Feedback sought on Wood Pellet Association of Canada’s Regional Risk Assessment for sourcing biomass from Nova Scotia’s harvestable forest land base 16Jun2024

Please, all stakeholders, register and review this RRA (Regional Risk Assessment). A wide range of stakeholders is considered relevant.

One of the ways I attempt to keep up with News related to forests and forestry in Nova Scotia is by subscribing to a Google Alert, specifying “Forestry, Forests, Nova Scotia” as the topic.

Under my Alert this am:

Clicking on it takes one to https://biomassrra.ca/nova-scotia/
where I learned that the Wood Pellet Association of Canada has conducted a “Regional Risk Assessment” for Nova Scotia, and is seeking input from stakeholders.

Information was compiled from the experience and knowledge of consultants, interviews with experts, applicable legislation, reports from provincial authorities and other stakeholders, various databases, and statistical data sources.Regional Risk Assessments (RRA) are a part of the Sustainable Biomass Program’s (SBP’s) approach to identifying and mitigating risks associated with sustainably sourcing feedstock for biomass pellet and wood chip production An RRA  evaluates an entire geographic region to determine the risks associated with sourcing biomass feedstock  from that region. The process that must be followed is set out in  SBP Regional Risk Assessment Procedure Version 1.2. The certification system is intended to provide assurance that woody biomass is made from legal and sustainable sources.

Feedstock must be evaluated against a set of 42 Indicators using a risk-based approach to count toward an SBP-compliant claim.

The scope of the Regional Risk Assessment for Nova Scotia (RRA-NS) is Nova Scotia’s harvestable forest land base.

…The Working Body will soon be seeking Stakeholder input on the Nova Scotia RRA. Register above to be notified when the comment period is open.

It’s not indicated on that page when this notice was issued but presumably it is recent.

Based on the indicators (see list below) it appears to be a pretty thorough process to evaluate biomass production in regard to its legality, environmental impacts, and social justice.  A wide range of stakeholders are considered relevant (see list below).

So please, all stakeholders, register and review this RRA.

Thx – david p


MORE INFO
RRA (www. biomassrra.ca/: REGIONAL RISK ASSESSMENTS FOR SOURCING FOREST BIOMASS IN CANADA)
The Sustainable Biomass Program – The promise of Good Biomass (www sbp-cert.org/)
SBP Regional Risk Assessment Procedure 18 page doc, cited as Version 1.2 May 2021
‘Proving the story of sustainability’: Q&A with SBP’s Brenda Hopkin Article in Canadian Biomass, Mar 2, 2022 “Brenda Hopkin has been involved in the consulting world since the mid-1980’s and she established her own business, Hopkin Forest Management in the mid-1990’s. In 1999, she began working in sustainable forest management with forest companies, helping them become certified to different standards. In 2016, she joined the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP). She is now leading the SBP Regional Risk Assessments across Canada, helping to promote the wood pellet industry’s sustainability story.”
SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment for BC published Article in Canadian Biomass, Aug 13, 2021 By Sustainable Biomass Program, provides a link to the “SBP-endorsed Regional Risk Assessment for the province of British Columbia, Canada and the SBP response to consultation, summarizing the comments received from stakeholders.” – but currently it leads to “File Not Found”
The Wood Pellet Association of Canada
Certification systems of relevance to SBP Document on SBP website

Related Post: BDO Zone Initiative issues an “A-rating” for Southwest Nova Scotia as a location to develop “Bioeconomy Projects” 4Feb2024
by David Patriquin on versicolor.ca/nstriad “This latest “Bioeconomy” initiative would involve use of 550,000 green metric tons per year of sawmill residuals and by-product wood fibre from the forest sector. In the formal BDO Zone Report, cautions are expressed that are not amongst the highlights cited in PR lit about the Bioeconomy prospects for SW Nova Scotia and presumably are amongst the reasons that a higher rating (AAA or AA versus the A-rating given) was not realized, e.g. related to nutrient limitations, uncertainty about buy-in of private woodlot owners, sustainability concerns and associated public opinion.”

Fig 1.2 In the  Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia: Addendum

It’s worth recalling that concerns about Biomass Harvesting were a major factor leading  to the Independent (Lahey) Review of Forest Practices of 2018, although not addressed in the recommendations. View Plourde/EAC offer constructive analysis of The Report from the Independent Review and suggest ten things the government should do immediately, post on NSFN Sep 8, 2018 Said Plourde: “I asked Lahey why biomass was missing from his report at the stakeholder briefing and he gave two answers: 1. “We really didn’t hear that much about biomass during our consultation” (Wrong!) and 2. “We decided that we would not be looking at end uses” (What?) In the [Plourde’s] op-ed, Plourde pointedly reproduces Fig 1.2 from the Report Addendum, which summarizes in a bar graph the issues identified in submissions to The Review. “Biomass” was #1.”  So, Biomass Harvesting issues have not yet been well vetted/reviewed in Nova Scotia

MORE ON THE RRA

From https://biomassrra.ca/about/

What are Regional Risk Assessments (RRA)?
Regional Risk Assessments (RRA) are a part of the Sustainable Biomass Program’s (SBP’s) approach for identifying and mitigating risks associated with sustainably sourcing fibre (feedstock) for biomass pellet and wood chip production.

