Government of Nova Scotia Government of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia, Canada
Natural Resources and Renewables


Forest Stewardship Principles


Forests are important to Nova Scotia. Seventy-five percent of Nova Scotia is forested. This represents about four million hectares (10 million acres). Forests provide a multitude of benefits to Nova Scotians, including cultural, economic and social benefits. For example, the lumber and pulp and paper industry generates over 1 billion dollars in revenue each year. Of course lumber and pulp and paper are not the only products produced from Nova Scotia forests. Significant revenue is generated from Christmas tree, maple syrup and fuelwood production. Nova Scotians are also now exploring less traditional products from forests such as mushrooms, ginseng and other medicinal plants. Eco-tourism is also becoming important. Fishing and hunting generates 3 million dollars in revenue each year in Nova Scotia.

These are, of course, the economic benefits which are no more important than the other benefits. We enjoy clean fresh water in Nova Scotia. There are many opportunities for people to use our forests for picnicking, hiking, and other recreational uses.

There are many users of the forest and many benefits can be gained. But we must balance all uses and we must try to maintain all benefits. In order to do that we must manage sustainably. As members of the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association, we are committed too the sustainable development of Nova Scotia forests. We can show the commitment to sustainability by adopting the Principles of Forest Stewardship and becoming better stewards of the forest. As stewards of the forest we have the responsibility to manage sustainably for all Nova Scotians.

The Board of Directors of the Nova Scotia Forest Products Association has adopted the Principles of Forest Stewardship. These principles were designed to help members of the association become better stewards of the forest. There are 7 principles in all covering many aspects of forest operations. Conforming to the principles will allow contractors, woodlot owners and industry to contribute to the sustainable use of Nova Scotia Forests.

The Principles of Forest Stewardship

  1. Forest planning and operations will be conducted in accordance with the Forest/Wildlife Standards for Nova Scotia which are designed to sustain forest biodiversity and wildlife habitat.
  2. Harvesting operations will be designed to facilitate forest renewal either by natural regeneration or planting.
  3. Forest roads and water crossings will be constructed in accordance with the Standards of the Nova Scotia Department of the Environment.
  4. The health and safety of employees and the public will not be compromised by any forest practice.
  5. Through the Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia, public awareness and information on the Nova Scotia forest industry and Nova Scotia forests will be promoted. Members will cooperate with the Association in responding to public concerns about forest practices in a sensitive and progressive manner.
  6. Private landowners have the right to manage their individual forest properties in accordance with their own objectives, while meeting or exceeding government standards for environmental protection and forest conservation.

Use of forests is being increasingly regulated by government legislation. More and more consumers are requiring wood products from forests certified as sustainable. These trends are reflective of the public concerns about the environment. That is why it is important for the association to show leadership in the industry to demonstrate that forests are managed sustainably and that the industry is a responsible manager.

The following home study manual will provide a guide to implementing the principles on your own forest operation. Through the use of exercises you will create an operations management plan on a typical woodlot. A greater understanding of how these principles can work on your own operation will be gained.


The key to a well-run organization is a plan. Having a plan allows you to foresee and avoid problems, it can save you money, assures quality work and shows due diligence.

Usually you will have a plan about what you are going to do before you do it. If you are going to harvest timber from a woodlot you will know where you are going to cut the trees, what kind of trees you will cut and how you will get them to roadside. An operations plan is no different except it is taken a step further and put it on paper. Operations management plans can be very simple. A single sheet of paper with a map and tables may be all that is needed for a small operation. A large operation that requires several roads to be constructed and harvesting of several stands may require a little more. Upon completing this manual you may have the knowledge, experience and comfort to do your own operations management plan or you may choose to hire a forest technician or forester to prepare your plan. But, however simple or complex an operations management plan is, it is basically a document showing what you intend on doing with your woodlot property.

As you work through the exercises in this manual and create your operations management plan for the fictional woodlot, you will find yourself going through a process of planning, decision making and problem solving.

An operations management plan is the key principle and is very important. As you will see, this is because when you create a plan you have to consider most of the other principles. The majority of other principles will be included as part of the operations plan. For example principle number 4 states that roads will be constructed according the Department of the Environment Standards. Part of the process of ensuring proper road construction is by planning ahead of time where the road will go. This helps avoid problems. That is why a road plan is part of an operations management plan. Similarly, the Forest/Wildlife Guidelines include a requirement for buffer zones allow streams. The buffer zones can be marked on a map and included in the operations management plan. Some principles may not be explicitly indicated on the operation plan, for example principle number 6 on public awareness. However, these principles are just as important. You will soon find that following one principle helps you to follow others. Part of promoting public awareness maybe the simple act of maintaining a garbage free work site. Properly disposing of waste oil, oily containers and other hazardous garbage helps prevent violation of the Environment Act as outlined in principle number 4. As can be seen all principles are complementary.

Before beginning the development of an operations management plan it is necessary to understand a number of terms and concepts used in the planning process. The following chapters provide this information.

Exercise 1. Getting Familiar with Operations Management Plans

On the following page is an operations management plan for R.U. Ready's woodlot. Have a look at the plan and try to answer the following questions.

1. How many acres are proposed to be harvested?

2. How many cords will be harvested?

3. How does the harvest in stand 3 facilitate renewal?

4. How does the harvest in stand 4 facilitate renewal?

5. Why is there a select cut only zone at the corner of stands 1, 3 and 4?

6. Do you think that the proposed harvest meets the landowner's objectives?