Forestry practices impact the landscape, and good planning with sound ecological management can go a long way towards preventing damage to wildlife habitat. Both large forestry companies and small woodlot owners are a vital component for the stewardship of species at risk in forested landscapes. In Nova Scotia, many forestry activities occur on privately owned land and woodlot owners can make a huge difference by using sustainable forestry techniques. The following are recommended forestry practices for lands with species at risk.
Plan harvest activities around peak wildlife nesting and breeding season.
Avoid intensive harvesting, clearing, and grubbing during peak nesting and breeding times (between May 15th and July 15th) to benefit birds, turtles, and many other species.
Practice uneven-aged management using techniques such as (but not limited to) selection harvesting and patch cutting.
Currently, even-aged management through clearcutting is the most common harvest practice in Nova Scotia. This creates a forest with trees that are of one age class and similar height. Pioneer species such as Balsam Fir and White Birch may be found in even-aged stands in greater densities than would occur naturally because of their natural disturbance patterns. On the other hand, uneven-aged management helps to maintain a forest’s natural biodiversity and structural components by maintaining forest cover, improving stand quality, and encouraging a diversity of ages and species. Uneven-aged management offers long-term rewards such as an increase in the harvest volume of select valuable trees, which can benefit landowners and the creatures that share their lands. High value trees that thrive in uneven-aged Acadian forests include Red Spruce, Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch, and Eastern Hemlock.
Maintain the natural vegetation and forest canopy around watercourses.
Practicing uneven-aged management will help to maintain the forest canopy throughout the woodlot and will be beneficial to wildlife. If you are practicing even-aged management, the Nova Scotia Forests Act requires a 20 m Special Management Zone along watercourses with limited harvesting and a 7 m machinery exclusion zone. A vegetated zone that is at least one to two tree lengths would be better, with 100 m (330 feet) ideal. Mature trees along watercourses not only provide habitat for many animals, but also cast shade and help cool waters. This benefits aquatic life and is critical for fish such as salmon. 
Leave at least 30 m (100 feet) of vegetation around woodland pools and wet areas.
Woodland pools and wet areas are small depressions that collect rain and spring melt water to form shallow pools. They are not wet continuously, and fill and drain throughout the year. Woodland pools and wet areas do not fall under the official wetland status but are important habitat for Blanding’s Turtles and breeding areas for frogs and salamanders. Walking through your woodlot and using practices such as tree marking may make it easier to find and identify woodland pools and wet areas.
Keep logging roads at least 150 m (500 feet) from lake shorelines and wetlands.
Carry out harvesting and road construction in late summer and early fall. Avoid using equipment that causes deep ruts, scarification of soils, and siltation run-off and logging roads that parallel linear waterways such as brooks, rivers, and streams. If logging roads will not be used or maintained, consider decommissioning them by using barricades to discourage traffic after operations are completed.
Leave dead and dying wood in your woodlot.
Dead wood supports a vast spectrum of wildlife. Leaving some standing and fallen dead trees in your woodlot helps to increase biological diversity and will eventually enrich forest soil. Trees that fall or bend into the water create unique conditions for some species and should be left in place too. 
Construct stream crossings on all streams wider than 50 cm.
Provincial regulations require the construction of a temporary stream crossing on all streams wider than 50 cm. This reduces the silting of brooks and allows for fish passage. More permanent crossings require a bridge or culvert and must be installed by a professional. For more information, consult the Contractors and Operators Best Management Practices Manual in the resource section.
Learn about Special Management Practices (SMPs) for species at risk. 
Special Management Practices for some species at risk are applied on Crown Lands in Nova Scotia. Consult your local NS DNR office to learn more about SMPs and how they can help inform planning to reduce impacts on species at risk.
Guide to FSC Certification for Woodlot Owners in Nova Scotia
Created to help woodland owners gain a better understanding of FSC Forest Certification and to provide answers to some common questions woodland owners might ask when considering forest certification and whether to join a group of certified woodland owners.
View online at the above link or email for more information.
Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operations Association, 1-855-NS-WOODS,,
An independent organization of woodlot owners and operators that achieve prosperity, stewardship, and solidarity through the practice of ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable forestry practices. The association holds an annual field day to promote and teach uneven-aged management techniques by visiting woodlots and woodlot owners who are practicing it.
Contractors and Operators Best Management Practices Manual
Produced by the Nova Forest Alliance. To purchase (for $20) call 902-639-2921 or order it online.
Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide to Forest Stewardship for Woodlot Owners in the Maritimes
This guide provides an introduction to the life and workings of the Acadian Forest and techniques for restoring economic and ecological value to woodlots. To purchase (for $25) visit the website above or contact the author Jamie Simpson at
Woodlot Management Home Study Program
Online modules by the Department of Natural Resources for those who want to learn more about managing their woodlands. Visit the website to get started or call 1-866-226-7577 for more information.