Nova Scotia's Forest Sustainability Regulations - Synposis and FAQ

Nova Scotia's Forest Sustainability Regulations

Sustaining Our Wood Supply Through Increased Silviculture

Information Leaflet FOR-3

New forestry regulations created during the spring of 2000 require certain forestry companies, based on their annual volume of wood acquired, to undertake annual silviculture work on private land. (Private land means all lands excluding Crown land.) Companies can meet the requirements of these regulations by carrying out a silviculture program on private lands, by contributing money to a special fund, or some combination of both.

The Regulations cover all privately owned woodlands and will result in a significant increase in silviculture funding. The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR) will continue to do its part to ensure that provincial Crown lands are properly managed.

Why are new forestry regulations needed?

In order to ensure that the current level of forest harvesting of privately owned woodlands is sustainable, there must be a significant increase in the amount of silviculture work completed.

Who is affected and what is expected of them?

Responsibilities of Registered Buyers
  Registered Buyers are forestry companies including businesses and individuals who; own or operate facilities that process primary forest products (e.g. sawmills), import or export primary forest products from Nova Scotia, acquire more than 1 000 cubic metres solid (454 cords) per year of firewood for sale, or acquire forest products to produce energy.

 Registered Buyers who acquire more than 5 000 cubic metres solid (2 270 cords) per year of wood from private lands are required to:

  • submit a wood acquisition plan (WAP) and year-end report to NSDNR by February 28 each year.
  • conduct a silviculture program or contribute to the Sustainable Forestry Fund in lieu of a program, or a combination of both.

If Registered Buyers choose to conduct a silviculture program they must:

  • ensure silviculture work is done to specified standards.
  • provide an annual report to NSDNR regarding completed silviculture work.

Opportunities for Private Woodland Owners
  The aim of silviculture is to manage a forest for specific objectives through stand tending, harvesting, and reforesting. A woodland owner whose property could be improved through silvicultural activity can ensure that work is done on their property by:


  • getting information from NSDNR and woodlot owner organizations.
  • contacting Registered Buyers, or silviculture contractors, to make their land available for silviculture work.
  • working with a Registered Buyer to have a silviculture contractor conduct the work for them or do the work themselves.
  • ensuring that the silviculture work completed on their land meets their objectives and is maintained for a specified period of time.

Opportunities for Forestry Contractors
There will be significantly more silviculture funding available for silviculture contractors who are often the link between forest companies and the landowner. Their roles include:

  • working with and/or for Registered Buyers and landowners to carry out required silviculture work.
  • acquiring and maintaining woodland-owner clients for conducting silviculture services.

Role of Government
The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources will participate in silviculture on private woodlands by:

  • establishing standards and administrative requirements for silviculture programs.
  • approving wood acquisition plans submitted by Registered Buyers.
  • monitoring work reported under wood acquisition plans.
  • providing information to woodlot owners, forest industries and the public.
  • making appropriate referrals, recommendations and investigations of complaints.
  • providing financial support (as budgets permit) to Registered Buyers to conduct approved silviculture programs.

Funding for Silviculture

  Registered Buyers are required to finance silviculture programs. There are a number of different funding arrangements for Registered Buyers, some of which may require an investment by the landowner, although generally Registered Buyers fund most of the cost of silviculture work. The Province may contribute annually to silviculture conducted by Registered Buyers through forest sustainability agreements.

News Release - "Province and Forestry Groups sign Silviculture Agreement"

Frequently Asked Questions About Funding

Q.  What is the Sustainable Forestry Fund andhow does it work?
A.  The SFF is a special fund established by a Government Order-in-Council. It providesRegistered Buyers with the option to pay $3.00 per cubic metre for softwood, or $0.60 per cubic metre for hardwood, into the fund rather than conducting their own silviculture program.

Q.  How will private woodland owners be able to obtain funding to do their own silviculture work?
A.  Contact Registered Buyers, silviculture contractors and/or woodlot owner organizations to find out what is available and negotiate acceptable terms. NSDNR offices can provide contact information.

