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Essay/Term paper: Forestry management

Essay, term paper, research paper:  High School Essays

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Forestry Management in Nova Scotia

The Canadian forest sector has been a strong and vital element of national and regional well being. Through the management, harvesting, processing and marketing of timber resources, Canada has developed a reputation of being one of the largest timber resources in the forest industry. However, to maintain this reputation and economic well being there are several issues to address in order to protect and sustain this renewable resource. This paper will focus on the management of the forestry sector, particularly Nova Scotia. It will discuss the initiatives and techniques used of both private wood-lot owners and large industries in developing and implementing a forest management strategy.

Nova Scotia is comprised of many forested ecosystems; hardwoods, others with softwoods and some with a mixture of both species. In order to maintain and develop these various ecosystems it is important to know how forest management impacts not only the forest itself but also other ecosystems within. For example, a clear-cut harvest can be compared to the same impact of a forest fire. However, forest fires do not remove everything which clear-cutting does. Recently clear-cutting techniques have changed to benefit Nova Scotia ecosystems by leaving clumps of trees, snags, and strips of forest to provide travel ways for wildlife. Forestry is also investigating other related issues of ecosystem management. To create and maintain the diversity of trees with a region (i.e. Hardwood and softwood), landowners leave several stands of both young and old growth within natural forest stands to enhance the biodiversity and health of the forest site. Normally clearcutting results in the re-planting of tree seedlings, however some species (spruce, pine) overpower the growth of the hardwood trees. This minimizes the level of specie diversity among a timber stand. By allowing these older sections of stands to remain aids to the natural growth and development of hardwood species. Also, the wood debris, a remnant of old forest growth is essential to the survival of many forest species and also acts as a recycler of nutrients back into the soil. During forest harvesting it is not always necessary to remove all the wood from the lot. Rotten or older growth can be left to contribute to the nourishment of natural forests.

There are several connections between forest and ecosystem management. By planning and researching forest growth and forest stand tending this industry can form the basis for various political guidelines and policies to ensure that timber resources are available for future generations

It should also be taken into consideration the hundreds of benefits our forests provide to Nova Scotians. These include thousands of jobs, lumber, paper products, clean air, water filtration and many recreational opportunities. In order to ensure that these benefits will exist for future use, studies of the growth rates of tended and untended trees are carried out. For example, trees can be thinned out (removing unwanted or less desirable trees) allowing the best trees to grow at a faster rate. In other cases, there are areas where trees are not naturally growing; new forests can be easily established by planting seedlings and protecting them from insects, various diseases and weeds. These activities are referred to as silviculture.

Silviculture is the art and science of growing forest crops so that they sustain desired benefits. The treatments used to cultivate stands to achieve their full potential id stand tending. The objective of stand tending is to evaluate and develop methods and management tools that will improve the cost, quality, and environmental capability of the forest sector. Currently in Nova Scotia both small wood-lot owners and commercial landowners have conducted research on silvicultural operations. This includes developing alternative regulation management strategies; commercial thinning in previously treated stands and developing techniques to maximize the value of the underutilized species. White pine is an example of an underutilized species in Nova Scotia. It is valuable for specialized production such as furniture and flooring. Techniques are being developed and new forestry sites established which will serve as a demonstration to show the public and industry the benefits of managing these valuable species.

There are essential elements of Nova Scotia's approach to forest management. It is important to recognize that although Nova Scotia is the second smallest province in Canada, eighty per cent of the province's land is forested (4.1 million hectares).

This large industry plays an important role in the province's economy. Nova Scotia's forests led to the early and continuous development of pulp/paper mills, saw mills, and secondary wood product manufacturing facilities. The recognition of this great economic potential of forest resources provided the basis for forest management policies in the province.

The demands on forest resources are constantly changing and Nova Scotia's Crown, large private, and small private woodlands had to meet the requirements to move towards a sustainable quality of wood products in order to remain competitive. This required that all wood-lot owners maintain a healthy and diversified forest ecosystem. In 1986 Nova Scotia announced its detailed forest policy. The main objectives of this policy were:

¨To achieve a healthier, more productive forest, capable of yielding

increased volumes of high quality products.

¨To encourage the development and management of private forest lands as the primary source of timber for industry in Nova Scotia.

¨To support private landowners to make the most productive use of their forest lands.

¨To achieve more effective management of all Crown lands.

¨To maintain or enhance fish and wildlife habitats, water quality, recreational opportunities, and associated resources of the forests.

¨To enhance the viability of our forest-based manufacturing industries.

¨To double forest protection by the year 2025.

¨To create more jobs immediately and in the long term through improved productivity.

This policy formed the core of the province's strategy for forest management. However this policy is an adapted and updated version of a long existing concern for the protection of depleting Nova Scotia forest resources. The Forest Improvement Act in 1965 had only three main objectives which were:

¨Provide continuous and increasing supplies of forest products thereby maintaining forest industries and providing continued employment.

¨Conserve water and prevent or reduce floods.

¨Improve conditions for wildlife, recreational and scenic values.

