Variable Retention

Concurrent with the Government’s response to the Independent Review, L&F released a document “Interim Retention Guide

The Interim Retention document does not use the term “Variable Retention”, and at the time it seemed that these new retention guidelines simply required more retention of trees in clearcuts.

Beginning Jan 31, 2019 without any explanation or announcement, L&F changed the way it describes harvests on the Harvest Plan Map Viewer, eliminating description of the “Harvest Type” of which “Clearcut” was one type, and instead including only the Prescription Type, which does include the word “Clearcut”

See below examples from the lists that are sent out to subscribers to harvest notices:

Older and Newer

Likewise, the legends on the HPMV itself, no longer included “Clearcut”:

Older Version

Latest version

At the same time, the Prescription Type “Variable Retention” began to appear on the notices and in the legends to the HPMV, leading one to suspect that “Variable Retention” was the new way of describing clearcuts.

Essentially that is the case, except that “Overstory Removal” also corresponds to what was peviously described as Harvest Type – Clearcut, Prescription Type – Overstory Removal.

Also, after some back and forth, it became evident that L&F’s (implicit) definition of “Variable Retention” is the info given in the Guidelines document.

For more about it this confusing story (and until L&F issues some clear public explanation of the changes in terminology), view:

“When is a Clearcut still a Clearcut?” in Nova Scotia 26Feb2019

Evidently, Nova Scotia L&F considers adherence to the Interim Retention Guidelines as equivalent to Not Clearcutting 25Feb2019

Recent changes (Jan 30 & Feb 20, 2019) in Harvest Plan Map Viewer increase concerns about clearcutting in Nova Scotia
Post, Feb 24, 2019.

Nova Scotia L&F “eliminates clearcutting” – the word that is
Feb 20, 2019.