Q.   How much funding is expected to be available for silviculture programs each year as a result of these regulations?
A.  Provincially, with full compliance, the expected total annual funding for silviculture on private land is expected to be approximately $9 million. As a specific example, a Registered Buyer with an annual wood acquisition of 100 000 cubic metres solid (45 400 cords) of softwood per year, must complete an annual silviculture program valued at $300,000 (100 000 m3 x $3.00 per m3).

Q.  If an area on my woodlot was harvested before the new forestry regulations became law, would I be eligible for silviculture funding, where none was set aside at the time my woodlot was cut?
A.  Yes, the Regulations do not place any limitations with respect to harvesting and follow-up silviculture. All private woodland is “eligible” under the Regulations. The various forest sustainability agreements all have their own eligibility criteria and procedures.

Q.  How can I access funding for silviculture work on my land?
A.  To find out who to contact, visit a NSDNR office or the NSDNR web site. Access to funding can be made through Registered Buyers that offer forest management programs or through designated contractors, consultants or groups working on behalf of Registered Buyers or delivering programs under the Sustainable Forestry Fund.

Q.   What are the treatment rates to be paid for silviculture?
 There is no standard rate schedule for silviculture work. Each Registered Buyer sets their own program rates.

Q.   Will I have to pay anything towards the cost of silviculture work?
 Each Registered Buyer must decide how to address the cost of the silviculture work to be carried out and negotiate with the landowner if any contribution is required.

Q.   What types of silviculture work will be eligible?
 Traditional silviculture treatments such as planting, weed control, pre-commercial thinning and commercial thinning are acceptable under these regulations. Natural regeneration, selection management, crop tree release and pruning will also be accepted to meet forest sustainability requirements. Silviculture work could be conducted on softwood, mixedwood and hardwood stand types.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Requirements of Registered Buyers

Q.  When are the Registered Buyers required to submit their first plans?
A. Registered Buyers who acquire more than 5 000 cubic metres solid (2 270 cords) from private lands in the year 2000 are required to submit a WAP by February 28, 2001 and February 28 each year thereafter.

Q.  How will Registered Buyers meet their requirements?
A. Registered Buyers may enter into contracts with contractors and/or landowners to carry out the required silviculture work. Or, they may choose to do the silviculture work with their own employees. Registered Buyers may also opt to pay directly into the Sustainable Forestry Fund.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Work Carried out by Silviculture Plans

Q. How does a silviculture contractor obtain work on a Registered Buyer’s silviculture plan?
A. Through direct negotiation between the Registered Buyer and silviculture contractor.

Q. Am I required to do silviculture on my land?
A. There is no legal requirement for a private landowner to conduct silviculture on their property, it remains the landowner’s choice. For the sake of an improved forest, landowners are encouraged to undertake silviculture work where appropriate.

Q. If I sold wood to a Registered Buyer, am I required to deal with them for silviculture also?
A. No, the Regulations do not require a landowner to deal with any individual Registered Buyer, nor to deal exclusively with only one buyer.

Q. As a landowner, if a company cuts wood on my land, are they required to return to that site to carry out silviculture work?
A. No, Registered Buyers will determine where and when the silviculture work will be completed. They will likely be very interested in finding possible silviculture treatment areas that could be part of their wood acquisition plans.

What If I Have a Complaint ?

Landowners who are unsuccessful in getting silviculture work done should contact the NSDNR to obtain a list of Registered Buyers and silviculture contractors. Department staff can also inform landowners about the process and opportunities under the Sustainability Regulations.

Any participants in the process who have questions or comments should feel free to contact the NSDNR to discuss their concerns.

Where to obtain more information:

  • ..about program standards and procedures,
  • extension materials, lists of Registered Buyers
  • and woodlot owners associations, Forest Strategy details, Forest Stewardship Programs and the Sustainable Forestry Fund.

1.   Visit a NSDNR Office.

2.  Contact the Registry of Buyers office.

By Telephone: 893-6270, 893-5652
By Fax: 893-5662 By E-mail: