Irregular Shelterwood harvests still largely experimental on Crown lands 2+ years post Lahey Report 26Nov2020

From R. Seymour, Section 2.4 Ecologically Based Multi-Aged Silviculture in the Acadian Forest, in Research Addendum to A Natural Balance: Working Toward Nova Scotia’s Natural Resources Strategy 2010

UPDATE Nov 30, 2020:
In spite of the very limited practice of Irregular Shelterwood silviculture on Crown lands to date, Iain Rankin says “the new Forest Management Guide will result in the most substantive stand level changes in the matrix forest, and the work of the project team (with co-author Bob Seymour) has been very thorough. The Guide should be ready for implementation, in the next calendar year, after the public consultation period ends. It will shift the vast majority of prescriptions away from the single-aged clearcutting approach, to irregular shelterwood.”

Why am I skeptical that will happen any time soon? Well perhaps it will, but only after L&F/Big Forestry have staked out their High Production Forestry sites on the best remaining Crown forest so there is no slowdown in the clearcutting.
Original Post
Irregular Shelterwood silviculture figured prominently in the the Lahey Report as practices that should be adopted in NS (also in the 2010 Natural Resources Strategy).

Yet 2+ years after the Lahey Report was submitted, this prescription remains a minor and not-reported-component of harvests on Crown land forests.

I sent the following question to Forestry Maps on Oct 16, 2020

On the HPMV, Irregular Shelterwoods, called for in the Lahey Review, are not shown as a category.

Are any of the ‘Shelterwoods’ shown in recent postings Irregular Shelterwoods?

Can you give me some examples?


I received the reply  today (Nov 26, 2020)

No, Irregular shelterwoods as a category is not shown on the Harvest Plans Map Viewer currently as the prescription is part of the draft Silviculture Guide for the Ecological Matrix, which has not yet been approved by the department for implementation.

However, the HPMV does include a prescription category named Partial Harvest/Other which allows for prescriptions that range between 30% to 60% retention.

These prescriptions allows for licensees, in conjunction with department staff, to conduct research projects to test prescriptions that could be considered Irregular Shelterwoods.

Thank you for your interest in our natural resources.

For the last 6 notices, no harvests are listed as Partial Harvest/Other:

Date of Notice Total Area of approved harvests (hectares) Area of Partial Harvest/Other
Nov 16, 2020 1154 0
Nov 5, 2016 1079 0
Oct 26, 2020 239 0
Oct 14, 2020 41 0
Oct 5, 2020 1191 0
Sep 25 1337 0


UPDATE, Nov 27, 2020. ‘Just contacted by Shelly Hipson; she had just tabulated harvests  & “from January 1, 2019 to October 5th, 2020. In that timeframe, only 124.6 hectares out of a total of 24,871.22 hectares were partial harvests. If my math is right, that is 0.5%….not even 1%.”

The math looks pretty good. I guess that is a step up from zero.

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