Who does what

Page posted Sep 25, 2016. As will be evident from the clutter of updates, many changes have occurred since then but not in regard to transparency.

As written on Sep 25, 2016:
The Lands and Forestry website does not provide much detail about who does what at DNR beyond listing some of the staff in various sections. There is next to no information about the qualifications and backgrounds of directors and staff. There are no annual reports describing activities and outcomes over the previous year in any detail. Below is what I have been able to find out about who does what related to forestry.

There have been two name changes and reorganization of the dept since 2016. In 2016, it was  the Department of Natural Resources, DNR. Following the election of the second McNeil Government in 2018, that department was split into Lands & Forestry (L&F), and Energy and Mines. Following the election of the PC government in August of 2021, Humpty Dumpty was put back together again, this time as Natural Resources and Renewables. The website had not caught up with the first change when that happened, and it remains (Dec 27, 2021) confused – and with very little attention, it seems, to ensuring it is up-to-date. Thus Jon Porter, a “company man’  who was Director of the Renewable Resources Branch under the Liberals until March of 2021, is still listed (Dec 27, 2021) in that position.

Under Forestry Staff, there have been a few changes recently, but at least some of the old guard is still firmly in place.  Thus Bruce Stewart, formerly Manager of Research & Planning, is now Director of Admin and Support Services within the Forestry Division, a position that had been vacant for some time  Peter Bush – a newbie in DNR circa 2017, coming from Environment, is now the Manager of Research & Planning. Under Management Planning there is a new head, Sean Power, replacing Ryan MacIntyre who now seems to have disappeared from the Forestry roster on this (Forestry Staff) page, but has been cited recently as ” resource manager for Crown lands in the province’s western region” (Hfx Examiner Dec 8, 2021).

Premier Houston announced the new Minister of the newly reorganized dept on Aug 31, 2021. It is Tory Rushton, and Karen Gatien is the new deputy minister of Natural Resources and Renewables (she was previously associate deputy minister, Education and Early Childhood Development).

I will completely redo this now cluttered  page, possibly soon, but for now, I leave the rest of it as it was in the last days of the Liberal Government, for the record.

– dp Dec 27, 2021




The Minister of NSDNR**, appointed at the beginning of the McNeil government’s 2nd term, is Margaret Miller. She replaced Lloyd Hines. The Deputy Minister of the Department of Natural Resources is Julie Towers who was appointed in December of 2016. She replaced Frank Dunn.  From  a Bio for Julie Towers on the that had been posted  (July 11, 2017) on the website for Aboriginal Affairs: ” Julie Towers was appointed the Deputy Minister and CEO of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs in March 2014… Julie started her career as a wildlife biologist after earning Bachelor and Master of Science degrees from the University of Toronto and University of New Brunswick. Before becoming Deputy Minister and CEO of Aboriginal Affairs, Julie worked in applied research, environmental education and forest, parks and wildlife management.”

UPDATE Mar 11, 2021: Paul LaFleche is now deputy Minister; he was previously and still remains Deputy Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal See News Release, Feb 23, 2021
UPDATE Feb 23, 2021
Iain Rankin was sworn in as Premier today. “Chuck Porter is the new lands and forestry minister and also becomes responsible for the Department of Energy and Mines. Porter’s role also becomes prominent, as Rankin has pledged to implement the recommendations of the Lahey Review on forestry practices this year.(CBC)
**UPDATE Nov 12, 2020
Iain Rankin
was appointed Minister of the newly formed Lands and Forestry on July 5, 2018; Margaret Miller moved back to Environment, responsibility for mines was shifted to the new Energy and Mines Department. View ATV Jul 5, 2018
Iain Rankin resigned as Minister of Lands & Forestry on Oct 5, 2020 to campaign to replace Stephen McNeil as premier who is stepping down in Feb., 2021. (Premier McNeil announced in August 2020 that he would be resigning).
Derek Mombourquette, MLA for Sydney Whitney Pier and Minister of Energy and Mines was given the additional portfolio of Lands and Forestry on Oct 13, 2020

There are 4 branches in L&F: Land Services, Policy Planning and Support Services, Renewable Resources, Regional Services. A FOIPOP document (2018) provides an Organization Chart:

From a FOI document; cited at the bottom as “intended for Public Use”

The Renewable Resources Branch is responsible for forests and forestry. The Executive Director is Jonathan Porter. “The Renewable Resources Branch provides coordination and leadership on policy, planning and program development including industry development and resource promotion, marketing, resource inventories and research, and the preparation of strategies and plans for the integrated development, management and conservation of the province’s forests, parks and wildlife resources.” The Branch is comprised of the following divisions:
– Forestry
– Parks and Recreation
– Program Development
– Wildlife
– Resource Management
For each there is a bulleted list of responsibilities.

The Forestry Staff Directory is not easy to find as it’s not listed on site navigation menus. On the Forestry Staff Directory page, individual staff are listed under
– Administration and Support Services (Director: vacant*; + 3 admin staff)
– Research & Planning (Manager: Bruce Stewart; + 6 staff)
– Management Planning (Manager: Ryan McIntyre; + 7 staff)
– Forest Inventory (Manager: Chris Bailey + 14 staff)
– Scaling & Registry of Buyers (Manager: Kevin Hudson + 3 staff)
– Strathlorne Forest Nursery (Manager: Sean Gillis + 2 staff)
*I was very sorry to read that the previous Director,Jonathan Kierstead died prematurely on July 31, 2017 at age 47, leaving behind spouse and children. I would like to think that we would have walked the same paths one day.

The page cites names, position description ( e.g. GIS specialist, Forester) and gives a phone number and e-mail contact. There is no information about more specific responsibilities, ongoing projects, or qualifications.

Not listed on the Forestry Staff Directory page but pertinent to forest management are staff in the Wildlife Division. There seems to be no single list of staff.

Three staff are cited under Biodiversity Program Overview, but there are others in this division. Currently (Mar 28, 2019):

Dr. Donna Hurlburt, Wildlife Manager, Biodiversity
Donald Sam, Biologist, Species at Risk
Mark Elderkin, Biologist, Species at Risk
Pamela Mills, Wildlife Technician, Biodiversity

I found some personnel listed under a page on www.speciesatrisk.ca/:
Dr. Sherman Boates Wildlife Manager, Biodiversity, Wildlife Division (Kentville) NS Department of Natural Resources; Mark Elderkin Species at Risk Biologist, Wildlife Division (Kentville), NS Department of Natural Resources and NS DNR Regional Biologists: “The Wildlife Division of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources has Regional Biologists in 6 regions around the province. If you have any specific questions about wildlife in your area feel free to contact the appropriate regional biologist.”

Another List under Ecosystems and Habitats Program Overview :

Randy Milton, Wildlife Manager, Ecosystems and Habitats Program
Sean Basquill, Provincial Habitat Biologist
John Brazner, Ecosystems and Habitats Specialist
Frances MacKinnon, GIS and Remote Sensing Support
Glen Parsons, Provincial Habitat Biologist
Peter Austin-Smith Jr., Biodiversity Stewardship Coordinator
Amy Marsters, Wildlife/Forestry Technician

See Renewable Resources Branch for a listing or responsibilities of the Wildlife Division (also for Forestry, Parks and Recreation, Resource Management)

Forest Biodiversity Science Advisory Committee
“On August 27, 2015, The Department of Natural Resources announced a new Forest Biodiversity Science Advisory Committee to enhance the management of Nova Scotia’s Crown-owned woodlands. During quarterly meetings, the members will share knowledge and guidance as Nova Scotia moves to landscape scale management of Crown-owned lands.” Except for this statement I couldn’t find any details searching for the committee by name on the NSDNR website. An item in Pulp&PaperCanada.Com lists the committee members:
– Sherman Boates, Department of Natural Resources, PhD, chair
– Peter Duinker, Dalhousie University, PhD, forest science expert
– Tom Herman, Acadia University, PhD, biodiversity expert
– Thom Erdle, University of New Brunswick, PhD, spatial modelling expert
– Graham Forbes, University of New Brunswick, PhD, ecological planning expert
– Peter Bush, Department of Natural Resources, PhD
“During quarterly meetings, the members share knowledge and guidance as Nova Scotia moves to landscape-scale management of Crown-owned lands. Only 35 per cent of all land in Nova Scotia is owned by the province. Meaning most forest lands in the province are privately owned and managed.
“The members of the new committee have very extensive and broad experience of biodiversity science,” said Sherman Boates, chair of the committee. “Their independent advice will improve government’s capacity to address complex biodiversity conservation and resource-use issues.”

Documents available on novascotia.ca/ecological-forestry/ Nov 12, 2020:

See where it fits: Department of Natural Resources: Organization and Responsibilities, listed under the Treasury Board.
“The Regional Services Branch delivers department programs and services through an extensive network of field offices. These programs and services include forest management programs, Crown lands surveys, regional geological services, public outreach and education, planning and implementing Integrated Resource Management (IRM), hunter safety, forest fire prevention, detection and suppression, monitoring of forest insects and diseases, operation and maintenance of Provincial Parks, and resource conservation.”
The italics is mine. The Regional IRM Teams play important roles in reviewing PTAs, accepting harvest plans etc. but it is very hard to find out much about they operate, who are members, their qualifications etc.

