Forest Management Guide

The Final Document:
Nova Scotia Silvicultural Guide for the Ecological Matrix
L&F, July 2021


-From the initial   June 25, 2019 document describing the Project:

Project Objective
To review and update the current Pre-treatment Assessment (PTA) Process and the Forest Management Guide (FMG) to focus on long-lived, uneven-aged management species in support of the conservation and sustainable use of Nova Scotia’s natural resources

Next Steps and Timelines
• Summer 2019: Select team members, including experts have, or will visit Maine, Quebec, and Western Nova Scotia to explore shelterwood and retention levels; Prepare an initial draft of the revised FMG/PTA process for targeted stakeholder input
• Fall 2019: Broader stakeholder engagement on draft FMG (including targeted stakeholder input)
• End of 2019: Finalize the revised FMG that includes stakeholder input

There was a stakeholder consultation in Aug of 2019 (I participated as a rep of the Healthy Forest Coalition).

There was a 2nd stakeholder consultation  in early 2020.

Silviculture guide to ecological forestry [electronic resource] : consultation companion document.
Halifax, N.S. : Dept. of Lands and Forestry, Feb 18, 2020. 7 pages. File name: b10724400.pdf.  

This is the First full Draft, Dec 16 2020

Nova Scotia silvicultural guide for the ecological matrix
Halifax, N.S. : Dept. of Lands and Forestry, 2020. :Draft-revised December 16, 2020” 184 pages. File name: Draft-SGEM-Jan-2021.pdf

A summary of Feedback from Targeted Stakeholders from both Aug 2019 and early 2020

Forest management guide and pretreatment assessment review and revision [electronic resource] : summary of feedback from targeted stakeholders. Halifax, N.S. : Dept. of Lands and Forestry, 2020.December 2020“. 14 pages. Filename b10724412. pdf

Public Consultation
On January 20, 2021, L&F announced:  Draft Forest Management Guide Open for Public Consultation, more details were made available on a web page Forest Management Guide: public consultation From the latter (as accessed on Jan 21, 2021, since modified to reflect subsequent progress)

Nova Scotians are invited to provide their feedback on the new Forest Management Guide, which outlines the silviculture prescriptions and timber harvest methods allowed on Crown land. You can submit your feedback by 19 February 2021.

Under How to Participate

Read the draft guide: Silvicultural Guide for the Ecological Matrix.
Email your comments to
Anyone can share their feedback on the draft guide. The deadline for submissions is 19 February 2021.

A final Guide was released in July 2021

Nova Scotia Silvicultural Guide for the Ecological Matrix
L&F, July 2021. 193 pages

Dr. Laura Kennefic’s role

Dr.Kennefic is a well published Research Forester and Team Leader with the U.S. Forest Service. She is located at Bradley, Maine.View her Profile

From William Lahey’s Independent Evaluation…(Nov 2021)

Evaluation of the Department’s development of a new Forest Management Guide, now called the Silvicultural Guide for the Ecological Matrix (SGEM), for the part of Crown land that will be dedicated to ecological forestry began in February 2020. I said in the FPR, and immediately after its release, that the recommendation to significantly revise the Guide was my most important recommendation. Dr. Laura Kenefic was added to the evaluation team to ensure that the team had the capacity and expertise needed to rigorously evaluate the Department’s work on this recommendation.

The original idea was to have Dr. Kenefic evaluate the SGEM after it was finalized by the Department. We altered this when the Department put a draft of the new SGEM out for consultation. It seemed a missed opportunity to hold Dr. Kenefic in reserve until the SGEM was finalized, so, in February 2020, I asked her to review the draft so the Department could consider her review along with the feedback received from everyone else. Dr. Kenefic’s review of the draft SGEM is Attachment C of this report.

Dr. Kenefic’s review was submitted to the Department on March 27, 2020. In response, the draft SGEM was extensively modified. The revised SGEM was released for further public consultations on January 20, 2021. Dr Kenefic’s review of the original draft was shared with Minister’s Advisory Committee (MAC) on January 12, 2021.

On April 12, 2021, I asked Dr. Kenefic to review material that had been added to the SGEM following the public consultations that started on January 20, 2021. This further review by Dr. Kenefic was submitted to the Department on May 4, 2021. It is Attachment D to this report.


Dr Kennefic’s Reviews

(i) Nova Scotia Silvicultural Guide for the Ecological Matrix: A scientific review, submitted to William Lahey for his independent evaluation of the Department of Lands and Forestry’s progress in implementing the recommendations in the 2018 Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia
March 14, 2020 Prepared by: Laura S. Kenefic. Attachment C, pp 47-90 in Attachments to the Independent Evaluation of Implementation of the Forest Practices Report for Nova Scotia

(ii) Comments on the SGEM (April 2021 Revision) for the Lahey Review
bu Laura Kenefic, U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station April 30, 2021. Attachment C, pp 91- 96 in Attachments to the Independent Evaluation of Implementation of the Forest Practices Report for Nova Scotia

Comments (NSFN)
In general,  the revised SGEM, now the final version,  has been well received. Most of Dr Kennefic’s suggestions were incorporated.

There remain, in my view, three major issues that will determine how effective implementation of the SGEM will be in actual bringing about net change that benefits wildlife:

The distribution of forested land between the Ecological matrix and HPF and the intensity of harvesting; if the bulk of what’s left of older high volume forests goes to HPF, and the wood supply from Crown land is not reduced substantially, we will be worse off.

Lack of reference to Landscape Level Planning for Biodiversity Conservation: In principle that comes from other projects notably the Old Forest Policy Project – which as currently proposed is very weak in this regard – and the EA project about which we currently know next to nothing.

Nutrient Management: the objective, as I understand it, is to maintain the current nutrient status. There is still no provision to allow the nutrient status to improve on soils which are severely calcium depleted because of acid rain combined with the inherently poor soils that dominate on much of our landscape; previous harvesting has also contributed. View this post for more on this topic.

View also,
EAC Review of the Silvicultural Guide for the Ecological Matrix
Feb 2021, Many of the comments apply to the final version.