Reference to nutrient budgeting in High Production Forestry in Nova Scotia Phase 1 Final Report (HPF Report July 2021)


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In keeping with the Triad concept, three key criteria were used to identify area potentially suitable for inclusion in the HPF zone. The first criterion was that HPF sites should not include any land where conservation and non-timber values take primacy. Thus, protected natural areas, sensitive habitats, wildlife special management zones, and known old growth forest areas were not considered for inclusion. Second, the HPF zone should not include rich ecosites which commonly support tolerant hardwood forests as conversion of such sites to softwood plantations is ecologically inappropriate. Third, of the area remaining after application of these two criteria, the HPF zone should include land capable of supporting fast softwood tree growth, and thus must have the inherent fertility and drainage characteristics conducive to such growth.

Application of these three criteria to Nova Scotia Crown land results in approximately 246,000 ha (~16% of forested land) being potentially suitable for the HPF zone. If fully allocated, this area could generate close to 1.3 million green metric tonnes (gmt) per year of high-quality spruce timber after full program implementation.

Realizing and sustaining high timber yields in the HPF zone will involve the use of intensive silvicultural practices, comparable in some ways to an agricultural model but with a much longer crop rotation. This will include management regimes comprising mechanical and/or chemical site preparation, planting of improved growing stock, and competition control with herbicides and manual thinning to lessen natural vegetative competition. The periodic use of soil amendments, a common practice in agriculture, may also be included to sustain site productivity over successive rotations. The resulting cumulative effects of these practices are expected to result in minimum production rates of 6 m3/ha/yr of high-value forest products at time of harvest – approximately double that currently achieved in natural forests.