By moving away
from clearcutting, Nova Scotia can have a forest industry that:
the structural characteristics of the forest
- preserves biodiversity
- can co-exist with
other forest uses like recreation
- provides a stable
local economy and long-term employment
harvesting, or uneven-aged forest management, refers to the cutting of
single trees or small groups of trees at a time. While more labour intensive
than clearcutting, selection harvesting allows a landowner to harvest
timber while maintaining or restoring the species, genetic, and structural
diversity of a natural forest. Indicators of good selection harvesting
include a closed forest canopy, a diversity of tree species and ages that
mirrors natural conditions, and lots of dead wood on the forest floor
and as standing "snags".
Some landowners use a method called "slow grading", wherein the slowest
growing trees in a stand are targeted for harvesting while other trees
are left to grow to their full potential. Some trees, like those that
provide cavities for nesting birds or are of species that are under-represented
in the stand, are left alone. In this manner wood cutting need not diminish
the volume of standing timber over time, nor simplify the forest ecosystem.
From an economic perspective, good selection harvesting can be thought
of as "harvesting the interest" - accruing a modest economic benefit from
the forest on a regular basis (e.g., every year, every five years) forever.
Clearcutting, by contrast, provides a windfall in Year One, followed by
several decades with nothing to harvest. It is like liquidating the capital
that is the forest. The proven long-term sustainability of selection harvesting
makes it an attractive choice for wood-lot owners who want to retain the
long-term value of their property.
To hear from landowners who have embraced selection harvesting and other
low impact forestry methods in this region, check out the examples at
These case studies are from New Brunswick, but many of the forests there
are similar to those found in Nova Scotia.
While some contractors limit the impacts of harvesting by using light
machinery like tractors or small skidders, Nova Scotia also has several
horse loggers. Click here for a horse
logging directory for Nova Scotia and here for a list of Nagaya/FSC Certified Forest Products available in Nova Scotia.