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


Forest Stewardship Principles


The Forest/Wildlife Guidelines and Standards for Nova Scotia are designed to maintain or enhance fish and wildlife habitat in forests. By following these guidelines on all your forest operations you will reduce negative impacts your operations may have on wildlife. The guidelines were developed by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources as a commitment to the Wildlife Policy of 1987.

Three 4 hectare cuts, the irregular cut on the left provides the greatest amount of edge, the round cut on the right provides the least amount of edge.

This manual provides a brief overview of the major guidelines. It will not cover all details of all guidelines.

Edge- This is the zone where two types of stands meet. The edge may be between a cut and a mature forest or between a hardwood and softwood stand. Because the edge is where two different habitat types occur, it increases the number and variety of wildlife species present. The more edge available for wildlife the greater the richness of wildlife.

Harvesting operations can be used to increase the edge in cuts. A round cut has the least amount of edge for area cut. An irregular cut shape maximizes the amount of edge.

Wildlife Corridors- Corridors are strips of uncut forest within a clearcut that connect adjacent forest. Corridors provide travel ways for wildlife and allow them to pass through large clearcuts. Corridors provide concealment and protection from deep snow and wind.

Special Management Zones- Special management zones are protective buffers of along streams, lakes and rivers. the area beside a water source is an important habitat for many species of wildlife. Stream side habitat often have a greater diversity and density of wildlife than upland habitat. It provides an important mix of water, food and cover and frequently has a greater richness of plants.

Snag and Cavity Trees- A snag is a standing dead or dying tree. Cavity trees are trees with holes or cavities already excavated or could be excavated by woodpeckers. Cavity trees provide nesting sites for woodpeckers. After the woodpecker has abandoned the cavity, it may be used by many other species of wildlife. Snag trees are often invaded by insects and so provide foraging sites for many species of birds. Hawks and other birds of prey will perch on snags while hunting.

It is recommended that 10 trees per hectare (4 per acre) be left in each harvest operation. Trees are best left in clumps or groups. The recommended number of trees and clumps are:

Significant Habitat - Significant habitat includes areas of importance to wildlife. These might be deer wintering areas, hawk nests, heron colonies or habitat for rare or endangered species. Significant habitats are often susceptible to disturbance and care should be taken if a forestry operation is taking place nearby.

Deer wintering areas can be identified readily. They are typically in mature conifer stands on south or southwest slopes. Look for plenty of deer tracks and well used trails. There will be a lot of browsed hardwood stems as well.

A bird of prey nest looks like large cluster of sticks and debris in a tree. The birds will usually become agitated when disturbed during nesting season (March to mid July) and this allows for easy identification.

If you discover a significant habitat near your operation, contact the nearest Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist. The biologist will show how you may be able to alter your operation in a way that will reduce impacts on the significant habitat.

Forest/Wildlife Guidelines and Standards for Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources

Woodlot Home Study Course: Module 3 Thinning for Value. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.

Exercise 2. Forest/Wildlife Guidelines

1. Take a look at the map for I.M. Ready's woodlot. Mr. Ready is planning on harvesting stands 3, 4 and 5. Assume, for Exercise 2 only, that these stands will be clearcut and mark on the map all the forest/wildlife guidelines that will have to be followed.