December 12, 2012
Two progressive forestry-related announcements provided some early Christmas cheer for Nova Scotians who are passionate about wilderness conservation, sustainable forest management and community-based forestry.
On Monday, Premier Darrel Dexter announced the Community Forests Expression of Interest, which will allow community groups and businesses to organize and express their interest in managing community forests. After this initial phase, more detailed proposals will be developed for the eventual creation of community forests on Crown land.
“We are very pleased to see government follow through on the commitment they made through the Natural Resources Strategy to explore options for community forests on Crown land. This important first step will position Nova Scotia to begin establishing community forests in the province” said Matt Miller, Ecology Action Centre’s Forestry Program Coordinator.
“Through a collaborative governance structure and a “forest first” approach – one that puts the health of the forest at the forefront of decision making – community forests can generate long-term rural economic development, foster strong environmental stewardship, encourage social innovation, and provide a sustainable wood supply to support existing and new wood product industries” Miller continued.
On Tuesday, the province announced the details of an agreement with Resolute Forest Products, owners of the former Bowater-Mersey paper mill in Liverpool, which saw the province acquire 550,000 acres of prime forest land in southwest Nova Scotia. Much of these lands have high ecological value and are home to valuable species-at-risk habitat and old growth forests.
“We are very pleased that the province has acquired the Bowater Mersey woodlands. This purchase increases our comparatively small Crown land base and ensures that these valuable lands come under the control of Nova Scotians rather than some foreign company with little regard for our land or our people. ” said Raymond Plourde, EAC’s Wilderness Coordinator. “The government should now move quickly to protect the roughly 30,000 acres of high-conservation value areas on that land while making plans for more ecologically-appropriate forest harvesting practices on the rest of the land base.”