There are three areas of sustainable woodlot management that rely directly on the actions of the owners themselves, both corporate and private. These areas are Protecting, Promoting, and Utilization of Nova Scotia forests.

Forest protection is an essential component of any management strategy. It is to ensure that crown, pulp and paper companies, and small woodlot owners would be responsible for protecting young and old forests against disease and unnecessary cutting. Young forest stands are the future of woodlot crops. The Forest Improvement Act says that the commercial forest owner or his operator shall not cut immature stands of spruce, pine, hemlock, or yellow birch without the District Board's approval. These young forests had to be preserved until they were ready for harvest. "If we do cut these young forests we are cutting tomorrow's trees today." The only exception to this policy would be fi the landowner was cutting young growth to thin out the tree stands. This would be considered a form of silviculture to help promote growth and better quality trees.

Another aspect of the Forest Policy is to ensure that the province maintains its development and investment in fire control. In the past decade Nova Scotia has developed an effective forest fire detection capability and invested in new fire-fighting equipment including helicopters and extensive educational training programs. Also, The use of pesticides is important to forestry to maintain a sustainable wood supply. It can reduce the loss of trees to disease such as the budworm which caused extensive damage to Nova Scotia's woodlots in the late 1970's early 1980's. By applying a registered pesticide to woodlands decreases the threat of disease and allows trees a chance to get ahead of the competition.

Promoting future forests involves choosing a harvesting or cutting practice that will promote the establishment of new trees to replace those cut. This includes silviculture techniques previously described such as remaining diversified tree stands, planting seedlings and timber thinning. It also includes investing in specific harvesting machinery that is best fit to the species of trees cut. These factors all contribute to the promotion growth and development of future forests.

According to Nova Scotia's forest policy, waste is not acceptable. During harvesting woodlot owners should make every possible effort to harvest all merchantable wood. "Forest landowners and assisting forestry personnel must give every possible consideration to the principle that all trees that should be cut will be used for the best purpose. This will put the sawlogs to the sawmills and pulpwood to the pulpmills." By maximizing the utility of wood from Nova Scotia forests intern maximizes output and price and minimizes costs of harvesting.

Unlike many provinces, most of the forested land in Nova Scotia is privately owned approximately 69 per cent. (See exhibit 1) Today privately owned forestland is often left unmanaged because the cost of investing in the forest is a long-term proposition with a pay-off that exceeds the life expectancy of most individual owners.

The 1986 policy recognized the importance of private woodlot owners and provided government funded incentives to assist landowners in managing their lands. (See exhibit 2) However, this policy was developed at a time when public funding was available to offer private landowners in order to improve their productivity. These incentives amounted to full government reimbursement for woodlot silviculture treatments.

As long as federal/provincial funding was available for the conservation and development of privately owned woodlots, the incentive approach was obviously preferred. However recently the federal government terminated funding support and the incentive approach is no longer possible. In 1993 a Coalition of Nova Scotia Forest Interests made up of representatives from various organizations developed strategies that required all woodlot owners to adopt widespread standards for all forest lands. The coalition developed a universal code of forest practice that was adaptable under the Crown Lands Act and under private lands. (See Appendix 3)

Nova Scotia is committed to the goals of their forest strategy. Managed forests are more productive and often more diverse than unmanaged or mismanaged forests and they produce higher quality and quantities of wood. Public attitudes toward forests and the environment are changing. There is much concern for the depletion and conservation of Nova Scotia's forest resources. Forests must serve a wide range of society's needs and desires. Wood must be cut in an environmentally friendly manner with consideration for wildlife and other natural resources. However the landowners personal objectives will always play a big role in

how the woodlot is managed. Recent woodlot owner surveys show recreation and

non-timber uses in many cases exceed goals of timber production and profit for their

woodlands. To help ensure the survival of forests it is important for governments to insist that wood products must be purchased form managed forests. Proper harvesting with the future in mind is a key factor to ensure that forest resources will be available in the future.




1) Canadian Council of Forest Ministers. 1987. A National Forest Sector Strategy for

Canada. July 28-30, 1987. Minister of Supply and Services Canada.

2) Cooperation Agreement for Forestry Development. 1991-1995. Woodlot

Management Home Study Course. Module 2 Harvesting Systems.

Government of Canada.

3) Kaufert, Frank H. Forestry and Related Research in North America. 1995. Society

of American Foresters.

4) MacAskill, Ken. 1997. Nova Scotia Forest Production Survey. Nova Scotia Natural

Resources. Government document.

5) Natural Resources Canada. 1997. Criteria and Indicators of Sustainable forest

management in Canada. Canadian Council of forest Ministers.

6) Nova Scotia Cooperation Agreement for Forestry Development. 1994. Nova

Scotia's Forest Management Strategy. July 1994. Forestry Canada.

7) Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forests. 1990. Canada / Nova Scotia

Forest Resource Development Agreement 1982-1989 "An Overview."

December 13, 1990. Forestry Canada.

8) Nova Scotia Natural Resources. 1997. Toward Sustainable Forestry. Government


9) Provincial Forest Practices Improvement Board. 1976. Our Forests. Nova Scotia

Forestry Association.


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