Ecological Forestry Implementation - July 24, 2019 update

As part of government's response to the Independent Review of Forest Practices, the department sought feedback on how it can achieve more meaningful stakeholder and public engagement. Read the strategy and recommendations.

Ecological Forestry Implementation July 8, 2019 update

The following downloadable information sheets were made available to participants at the June 25, 2019 Ecological Forestry Forum in Truro.

Download the June 25th presentation provided by Lands and Forestry Deputy Minister Julie Towers.

Project teams made up of department employees and external experts like scientists, researchers, academics and subject-matter experts are working on several key projects related to ecological forestry. These projects were identified as foundational priorities. The department is committed to engaging stakeholders and the public to gather their input on these projects.


What We Heard


Download a summary of stakeholder comments and feedback gathered on June 25 - What We Heard - Ecological Forestry Forum (PDF)

Forest Management Guide

  • The project team is reviewing the current pre-treatment assessment process and will update the Forest Management Guide.
  • The project team is led by Mark Pulsifer, who is a part time member of the biology faculty at St. Francis Xavier University and has worked as a regional resource manager for the department.
  • Project team members have expertise in pre-treatment assessment, biodiversity and resource management planning.
  • Dr. Robert Seymour and Dr. Graham Forbes are external experts advising the project team. Dr. Seymour is professor emeritus and formerly Curtis Hutchins Professor of Forest Resources, Quantitative Silviculture, University of Maine. Dr. Forbes is professor at the University of New Brunswick and the director of the New Brunswick Cooperatives Research Unit and the Sir James Dunn Wildlife Research Centre.
  • The project team will undertake a stakeholder consultation and product review this summer before finalizing the guide by December 2019.

Natural Disturbance Regimes

  • The department will publish a peer-reviewed assessment of Nova Scotia’s natural disturbance agents, like fires, floods, insect infestations and large storms.
  • Professor Lahey recommended peer review of the department’s Natural Disturbance Regime methodology and mapping. Prior to undertaking this work the department will prepare a foundational paper on the natural disturbance agents for peer review.
  • The assessment will be ready to be submitted for peer review this fall.
  • This paper would then set the stage for a second paper specific to the mapping and methodology.
  • The project team is led by Mark Pulsifer. The team includes department staff with expertise in the field, landscape level planning, biodiversity and resource management planning.
  • Dr. David McLean and Dr. Anthony Taylor are external experts advising the project team. Dr. MacLean is Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Forestry & Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick. Dr. Anthony Taylor is a research scientist (forest ecologist) with Natural Resources Canada at the Atlantic Forestry Centre, Fredericton.

Old Forest

  • The project team is reviewing the old forest policy and the criteria used to identify and classify old forests.
  • Government’s policy will be revised following input from stakeholders and new definitions will standardize identification of old growth forest.
  • The team is led by Mark Pulsifer, and Dr. Peter Duinker is an external expert advisor. Dr. Duinker is a professor at Dalhousie University’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies with 30 years of experience in his field.

High Production Forestry

  • The project team will define high-production forestry and develop procedures and criteria for implementation on Crown land.
  • A framework will be developed for site selection and designation in the second phase of this project, due in 2020.
  • The project is led by Ryan McIntyre, the department’s manager of forest planning.
  • Dr. Thom Erdle and Dr. Graham Forbes are external experts advising the project team. Dr. Erdle is professor of Forest Management and Assistant Dean, Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick.

Small-Scale Wood Energy Projects

  • Lands and Forestry is leading a multi-department team looking at the efficiency of small-scale wood energy projects using wood chips, like those operating in PEI.
  • The first phase is to convert some government buildings to wood heat energy for the 2019-20 heating season.
  • The project is led by Rany Ibrahim, the department’s director of Economic Development and Trade.
  • Small-Scale Wood Energy Projects

Species at Risk

  • The project will establish a species-at-risk policy manual that includes priority policy and procedures to govern the Endangered Species Act.
  • The team will complete outstanding recovery plans (and status reports as needed) for species solely listed in Nova Scotia and organize and convene the first Recovery Action Forums in 2019.
  • The project is led by Donna Hurlburt, the department's manager of biodiversity. Members of the revitalized recovery teams will support the project.

Outcomes Based Forestry

  • The department is designing an outcomes-based approach to Crown forest management. It is anticipated that this will be in place by the end of 2020, with implementation to follow.
  • The project is led by Ryan McIntyre, Laird Van Damme and Dr. Yolanda Wiersma are experts advising the project team. Laird Van Damme is adjunct professor at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ont. Dr. Wiersma is professor in Landscape Ecology at Memorial University in St. John's, NFLD.

In addition - more teams are being formed and are developing work plans, which will include identifying the necessary expertise and stakeholder engagement. For example, a team is reviewing State of the Forest reporting to determine the types of information and data that are most important to Nova Scotians.

Other work

Environmental Assessments

Work has started on Professor Lahey's recommendations regarding environmental assessments. The department is looking at all potential options, including considering what is happening in other jurisdictions, and how an environmental assessment process could fit within the forest management planning system.

Evaluation of Progress on the Report

Work continues on the development of an evaluation framework to support Professor Lahey's independent evaluation.

Previous Update

Ecological Forestry Implementation - March 26, 2019 update

Independent Review of Forest Practices

Government Response To the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia

Interim Harvesting Guidelines (Dec. 3, 2018)

Lahey Nova Scotia Forest Practices Report 2018 - Executive Summary plus Conclusions and Recommendations

Lahey Nova Scotia Forest Practices Report 2018 - Addendum to the report