A report made public in August called for fundamental changes to how trees are harvested in Nova Scotia at the time. But three months later, the province has still not responded to any of the recommendations in the report.
According to federal figures, about 90 per cent of wood harvested in Nova Scotia is clear-cut. On Crown land, that number drops to 65 percent but the report is calling for it be reduced to between 20 and 25 per cent.
The author of the report, Bill Lahey, said there are risks if the province does not make changes.
“I think the fundamental one is healthy forests,” he said, “which are important for protecting ecosystems and biodiversity.”
In August, Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin said they would lay out a plan “soon.”
On Thursday, he said they are close.
“In the next week or two,” he said.
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But in the meantime, clear-cutting continues at the same rates. NDP Leader Gary Burrill has called it a big mistake on the part of the government.
“There’s a great public concern about the level of clear-cutting across the province, particularly in Crown land,” said Burrill.
“They could have said at the time of the issuing of the Lahey report, while we digest as a government these recommendations, we will bring a halt to clear-cutting on Crown land.”
Lahey acknowledged that the report has a lot of information to digest and that the call for a fundamental change is a big decision, but he said that he is anxious to hear what the government thinks of the report.
Lahey also said that he has heard concerns about how clear-cutting has not been reduced since the report’s release.
“The longer the government takes to answer, to express or communicate its position on the report, the greater the likelihood there will be people who are concerned that what they see happening on Crown land is inconsistent with what the report calls for,” he said.
Lahey’s report is the second in eight years to call for a reduction in clear-cutting. A report in 2010 titled Restoring the Health of Nova Scotia’s Forests called on the government to reduce clear-cutting to 50 per cent.
It prompted a natural resources strategy, but clear-cutting reduction targets were not met.
Rankin has said that there will be changes that “may impact the volume of clear-cutting” but has so far not given any indications if it will be accepting the report’s recommendations or details on what the changes might be.
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