Wood Supply

From the ‘Lahey Report‘, bolding inserted

From Executive Summary, page v ff

In Nova Scotia, although the basic elements of the triad are in place, not enough is being done to deliberately manage our forests within a triad model. Each of the three legs of the triad requires development if ecological forestry is to be achieved on the landscape and provincial levels. In this Report, given my mandate to focus on forest practices, I emphasize actions that should – or can – be taken to strengthen the two legs of the triad that include forestry. In particular, I stress the importance of enhancing the productivity of forests dedicated to high‐ production forestry.
The question becomes how to implement ecological forestry and the triad at both operational and provincial levels given the following factors:
That roughly 30 per cent of the forest is managed by the Crown and 70 per cent by private landowners, much of it by owners of small woodlots
The irrelevancy of landownership to ecosystems and biodiversity
The importance of private ownership of land and ownership of forests to Nova Scotians,
especially in rural Nova Scotia
– The importance of the adequacy and predictability of wood supply to industry

My conclusion is that ecological forestry must be pursued on Crown and private lands with a combination of tools that are responsive to both the opportunities and limitations associated with each category of landholding. For Crown land, this means robust use of the Crown’s direct authority over Crown land to require – on an ambitious timeframe – that forestry on it be conducted ecologically. For private lands, it means a comprehensive, multi‐faceted, integrated, and collaborative strategy for encouraging and enabling private landowners, within broad parameters set by statute and regulation, to manage their lands in accordance with the concepts of ecological forestry within one (or more) of the legs of the triad.

From Introduction, p 3:

The department was generous in helping the Review team conduct analysis that was critical to its work, including harvesting and market‐related information and impacts on wood supply of possible changes in forest practices, particularly on Crown lands.

From 3.4 Conclusions on Impact on Wood Supply and Harvesting Costs
84. Industry urged me to cost my recommendations, particularly to understand their potential consequences for harvesting costs or losses of wood supply. The suggestion from some was that I should not make recommendations without knowing what they would cost the industry. Even though I agree with the importance of understanding the costs associated with alternative approaches to the management or regulation of forestry practices, this is not a proposition I accept, any more than I would accept the proposition that I should not make recommendations beneficial to the industry (as I have) without knowing exactly what their ecological costs or cost to others, like the tourism industry, would be.

85. On wood supply, the Review team conducted a preliminary analysis of the impact that proposed changes for DNR’s ecosystem‐based system of management would have on wood supply. That analysis suggests a short‐term reduction in wood harvest from Crown land of between 10 and 20 per cent. It also suggests that the reduction cannot be addressed in the short term by shifting production either to high‐production sites on Crown land, including plantations, or to plantations on private land. More broadly, the analysis indicates that the reduction can be addressed by increased harvesting on other private lands, given that the sustainable harvest level (as estimated by DNR) is currently above actual harvest levels. The issue will be its economic availability and the cost of procurement and of harvesting. Further scenarios should be run, particularly to determine the impact on wood supply from Crown land of different levels of required retention on Crown land; that is, within the proposed 5–30 per cent range.

86. Otherwise, the Review team did not have the opportunity to complete the kind of analysis of my recommendations that industry urged me to complete. If such an analysis is part of the consideration of my recommendations, it should look at benefits as well as costs and it should look at both broadly, including ecological and social considerations as well as economic ones and consider all three in the long as well as the short term. These should be compared to the costs and benefits of current forest practices, again taking ecological and social as well as economic outcomes into account for both the short and the longer term. The analysis should be completed openly and transparently. This will not only ensure its credibility but help to avoid a flawed analysis. It will, for example, prevent the kind of discrepancy that occurred in the past when DNR commissioned a review of the cost to industry of the goal of reducing clearcutting to 50 per cent or less of harvesting in five years; instead of analyzing the impact of a reduction in the percentage of harvesting done by clearcutting, it analyzed the impact of a 50 per cent reduction in the volume of harvesting, a very different thing. Openness and transparency will also help to ensure that the analysis is conducted on the basis of fair, defensible, known, and openly stated assumptions.

87. Specifically, if there is to be a cost analysis of recommendations that limit or reduce clearcutting on Crown land outside of plantations, there should be a parallel analysis of the socio‐economic and ecological costs of current harvesting practices on those Crown lands. For the reasons given in the preceding paragraph, this analysis should be conducted openly and transparently. This will ensure that there is clarity and accountability for the tradeoffs being made among economic, social, and environmental factors in decisions based on a costs/benefits analysis of my recommendations.

88. An acceptable alternative would be to simply get on with the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report, dedicating the analytical capacity that would otherwise go to this kind of cost/benefit analysis to the work of identifying, designing, and testing options for making the change to ecological forestry that is right for Nova Scotia. On this approach, one of the areas of focus should be options for mitigating the impact on the forest industry of implementing changes in how forestry is practised in Nova Scotia, particularly on Crown lands, other than delaying the implementation of those changes


From the Recommendations

14. Steps should be taken to improve the abundance and conservation of old forests, including the following:
– Implementation of ecological forestry, with emphasis on long‐rotation stand development and multi‐aged stand structures.
– Accelerated and improved data collection on the existence of old forests across all unprotected Crown lands. This could include improvements to the pre‐treatment assessment process, targeted field assessments, and advanced applications of spatial modelling (GIS) and data capture technology such as LiDAR.
– Reconsideration of the area‐proportion targets in the Old Forest Policy, as well as potential inclusion of other tree species in the climax group (e.g., red oak, red maple). This will require a targeted research program that, like other DNR initiatives, should become an inclusive process with participation of a suitable range of scholars and experts from various walks of life.
– Addition of old‐forest restoration targets alongside the old‐forest protection targets in the policy.
– Development of a silvicultural manual for old‐forest restoration.

23. DNR should either
a. through an open and transparent process, conduct a study of the costs to the forest industry, including the transition costs, and of the socio‐economic and ecological costs and benefits of accepting and implementing the recommendations of this Review and a study of the socio‐economic and ecological costs and benefits of current forest practices (i.e., the status quo), particularly on Crown land; or
b. dedicate the resources required to complete these studies to the implementation of the recommendations contained in this report, including by identifying, designing, and testing options for making the change to ecological forestry that is right for Nova Scotia.