A historic report from the Colin Stewart Forest Forum will play an important part in the government's approach to protect 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land base by 2015.
It marks an unprecedented collaboration between large forestry companies and environmental organizations who worked as a team to produce the report, which was released by government today, Dec. 22, at a ceremony at Province House.
"The innovative work of the forum, along with the $75 million the province recently announced for land acquisition, will greatly help our ongoing efforts to reach our 12 per cent protection goal," said Sterling Belliveau, Minister of Environment. "We greatly appreciate the forum's input and look forward to more input in future consultations with Nova Scotians."
The report, which took five years to prepare, was presented to the province Nov. 19.
"Protecting the natural beauty of our province and ensuring we have a sustainable forestry industry is important to Nova Scotia, and our rural economy," said John MacDonell, Minister of Natural Resources. "I would like to thank members of the forum for partnering with us and contributing to the province's efforts to protect 12 per cent of our land base."
Government's approach to achieve the land protection goal includes three main parts:
- designation of protected areas of Crown lands
- private-land protection with help from private-land trusts and land owners
- land purchases to fill gaps in provincial protected areas and reduce the effect of land protection on industrial and other land uses
The province's approach will determine which parcels of land to protect. It will include a strategy to acquire lands, and provide opportunity for extensive public input. It will also address wood supply and cost impacts to forestry companies, and potential effects on forestry, mining and other industries.
Many groups will be consulted, including community and environmental groups, municipalities, forestry, mining and other industrial sectors and Nova Scotians. Talks with Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq and government departments have begun.
The forum is named for the late Colin Stewart, a well-respected ecologist and environmental advocate.
"Our report to the province embodies the success of Colin Stewart's vision," said Peter Duinker, who speaks for the forum. "He saw environmental groups and forestry industry representatives collaborating on ways to protect lands while recognizing the need for an economically sustainable forestry sector."
Nova Scotia's protected areas are set aside from development and help to preserve the province's wilderness. To date, 8.5 per cent of Nova Scotia's land base is legally protected.
The Colin Stewart Forest Forum report and more information about the provincial 12 per cent land protection approach are available at www.gov.ns.ca/nse/protectedareas .
FOR BROADCAST USE:
A historic report from the Colin Stewart Forest Forum will be an important part of government's work to protect 12 per cent of Nova Scotia's land.
Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau says the forum's work will complement the 75 million dollars the province recently announced for land protection.
The forum is a unique collaboration of forestry industry, and environmental groups.
Natural Resources Minister John MacDonell says the forum's report will help the province plan land protection and accommodate forestry activity.
The province's protected areas approach includes opportunities for extensive public input.