Nova Scotia to ban whole-tree harvesting
July 18, 2013 – The province of Nova Scotia will ban whole-tree and full-tree harvesting to ensure that the forestry sector remains sustainable for the future.
Whole-tree harvesting removes the entire tree, including stem, branches, stump and roots, out of a forest site to a landing or roadside.
In full-tree harvesting, the stump and roots remain at the forest site, but the stem and branches are removed.
"Nova Scotians clearly told us they were opposed to both of these practices and we are honouring our commitment to ban them," said Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. "These practices were allowed to go on for too long, and we are making the right decision for the health of the forests and the sustainability of the forest industry."
In December 2010, the province said it would stop the removal of whole trees from the forests so that woody debris would remain to nurture new growth. The Path We Share, the province's natural resources strategy, promised to establish rules for whole-tree harvesting and to incorporate them into the Code of Forest Practice.
The Christmas tree industry is exempt from these rules, as are non-forestry operations such as land-clearing, real estate, and agriculture.
The province reviewed full tree harvesting practices across Canada and related scientific literature.
"Ending whole-tree harvesting is a very positive step forward for the forests of Nova Scotia," said Tom Miller, owner of Bearwood Farms, woodlot owner of the year in 2005, and a wood harvester for more than 35 years. "This is a good news story for the future sustainability of our woodlands. The province is to be commended for their handling of this issue."
Amendments to the Wildlife Habitat and Watercourses Protection Regulations will be made accordingly.
"Our next step is to give the public time to review and comment on these proposed regulations, as required under the Forests Act," said Mr. Parker.
The public may submit comments until August 20 on the Natural Resources website at www.novascotia.ca/natr.
Whole-tree operations in Nova Scotia harvest less than 100,000 green metric tonnes. That represents less than four per cent of the total annual provincial tree harvest.
The province has worked closely with woodlot owners, harvesters and other forestry stakeholders for the past three years to improve harvesting methods, and invested in the sector by providing funding for training; all while dealing with significant changes in the mills sector.