“We are pleased with our progress and the forest management we carry out,”  said Derek Geldart, the woodlands manager for the paper company, in a press release.

“Ensuring the long term sustainability of the forest we manage in eastern Nova Scotia is important to us and we have significantly reduced our reliance on clearcutting, with more than 40 per cent of our harvests being non-clearcut. We continue to implement an ecosystem classification system to support forest management decisions which ensures this continues.”

The Cape Breton paper company says it is the only industrial company in the Maritimes that’s independently certified to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Forest Management Standards.

And in its fifth year of operation, the company is enjoying some of its best third-party forest certification audit results to date.

Geldart said that woodlands staff and more than 400 others are directly involved with implementing that forest management plans to supply Port Hawkesbury Paper and other mills.

As part of the company’s stewardship council certification, a ‘high conservation value forest assessment report’ has been completed, which includes protection on 36 per cent of their managed lands.

A total of 60 values were identified for special management or protection, including species at risk, large intact forest landscapes, municipal water supply areas, watersheds, protected areas, steep slopes, viewscapes, and culturally significant sites for indigenous people.

Port Hawkesbury Paper continues to invest in training and technology to support its woodlands operations, according to Geldart.

He said harvesting machines they manage are equipped with GPS navigation and tracking systems, so that they able to better plan forestry operations and monitor results.

Professional trainers are actively working with operators to fully utilize the technology and to improve productivity, too.

“This goes beyond proper harvesting techniques” said Andrew Fedora, Port Hawkesbury Paper’s leader in sustainability and outreach, in a press release.

“It teaches contractors the importance of environmentally responsible forestry; they learn what to do, how to do it and why it is vital.”