More of Nova Scotia’s small woodlot owners will have greater access to changing markets and sustainable management plans, requiring forestry practices that meet today’s environmental and cultural standards thanks to a new woodlot certification program. The contract for the program was signed today, Nov. 18, in Halifax by Natural Resources Minister David Morse and members of the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners. Over four years, $575,000 will be provided to the federation as part of the province’s $1.5-million investment to support woodlot certification. “There are a growing number of buyers and consumers wanting certified wood products. Nova Scotia is delivering,” said Mr. Morse. “The purpose of this certification is to improve forest management and assure Canadians and forest product customers worldwide that our forests are in an ecologically sustainable manner.” Under the program, the federation will be providing small, independent landowners with forest management plans and training that comply with the Canadian Standards Association’s new Forest Management Standard for Woodlots. The investment in woodlot certification is part of the $2.52 million in funding from the Community Development Trust Fund announced Sept. 23 as part of the Forestry Joint Task Force Action Plan. The province’s first certification contract, valued at $850,000, was signed on Sept. 29. “This investment through the Community Development Trust Fund is key to helping ensure sustainable prosperity for Nova Scotia,” said acting Minister of Economic Development Jamie Muir. “This certification is not only more sustainable for the industry overall, it also provides greater access to regional and world markets.” There are about 33,000 small woodlot owners in Nova Scotia. Certification has been challenging because of costs. “We want woodlot owners and wood buyers to have certification options,” said Stan Ingraham, chair of the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners. “We chose the Canadian Standards Association’s new Forest Management Standard because it provides woodlot owners with flexibility, while achieving a high standard of sustainable forest management and market access.” The Community Development Trust Fund is designed to help communities that are experiencing severe economic hardship. The fund’s priorities are to enhance sustainable prosperity, diversify economic and trade opportunities, improve productivity, innovation and training, assist communities with transition planning, and help workers facing adjustment challenges. For a summary of the forestry joint task force recommendations and action plan, visit www.gov.ns.ca/natr/forestry . For more information on the Community Development Trust in Nova Scotia, go to www.gov.ns.ca/econ/cdtrust .