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The provincial government, in partnership with the Forestry Transition Team, is asking the province’s more than 30,000 private woodland owners to complete an online survey.
The government said the survey, intended for individuals and companies that own at least 10 acres of woodland, will help them and their partners understand the motivations for private land use and the associated management practices.
"Nova Scotians have a strong connection to our forests and creating a forest culture that balances forest stewardship and rural economic development must involve private woodland owners across the province," said Minister of Lands and Forestry Derek Mombourquette, the MLA for Sydney-Whitney Pier.
"As landowners make decisions about how they use and manage their woodlands, we want to hear from them and ensure they have access to information, programs and other resources that can help them meet their goals."
The results from the survey, which was launched Jan. 20, will “inform the development and delivery of government programs and services, improve information sharing and education, and support woodland-owner-led solutions in advancing environmental, social and economic goals,” according to the Department of Lands and Forestry.
So far, the province’s moves to apply its new ecological forestry model have focused on Crown land policies. The transition team, however, has recognized woodland owner leadership as one of its four transition priorities.
The transition team will also be holding online focus groups with private woodland owners this winter.
“This survey is a great way to gather information on a huge part of forestry in Nova Scotia — our private woodlot owners,” said Kirsten Campbell, manager at the Cape Breton Privateland Partnership.
“Nova Scotia is a stunning province; its forests are as diverse as its private landowners and their goals. The survey will provide up to date insight on what those goals are and what folks might need to achieve them.”
Campbell said that private woodlot owners are dynamic, no longer as streamlined as they once were and aren’t “’living off the land as much” or requiring income directly from their woodlot.
“The survey is quite timely, as people seem to be purchasing acres of vacant land in rural areas, especially throughout Cape Breton.”
To learn more and participate in the survey, visit https://novascotia.ca/natr/consultation/woodland-owner-survey.asp.
Jessica Smith is a reporter with the Cape Breton Post.