Nova Scotia is moving towards a forestry model that protects ecosystems and biodiversity, supports economic growth, and keeps our forests healthy and sustainable.

Ecological Forestry

The province is committed to adopting a model that protects ecosystems and biodiversity, supports economic growth, and keeps our forests healthy and sustainable.

Crown land resources belong to all Nova Scotians. We want interested individuals and groups to participate in the change and understand how and why decisions are being made.

A review of forestry practices in Nova Scotia (PDF 429 KB) has provided a series of recommendations and work is now underway (PDF 78 KB) to change how we think about our forests, while maintaining a sustainable forestry industry.

These efforts are focused in three key areas:

  • Conserving Biodiversity
  • Nurturing Healthy Forests
  • Supporting Sustainable Industry

Initiatives have begun to support the independent forestry review and recommendations government received under these three themes.

  Conserving Biodiversity Nurturing Healthy Forests Supporting Sustainable Industry
Environmental Assessment
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
Forest Management Guide
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
High Production Forestry
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
Natural Disturbance Regimes
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
Old Forest Policy
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
Outcomes-Based Forest Management
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
Reporting on the State of the Forest
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
Small Scale Wood Energy Initiative
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry
Species at Risk Program Renewal
Conserving Biodiversity
Nurturing Healthy Forests
Supporting Sustainable Industry

An evaluation of the department's progress implementing the model will be completed later this year.

Environmental Assessment

To develop a proposed regulatory framework, for government’s consideration, to review Crown land forest stewardship plans by applicable Crown forest agreement holders either as a Class II environmental Assessment (EA) under the Environment Act or in a process that is similar to the Class II process.

Progress to date:

  • RFP issued in January 2020 to hire a consultant to develop a guide for the preparation of 20- year forest stewardship plans
  • NorthWinds Environmental Services engaged in April 2020 to develop draft guide
  • Working on identifying regulatory options

Next Step:

  • complete draft guide
  • stakeholder consultation
  • Environmental Assessment – Overview (PDF 504 KB)
  • Forest Management Guide

    This guide, which is being revised, outlines the types of forest practices that can be used on Crown lands.

    Progress to date:

    • Team members, including external experts, visited Maine, Quebec, and Western Nova Scotia to explore shelterwood and retention levels in Summer 2019
    • Prepared an initial draft of the revised FMG/PTA process for targeted stakeholder input
    • Targeted stakeholder engagement on policy and proposed changes in Summer 2019
    • Targeted stakeholder consultation on revised draft in March 2020

    Next Step:

    • Consultation on revised draft
  • Forest Management Guide – Overview (PDF 504 KB)
  • High Production Forestry

    Working to define how and where sites are selected for high yield timber production forestry practices on Crown lands

    Progress to date

    • Developed draft definition of High Production Forestry (HPF) and draft selection criteria at the provincial scale in Fall 2019 for stakeholder and public feedback
    • Public consultation via general release of Phase 1 Discussion paper in Winter 2020
    • Targeted stakeholder consultations held in-person and virtually - Spring 2020

    Next Step:

    • Completion and public release of HPF Phase 1 Final Report including site selection & ranking criteria
  • High-Production Forestry - Overview (PDF 504 KB)
  • Natural Disturbance Regimes

    Studying how to better align forestry practices with naturally occurring elements that affect forests such as fire, wind, and insects.

    Progress to date:

    • Collected and coordinated information on Nova Scotia’s natural disturbance regime agents in Summer 2019
    • Submitted to a scientific journal for peer review and feedback in Winter 2019;
    • Completed scientific paper and submitted to journal editor for final review in Winter 2020
    • Paper is now available online and will be published in the December issue of the journal, Environmental Reviews.

    A review of natural disturbances to inform implementation of ecological forestry in Nova Scotia, Canada (Anthony R. Taylor, David A. MacLean, Peter D. Neily, Bruce Stewart, Eugene Quigley, Sean P. Basquill, Celia K. Boone, Derek Gilby, Mark Pulsifer)

  • Natural Disturbance Regimes - Overview (PDF 503 KB)
  • Old Forest Policy

    Reviewing how old growth and old forests are identified.

    Progress to date:

    • Researched to better understand and identify old growth conditions in non-traditional species in Fall 2019
    • Worked with the Forest Management Guide project team to incorporate the restoration pathway in the draft FMG for stakeholder review
    • Completed the identification of at least 8% old forest in each of the 39 eco-districts

    Next Step:

    • Stakeholder consultation
  • Old Forest – Overview (PDF 503 KB)
  • Outcomes-Based Forest Management

    Designing an approach to manage forests according to expected outcomes that prioritize biodiversity and recognize ecological, social, and economic values.

    Progress to date:

    • Conducted a jurisdictional scan in Summer/Fall 2019 and built a network of experts from various jurisdictions over the course of 2020 to identify best practices/options for implementation in Nova Scotia
    • Developing a draft framework that includes principles, values, objectives, and indicators for stakeholder input

    Next Step:

    • Stakeholder consultation
  • Outcomes-Based Forest Management – Overview (PDF 504 KB)
  • Reporting on the State of the Forest

    Improving how we report on the state of the province’s forests.

    Progress to date:

    • Reviewed recommended actions in report, completed gap analysis
    • Continuing to identify external sources of data found during gap analysis
    • Beginning the collection of data from internal and external sources

    Public consultation now open:

    Anyone interested can provide feedback through this short survey. This data will be used by the team to improve the report so we are better able to inform Nova Scotians on the state of our forests. Please note that your responses will not be collected by the department until you click on the submit button at the end of the survey. The deadline to submit feedback is Friday, October 23.

    Completing this survey will take approximately 5-20 minutes depending on your answers. Thank you for your time and we look forward to reviewing the results of the surveys.

  • Reporting on the State of the Forest – Overview (PDF 503 KB)
  • Small Scale Wood Energy Initiative

    Launching a new initiative that will see more public buildings replace their fossil fuel heating system to locally sourced wood chip heating systems.

    Progress to date:

    • Awarded construction and operation contracts to service providers for Phase 1 sites
    • Identified a selection of prospective buildings in Spring/Summer 2019 for Phase 1
    • Issued a request for qualified suppliers in Fall 2019
    • Issued a request for proposals to pre-qualified vendors in Winter 2020

    Next Steps:

    • Phase 1 wood heat systems should be in place for Fall 2020/Winter 2021 heating season.
  • Small Scale Wood Energy Initiative – Overview (PDF 505 KB)
  • Species at Risk Program Renewal

    Updating the management system with our partners to create a framework to ensure the protection of species at risk.

    Progress to date:

    • Appointments for 12 recovery teams completed in Fall 2019
    • Work on revising policies began in Fall 2019Draft recovery plans completed for all remaining species that fall solely under provincial responsibility; awaiting approval by Recovery Teams
    • Completed new Critical Habitat Policy in September 2019
    • The project team held three SAR Recovery Action Forums in in Winter 2020

    Next Steps:

    • Finalize draft recovery action plans
  • Species at Risk Program Renewal – Overview (PDF 623 KB)
  • Silviculture Program Review

    The department will be reviewing the existing Crown and private silviculture programs to ensure alignment with ecological forestry.

    Progress to date:

    • Project team with internal team members now in place.

    We Want to Hear From You

    If you would like to join our email update list, ask a specific question or provide feedback, please email ecologicalforestry@novascotia.ca.