Independent Review of Forest Practices

Recognizing a wide diversity of interests related to forestry, the Government of Nova Scotia is undertaking an independent review of forest practices in Nova Scotia. Professor William Lahey, President of the University of King's College, has been retained as Project Lead for the review. His mandate is to provide his report to Natural Resources Minister Margaret Miller by the end of February 2018.


The review will examine current practices, including strengths and weaknesses, and provide recommendations for improvement regarding how Nova Scotia balances long-term environmental, social and economic interests in managing the province's forests. In particular, the review has the mandate to examine the following components:

  1. Evaluate the effectiveness and identify opportunities to improve the legislation, regulations, policies and guidelines, as well as the science-based tools that determine whether and where harvesting occurs, as well as the harvesting methods (e.g.: clear cut, partial harvest) that can or should be used.
  2. Evaluate market access for private forest owners, particularly in the western region, and provide recommendations to address any identified issues.

Learn more:


You may contact the forest practices review by sending an email to Please note that you will receive an automatic response thanking you for your email. Your correspondence will be forwarded to Professor William Lahey for his consideration.


Last Updated: Jan. 23, 2018

Written Submissions and Meetings

Written Submissions

The Review has received more than 170 written submissions.  While the majority deal with the forestry practices aspect of the Review’s mandate, many focus on the Review’s mandate to consider market access issues.  All submissions are being read by Professor Lahey and analyzed by the Review team for issue identification, leading themes, useful information and interesting ideas.

Written submissions have arrived in many forms: some are formal submissions written in the style of policy documents addressing multiple issues, while many are informal emails dealing with very specific issues, often based on personal experience. 

Submissions in all styles and formats are welcomed, and can be sent to   

Meeting with Individuals and Representatives of Groups and Organizations

Professor Lahey has held more than 60 meetings involving over 140 groups and individuals.  Participants in the meetings held to date are listed here.

In November, Professor Lahey and other members of the Review team held a first round of “scoping” meetings with a cross section of groups and individuals, most of whom were invited by the Review to participate in this round of meetings.  The purpose of this first round of meetings was both to help the Review identify the issues that would be critical to its work and to hear a representative sampling of information, advice and opinion on those issues.  Through December, Professor Lahey and members of the Review team held meetings with a broader range of groups and individuals, most of whom requested a time to meet.  In these meetings, the Review’s listening has been informed by its first scoping round of meetings, written submissions, two days of briefing on forestry by the Department of Natural Resources and its own analysis of the issues and the applicable literature, including the various reports which contributed to or flowed from the development of the department’s Natural Resources Strategy that was released in 2011.  

Work of the Team of Expert Advisors

Professor Lahey recently held a three-day workshop in Halifax with most of his team of expert advisors: Professor Mac Hunter, who was unable to attend, provided written input, and Mr. Al Gorley will be consulted separately by Professor Lahey on matters within his particular area of expertise.  The names of team members, which were announced in November, can be found on the Review’s website.

This workshop gave the experts the opportunity to be briefed on the issues that have been identified in the Review, and to have a first round of discussions on the options the Review might consider for addressing those issues.  This included a discussion with officials of the Department of Natural Resources on the natural disturbance regime and related planning tools that are an important part of the Department’s approach to ecological forestry management.  As a result of the discussions that took place over the three days of the workshop, experts are now working on providing their written views to Professor Lahey on a wide range of issues of potential relevance to his report.    

Ongoing Listening, Upcoming Events and Ongoing Work

The Review will continue to welcome written submissions until its mandate is completed.  The Review is however more likely to have the opportunity to fully consider submissions it receives prior to or on January 31. 

Meetings with stakeholders who are interested in meeting with the Review are continuing.  By the end of January, the Review will be limiting further meetings to those that can be reasonably expected to offer new or different information or perspective to what the Review has already heard.  There may be continuing follow up with specific stakeholders to clarify points they have raised with the Review or to seek their further input on issues related to their input to the Review.

The Review will soon be receiving advice from the Forest Biodiversity Science Advisory Committee of the Department of Natural Resources on the biodiversity issues or questions it believes the Review should address or consider as it formulates conclusions and recommendations on forestry practices that will balance economic, social and environmental values. 
The membership of the Committee, can be found on the Review’s website.

Professor Lahey has asked Amanda Lavers, Executive Director of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute, for the Institute’s assistance in organizing and hosting multi-stakeholder discussions on the following two topics:

  • The condition of Nova Scotia’s forests and what is known and unknown about the condition of the forests; and
  • The options for creating an ongoing forum or forums for continuing multi-stakeholder discussion of and contribution to forestry policy in Nova Scotia.


This Institute’s website is at:

The team of experts will be continue to working together through technology for the balance of the Review.  In addition, the team will be brought together for at least one further multi-day workshop in Nova Scotia.

Expert Advisers

Bill Lahey has assembled a team that will assist him with the review. Although additional experts may be added in the future, the team currently consists of:

--Peter Duinker, professor at Dalhousie University's School for Resource and Environmental Studies with 30 years of experience in his field. He will assist with research and advisory services

--Al Gorley, former Assistant Deputy Minister with the British Columbia Forest Service and Chair of British Columbia's independent Forest Practices Board. He will advise on governance and policy aspects.

--Malcolm Hunter, professor at University of Maine, is a conservation biologist who focuses on forest ecosystems and the maintenance of their biological diversity. He is the co-author of a leading text on forest wildlife and forestry

--Robert Seymour, professor at University of Maine, is an expert on forest management practices. His expertise includes ecologically based tree-cultivation systems. He is active in forest certification processes

--Laird Van Damme, adjunct professor at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, Ont., and managing partner at KBM Resources, a forestry consulting firm. He will advise on forest practices

--Christopher Wedeles, with the consulting firm Arborvitae Environmental Services Ltd., will advise primarily on biodiversity, including wildlife issues

--Jeremy Williams, with the consulting firm Arborvitae Environmental Services Ltd., will advise on forestry economics

Prof. Lahey has also asked for advice from the Forest Biodiversity Science Advisory Committee of the Department of Natural Resources. The committee members are Prof. Duinker, Tom Herman (Acadia University), Thom Erdle (University of New Brunswick) and Graham Forbes (University of New Brunswick). Professors Sherman Boates (Acadia University) and Peter Bush (Dalhousie University) are with the department.

David Foster is a PhD student studying under Professor Duinker, and will undertake literature-based research on a range of forest practice themes and issues as identified by Professor Lahey.

Public Input
Prof. Lahey welcomes written submissions and the opportunity to meet directly with groups and individuals who have experience and knowledge on the topics identified for the review.

He will also conduct an in-depth review of the public input that was provided in the development of the Province's Natural Resources Strategy ("The Path We Share") and the Western Crown Land Planning Process.

In addition, options for further discussion of major issues with individuals and groups representing a full range of viewpoints, knowledge and experience are being developed and considered. The final report will provide a list of groups and individuals who contribute to the review through meetings or written submissions.

To make a written submission or arrange a meeting, please email