“The Forest Protection Divisions is responsible for:
-The health of Nova Scotia’s woodlands by protecting them from pests and fires.
-The Forest Health section provides technical advice and management options to forest stakeholders to help them manage pests.
-Risk Services is responsible for the science, technology and business planning components of the provincial forest protection program.
-Wildfire Management protects Nova Scotia property and woodlands by providing leadership and support in wildfire management.

“The Regions (Western, Central, Eastern) are responsible for:
– Delivering renewable resource management programs in the field including forest management on Crown and private lands, forest fire management, enforcement and hunter safety, management of Provincial Parks, wildlife conservation and protection, forest pest detection, and information, education and extension.
– Planning and implementing Integrated Resource Management (IRM) on Crown lands.
– Providing for the administration of Crown lands at the field level including the surveying and maintenance of Crown lands boundary lines.
– Providing for a geological service on a regional basis.
-Handling public inquiries and license sales

Western – Regional Director, Russell MacKinlay
Central – Regional Director, Gordon Delano
Eastern – Regional Director, Steven Delorey

“The Private Lands Stewardship and Outreach Division is responsible for:
-Fostering shared stewardship of all natural resources on private lands in Nova Scotia.
-Supporting 3rd party delivery of forestry, silviculture & biodiversity incentives.
-Increasing private land participation in the forestry economy.
-Providing resource education and outreach to private land owners, hunters, youth and the public at large.”

“The Resource Management Division is responsible for:
Coordinating the implementation of forest management programs designed to help ensure the long term viability of the forest industry in the Province. The forest management programs incorporate forest/wildlife guidelines and the principles of integrated resource management and sustainable development.
-Consulting with Department staff and any other departments and agencies who have responsibility for the use of Crown lands.
Developing procedures and standards for Crown lands forest management programs and specific temporary uses of Crown lands.
-Negotiating, amending and monitoring agreements for the license, tender or lease of Crown lands forest products, aggregate, and peatland development.
Reviewing forest management plans, recommending budgets and monitoring progress of field implementation.
-Recommending development of information technologies and applications for the implementation and monitoring of forest management programs and activities on Crown lands.
I could not find names, list of positions etc for this Division.

James Steenberg “is the forest carbon and climate change analyst with the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry”
Source: www.james-steenberg.com/home-1
On Dec 18, 2019, I did a search of the Nova Scotia Government website for him; he is virtually invisible on the novascotia.ca wesbite, as is what he does.

This “section” is not identified anywhere as such but there is a “Director of Aboriginal Policy” within NSDNR who is Tom Soehl. He is currently (Oct 31, 2017) serving separately as the secretary to Prof Lahey in regard to the Independent Review of Forest Practices. A google search revealed that Tom Soehl has a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in geology from Dalhousie University (1988) and a Masters degree from Simon Fraser in Resource and Environmental Management (1993). He was Director of Negotiations Province of Nova Scotia, Office of Aboriginal Affairs 2001 – 2013, and assumed his current position in 2014.

View also the government’s Office of Aboriginal Affairs

It appears that most communication with the public is channeled through the DNR Media Room for which Lisa Jarrett is the contact.

From informationaccess.novascotia.ca, it contains some organization details as they applied in 2018

It has been noted that senior appointees in forestry are “company men”: “Allan Eddy a former senior forester with NSP,[is] now Associate Deputy Minister of the DNR*; former woodlands manager of Resolute Forest Products, Jon Porter, … currently holds the position of Executive Director of the department’s renewable resources branch, and Jonathan Kierstead*, now Director of Forestry, [was] also formerly with Resolute.”(See Article by Linda Pannozzo.)
*Alan Eddy, was transferred to Agriculture and Fisheries and Aquaculture on Dec 12, 2016 where he became associate deputy minister of ; no replacement for Eddy at NSDNR was announced. (See Post). As I noted above, I am very sorry to read that Jonathan Kierstead died prematurely on July 31, 2017 at age 47, leaving behind spouse and children. I would like to think that we would have walked the same paths one day. DNR posted ads for a replacement for JK in the fall of 2017; as of Jan. 8, 2018, we have not heard anything further on that topic – UPDATE – he was replaced by Gerald Post.

shopify analytics ecommerce