Call for input to FSC Forest Management Reregistration audit on Nova Scotia Crown lands managed by Port Hawkesbury Paper

Map showing PHP managed Crown lands. View large version on the Public Notice – FSC forest management audit of Port Hawkesbury Paper

FSC is the Forestry Stewardship Council, “an independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests.” FSC Certification “guarantees your customers that the FSC-labelled product they buy has come from a forest and supply chain that is managed responsibly” (Source:

FSC is generally regarded as the pre-eminent certification system for forestry in Canada and internationally. The Port Hawkesbury mill initially obtained FSC certification in 2008, when it was owned by NewPage. The certification was reassessed, renewed and maintained after it was purchased by Pacific West Commercial Corp in 2012.

Port Hawkesbury Paper manages 623,000 hectares of Crown Land under a 20 year term Forest Utilization License Agreement and a 20 year term Agreement on the Environmental Performance Commitments to the Province of Nova Scotia. Harvest and renewal activities are conducted on 326,000 ha, while 297000 ha are protected and special management areas. (Source: Forestry Certification Letter, Dec 2013)

On Aug 8, FSC Canada posted on its website an announcement that

SAI Global services have been retained to conduct a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) Forest Management reregistration audit on the area under the Forest Utilization License Agreement (FULA) on Nova Scotia Crown Lands… This audit is scheduled for the week of September 11, 2017.

To assist with the audit, SAI Global solicits your input in this process. If you have any comments or concerns regarding the forest management activities that you would like us to address you may contact the lead auditor…

For more details, view SAI Global Consultation of interested parties – FSC Reregistration audit of Port Hawkesbury Paper LimitedPartnership (Aug 8, 2017).

It’s worth noting that in a widely criticized move, the province dropped FSC certification as its “Gold Standard” for other Crown lands in 2016.

Last March [2016], Nova Scotia Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill spoke proudly of the province’s decision to attain Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for all Crown woodland in the western region, calling FSC the “gold standard.” Less than a year later, in February 2016, the same government announced it was not only dropping this commitment, but also dropping its existing FSC certification for the 92,000-hectare Medway District forest.

In 2008, during its brief presence in Nova Scotia (2007-2011), Ohio-based NewPage Corp. obtained FSC certification for the 600,000-hectare “Big Lease” (comprising 40 percent of the province’s Crown forestland) in the province’s eastern region. The new owner of that lease, Port Hawkesbury Paper Ltd., has maintained FSC certification. Many observers consider it odd that the provincial government can’t maintain this standard for public land, while a “from-away” industrial forestry company can. – Jamie Simpson, Sep 2016


Details of Port Hawkesbury Paper’s operations are given on their website. Their Fall 2014 and Fall 2015 newsletters provide some details about FSC certification.

Port Hawkesbury Paper LP 2015 Sustainable Long-Term Forest Management Plan for FULA Lands
Comprehensive report available on Port Hawkesbury Paper website.

Port Hawkesbury Paper celebrating forest management audit results
The Canadian Press ~ staff The Cape Breton Post December 4, 2016

Certification Standards for Best ForestryPractices in the Maritimes Region, FSC-STD-CAN-Maritimes-2008
FSC Canada

Guide to FSC Certification for Woodlot Owners in Nova Scotia
Produced by Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.

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