News release

National Forest Week

Nova Scotia's forests play a vital role in the economic, environmental and physical well-being of all Nova Scotians.

Based on a rich and diverse resource, forestry contributes about $1.4 billion to this province's economy. In addition to its sales value, it provides 12,000 direct and 10,000 indirect jobs for Nova Scotians.

May 5 to 11 is National Forest Week. This week, consider the true value of Nova Scotia's forests and their significance in our environment, lifestyle and economy.

The Department of Natural Resources focuses on this every day. Its mission is to build a better future for Nova Scotians through responsible management of our natural resources.

To ensure that the forest resource is there in the future, the department has implemented the Forest Sustainability Regulations. These regulations became law in Nova Scotia in April 2000.

"Our wood supply analysis shows that our current harvest is sustainable as long as we manage the new forest wisely," said Natural Resources Minister Ernest Fage. "The new regulations help ensure there is a sustainable amount of wood fibre over the long term through increased silviculture activity."

The regulations tie the amount of harvest directly to the level of silviculture activity. Silviculture programs must be conducted on small private woodlots and industrial lands in proportion to the volumes of wood acquired from those lands.

Nova Scotia's new Wildlife Habitat and Watercourses Protection Regulations came into effect earlier this year. These regulations will help ensure the sustainability of woodland diversity, water quality and wildlife habitat on all lands in forest production. For example, they require that a strip of natural vegetation at least 20 metres (66 feet) wide be left along watercourses that are 50 centimetres (20 inches) or wider when trees are harvested in the area. Some harvesting is allowed inside this special management zone under certain conditions.

"The regulations were developed with the expertise of government, non-government, industry and public representatives," said Mr. Fage. "They reflect the minimum harvesting standards that all agreed are necessary to help maintain diversity of wildlife and water quality in Nova Scotia."

The department will work with industry and landowners to implement the new regulations, which evolved from the Forest/Wildlife Guidelines and Standards of 1989.

More information on these regulations and the forest strategy is available on the department's Web site at gov.ns.ca/natr/forestry/strategy .

Crown land silviculture programs are an integral part of ensuring that the province's forest resources are sustainable, said Mr Fage.

"About 85 per cent of Nova Scotia Crown land is productive forest land. That's more than one million hectares that we must ensure for the future."

The department is managing resources within its mandate by areas or ecosystems. Integrated resource management (IRM) is a planning process that considers a broad range of interests and values when planning land-use and resource-use activities.

"IRM strikes a balance among potential uses of the resource and the various interests, demands and benefits of resource uses," said Mr. Fage.

The department also supports private woodlot owners in their efforts to practice good forestry through education programs. These programs are designed to help Nova Scotians make well- informed choices concerning natural resource use. Provided by the extension division, the programs include school visits, home- study modules in woodlot management, woodlot field tours and information sessions for Christmas tree growers.

During National Forest Week, Natural Resources staff will visit Grade 6 classes throughout the province. Staff will talk with the students about the importance of our forests and will distribute seedlings the students can plant. As well, every Grade 6 class in the province will receive a National Forest Week package and poster.

The department is also working with the Nova Forest Alliance to place displays in malls in Yarmouth and Sydney during National Forest Week. A children's forest planting will take place in Hilden on May 7, and the Nova Scotia Envirothon competition will be held in Bible Hill May 9 to 11.

"Our forests are important to Nova Scotia," said Mr. Fage. "We must manage them wisely if they are to sustain the quality of life and economic and recreational benefits that we all enjoy."

For more information on activities and programs of the Department of Natural Resources visit the Web site at www.gov.ns.ca/natr .

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Contact:

Susan Mader Zinck
Natural Resources 902-424-5239 E-mail:
sac            April 30, 2002      9:39 A.M.