THE CANADIAN PRESS –HALIFAX — A new review of Nova Scotia’s forestry practices is calling for fundamental changes to the way trees are harvested in the province.
The report by University of Kings College president Bill Lahey says forest practices should be guided by a new paradigm called “ecological forestry” which treats forests “first and foremost” as ecosystems.
Lahey says the controversial practice of clearcutting would be acceptable in some even-aged forests of predominantly single softwood species.
However, Lahey says alternatives to clearcutting should generally be used where the forest is of the mixed-species, multi-aged variety.
The report says the province should adopt a so-called triad model that sees some forests protected from all forestry; some forests that are dedicated to high production forestry including clearcutting; and forests that are harvested with a “lighter touch” and limited clearcutting.
The report says its recommended changes are estimated to reduce clearcutting from 65 percent of all harvesting on Crown land to between 20 and 25 percent.
About 90 percent of wood harvested in Nova Scotia is clear-cut, according to federal figures.
Announced last Aug. 30, Lahey’s review was originally due in February, but extensions were granted in order to complete the report and then to have it reviewed by advisors in international law and forestry economics.