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CPAWS welcomes Nova Scotia move to reduce clearcutting by 50%

HALIFAX – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes today’s announcement by the Nova Scotia government that it plans to reduce the allowable amount of clearcutting in Nova Scotia by 50% within 5 years.

“The forests are breathing a little easier today”, says Chris Miller, a senior conservation biologist with CPAWS.  “This is an intelligent decision by the Nova Scotia government”.

"The commitment to reduce clearcutting by 50% in 5 years is hugely significant for Canada. With 85% of forestry still conducted by clearcutting, this is a welcome move towards more sustainable practices,” says Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director.

A report by Global Forest Watch Canada released last week showed that less than 20% of Nova Scotia’s forests remains intact, one of the lowest percentages of any province in Canada. To be considered “intact”, a forest area must be greater than 500 hectares in size.

“Today’s announcement signals that Nova Scotia is prepared to turn the page on bad forest policy and transition towards more sustainable forest practices," adds Miller.

Over a half-million hectares of forest have been clearcut in Nova Scotia since the 1990’s.  The highest rates of disturbance have been in Central Nova Scotia, where 27% of Colchester County and 20% of Pictou County have been cut down over that time period.

The rampant clearcutting that’s occurred in Nova Scotia has caused a shift in the age of its forests to younger and younger stands.  Public outrage over recent biomass harvests has galvanized opposition to unsustainable forest practices.

“We can’t keep clearcutting our forests and expect to have a healthy forest industry in the future. The steps that the government is taking today will help ensure we have healthier forests tomorrow, and more opportunities to produce value-added forest products in the future,” says Miller.

Other strategic policy directions announced by the Nova Scotia government today include a ban on whole-tree harvesting and banning public funds for herbicide applications for forestry.

In the coming weeks and months, CPAWS will be closely monitoring the government plans for achieving its clearcutting target reductionsg.  CPAWS is calling on the province to:

  • Develop an independent and arm’s length system for tracking progress on reducing clearcuts
  • Provide annual progress reports that are publicly available
  • Enshrine the new clearcutting targets in law by adding them to the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

Clearcut photos are available.
For more information, contact:
Chris Miller, Ph.D.
National Manager
Wilderness Conservation and Climate Change
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
(902) 446-4155