Mi'kmaw Forestry Initiative launched for two blocks of Crown land

The provincial government and the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia have announced a three-year pilot project to give the Mi'kmaq forest planning and management responsibility on two blocks of Crown land.

Government says the Mi'kmaw Forestry Initiative will create opportunities for jobs, training, and Mi'kmaw businesses in silviculture and harvesting, adding that this will help in the development of a longer-term agreement.

The Crown land in question, totaling about 20,000 hectares, consists of one block in the St. Croix area of Hants County and another in Digby and Annapolis counties.

The province will contribute $600,000 over three years, while the Mi'kmaq have secured $873,600 from the federal government to support forest planning.

Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin says, "We share a common goal of ecological forestry and it makes sense that the Mi'kmaq should have a greater role in the health of our forests."

Chief Rod Googoo, forestry lead for the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi'kmaq Chiefs, says, "The Mi'kmaw Forestry Initiative will see the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia be architects of a system to develop their own expertise in forestry and land management, while still being mindful of our traditionally held values of resource management and protection."