On Oct. 9, 2014 the Department of Natural Resources announced 10-year licenses for mills to harvest on Western Crown lands. On Oct. 23, to begin public engagement around fibre harvesting, the department began to post maps on a county-by-county basis, that indicate where harvesting will take place and what harvesting method will be used. Each map also includes a closing date for public comments on each of the proposed harvest sites, which is 20 days after the harvest site is first posted; the department will respond to those comments within 10 days.
Harvesting will either be a partial harvest or clear-cut. To learn more about the harvesting types prescribed on Crown lands, please visit http://novascotia.ca/natr/forestry/programs/timberman/harvesting.asp. To learn more about the definition of a clear-cut please visit http://novascotia.ca/natr/strategy/clear-cut-definition.asp
If a planned harvest method is changed to clear-cut for any reason, that map will also be updated and there will be an additional 7 to 10-day comment period.
These maps are available for harvest plans up to April, 2016.
As part of its continual efforts in public engagement and commitment to share all harvest plans on Crown lands, the department has launched the Harvest Plan Map Viewer (HPMV) to better enable the public to view and comment on harvest plans. The viewer contains tools that enable the user to send comments or a request for a harvest plan pre-treatment assessment (PTA) directly to the Licensee responsible for harvesting.
The Pre-Treatment Assessment (PTA) is an analysis of data that is collected on-site in the forest using typical forest measurement techniques in order to determine the most appropriate forest management treatment. These measurements include identifying tree species, diameter, height, condition of the trees, and soil type. This data is processed either manually or automatically through forest management guides (FMG) that are designed for various forest types. The FMG will determine the harvest treatment that best emulates the natural disturbance regimes to support ecological processes and to identify silviculture prescriptions that protect and/or encourage natural regeneration or identify sites for manual tree planting.
The tree species and their condition, the amount of established regeneration, soil type, and the ability of the forest to stand up to wind disturbance have an influence on the harvest prescription. For example, shallow rooted trees on rocky soils on an exposed hillside will not support a partial harvest or thinning. These sites would be at risk of tree blowdown.
To learn more about the PTA please visit http://novascotia.ca/natr/forestry/programs/timberman/pta.asp.
Each harvest plan on the HPMV also includes a closing date for public comments on each of the proposed harvest sites, which is 20 days after the harvest site is first posted. If a planned harvest method is changed to clear-cut for any reason, that map will also be updated and there will be an additional 10 days to comment. Harvest plans that are new to the map, whether they are open for comments or the comment period has expired, and the planned harvest method are all identified on the HPMV.
How Often Will Maps Be Posted or Updated
Maps on the HPMV will be updated on an approximately ten day cycle.
How to Comment on Harvest Plans
The HPMV has a tool available which allows for sending comments directly by clicking on the applicable harvest plan.
Your comment will automatically include the harvest area reference number indicated on the map. After the comment period closes, we will use a 3-point scale that will provide a measure of the relevance and impact of each comment. The Licensees may begin harvesting on any plan for which no comments have been received or which the department determines there is insufficient need to postpone the harvest.
The department is currently working with stakeholders to develop an engagement process about key forestry initiatives; the comments received will be considered as the longer-term engagement process is finalized.
Harvest Considerations and Approvals
Before maps are posted, DNR forestry experts review the proposed harvest plans and determine if they are appropriate. They consider protected areas, wildlife habitat, geological information, known recreational activities and areas of significance to Mi’kmaq. Special harvest management practices (Special Management Practices website ) may be necessary if there are environmental concerns that must be addressed.
• To better understand some of the considerations that go into deciding how a stand of trees will be harvested, please view this presentation.
Western Crown Forest Certification
The Department of Natural Resources is committed to maintaining the existing forest certification on its Western Crown lands. Forest certification is a third party system that verifies conformance with recognized forest management standards. The certified Western Crown is made up of three different districts: Medway District (Annapolis County), South Shore Rossignol District (Queens/Shelburne Counties) and St. Margarets Bay District (Halifax/Hants Counties). All of the districts are certified to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standard.