardship Plans (these plans would form the basis of the submission for the environmental assessment process)
Expected Areas of Stakeholder and/or Public Participation (may not be limited to)
• 20-Year Forest Stewardship Planning Guide
• Work on identifying regulatory options is underway.
• Winter 2020: RFP issued in January to hire a consultant to develop a guide for the preparation of 20- year forest stewardship plans
• Spring/Summer 2020: Stakeholder consultations
• Fall/Winter 2020: Target project completion

On the “incorporated entity” topic, see Conclusions 135-140 (p. 51 ff) in the Lahey Report. As originally advertised, the second webinar in the Forest Professional Series was to be on “The Practical Application of Multi-use for Sustainable Forest Management at Haliburton Forest, presented by Malcolm Cockwell, managing Director of the Haliburton Forest in Ontario, I gather as an example of an Incorporated Entity that would manage forestry on Crown Lands. That presentation was apparently cancelled, or perhaps will be offered later.

In its place, MTRI is offering “Irregular Shelterwood Silviculture in the Acadian Forest – Overview and Application to Nova Scotia” presented by Bob Seymour (Univ. of Maine) on June 30th. This is especially relevant to the Ecological Forestry Matrix of the Triad, and Bob Seymour is unquestionably the expert, as well as being involved in the whole Independent Review process. View this page on NSFN for some  info. on Irregular Shelterwood.

I attended the first presentation in the Intro to the Forest Series – “Introduction to Ecological Forestry” by Mary Jane Rodger – held June 9, 2020. (View archive) It was very well done, and I am looking forward to the two above, as well as to the second in the Intro to the Forest Series: “Forest Plants: Identification and Species of Interest to Forest Stewards” by Alain Belliveau on June 23, 2020.

View Medway Community Forest Co-op Events for more details.


On EAs, From the Lahey Report, Conclusions (bolding inserted)

77. The rationale for requiring  FULA holders to complete a legislatively mandated forest management plan through a Class II environmental assessment – or a process akin to that kind of environmental assessment – is multi-faceted. It is explained in greater detail in the paper on environmental assessment and forestry by Professor Peter Duinker, found in the Addendum to this report. Such a process will fill a gap in the management system for forestry on Crown land with a process like the one followed in some other provinces. It will ensure that the public has an opportunity to have input at a level and scale where the decisions are made that will guide many harvesting decisions over a wide landscape and over multiple years. It will bring important elements of independence, transparency, and participation to a process that is now seen to be compromised by the double mandate of DNR, the self interest of forestry companies, and a high level of opaqueness. Further, it will help to ensure that ecological forestry principles, concepts, and methods are incorporated into the plans that guide licensees in their harvesting planning and activities and in their operational decision making at the stand level.

78. A legislated forestry management process conducted as a Class II environmental assessment – or in a comparable process under an independent third party (or panel) – has the potential to accomplish a range of objectives:
a. It will bring transparency to the management of Crown land for forestry production and provide the public with a meaningful opportunity to contribute to Crown land management at a strategic level of decision making.
b. It will help to ensure that forestry is conducted on Crown lands in ways that are compatible with the full range of values applicable to the management of public lands, with the activities of other users of Crown lands, and with activities taking place on neighbouring lands.
c. It will help to embed the principles and values of ecosystem based forestry (or of ecological forestry) into the plans that will then inform operational planning and harvesting decisions.
d. It will bring a significant measure of institutional independence from DNR to the planning of forestry on Crown land.
e. It will create opportunities for stronger and continuing relationships between operators and their stakeholders and mechanisms for ongoing dialogue with those stakeholders through the process of a plan’s ongoing implementation.
f. It will facilitate and enable customized application of the principles of ecosystem based forestry to account for relevant regional differences.
g. If done properly, with openness and transparency and based on strong science, it will reduce the pressure for intense scrutiny by DNR or the public of individualized harvesting decisions.

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