An RRA  evaluates an entire geographic region to determine the risks associated with sourcing biomass fibre from that region. The process that must be followed is set out in  SBP’s RRA Procedure Version 1.1. The certification system is intended to provide assurance that woody biomass is made from legal and sustainable sources.

The Wood Pellet Association of Canada mandated a Working Body to conduct RRAs for the provinces of British Columbia, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

& more info is provided under the headings
What is the Process of a RRA?
Who is the Working Body (WB)?
Who Funds the Canadian Regional Risk Assessments?
What is the Sustainable Biomass Program (SBP)?

From SBP Regional Risk Assessment Procedure PDF page 16:

Annex 1: Stakeholder groups to be consulted in the RRA process
1 Economic interests
a) Forest owners and/or managers of large, medium and small forests; high-, medium- and low-intensity managed forests;
b) Forest contractors (including loggers);
c) Representatives of forest workers and forest industries;
d) Stakeholders in the regional biomass sector, including producers of woody biomass for
energy production and associated supply chain actors; and
e) Certificate Holders of relevant certification schemes, including FSC, PEFC, SBP and SFI.
2  Social interests
a) NGOs involved or with an interest in social aspects of forest management and other related
operations;
b) Forest workers association;
c) International, national and local trade/labour unions;
d) Representatives of local communities involved or with an interest in forest management;
e) Representatives of indigenous peoples and/or traditional peoples (if present and/or holding
rights); and
f) Representatives of recreation interests, where present.
3 Environmental interests
a) NGOs involved or with an interest in the environmental aspects of forest management.
Consultation should target the following areas of interest and expertise:
– Biological diversity;
– Water and soil;
– Environmental-related High Conservation Values; and
Focusing on sustainable sourcing solutions
SBP Regional Risk Assessment Procedure v1.1 Page 15
– Development of renewable and sustainable energy resources.
b) Local communities and indigenous peoples’ representatives.
4 Certification Bodies that are actively involved in forest certifications within the country
5 National and state forest agencies
6 Experts in Controlled Wood and other relevant feedstock categories
7 Research institutions and universities 8 Official representatives of forestry certification schemes (for example,. FSC, PEFC) from offices in the region

 Annex 2: SBP risk reporting template

Indicators:

Example of the template for responses to a specific indicator (screen capture)

1.1.1 The Supply Base is defined and mapped.
1.1.2 Feedstock can be traced back to the defined Supply Base.
1.1.3 The feedstock input profile is described and categorized by the mix of inputs.
1.2.1 Legality of ownership and land use can be demonstrated for the Supply Base.
1.3.1 Feedstock is legally harvested and supplied and is in compliance with EUTR legality
requirements.
1.4.1 Payments for harvest rights and timber, including duties, relevant royalties and taxes
related to timber harvesting, are complete and up to date.
1.5.1 Feedstock is supplied in compliance with the requirements of CITES.
1.6.1 Feedstock is not sourced from areas where there are violations of traditional or civil
rights.
2.1.1 Forests and other areas with high conservation values in the Supply Base are identified
and mapped.
2.1.2 Potential threats to forests and other areas with high conservation values from forest
management activities are identified and addressed.
2.1.3 Feedstock is not sourced from forests converted to production plantation forest or nonforest lands after January 2008.
2.2.1 Feedstock is sourced from forests where there is appropriate assessment of impacts,
and planning, implementation and monitoring to minimise them.
2.2.2 Feedstock is sourced from forests where management maintains or improves soil
quality.
2.2.3 Key ecosystems and habitats are conserved or set aside in their natural state.
2.2.4 Biodiversity is protected.
2.2.5 The process of residue removal minimises harm to ecosystems.
2.2.6 Negative impacts on ground water, surface water, and water downstream from forest
management are minimised.
2.2.7 Air quality is not adversely affected by forest management activities.
2.2.8 There is controlled and appropriate use of chemicals, and that Integrated pest
management (IPM) is implemented wherever possible in forest management activities.
2.2.9 Methods of waste disposal minimise negative impacts on forest ecosystems.
2.3.1 Analysis shows that feedstock harvesting does not exceed the long-term production
capacity of the forest, avoids significant negative impacts on forest productivity and
ensures long-term economic viability. Harvest levels are justified by inventory and
growth data
2.3.2 Adequate training is provided for all personnel, including employees and contractors
2.3.3 Analysis shows that feedstock harvesting and biomass production positively contribute to the local economy including employment.
2.4.1 The health, vitality and other services provided by forest ecosystems are maintained or improved.
2.4.2 Natural processes, such as fires, pests and diseases are managed appropriately.
2.4.3 There is adequate protection of the forest from unauthorised activities, such as illegal
logging, mining and encroachment.
2.5.1 The legal, customary and traditional tenure and use rights of indigenous peoples and
local communities related to the forest, are identified, documented and respected.
2.5.2 Production of feedstock does not endanger food, water supply or subsistence means of communities, where the use of this specific feedstock or water is essential for the
fulfilment of basic needs.
2.6.1 Appropriate mechanisms are in place for resolving grievances and disputes, including those relating to tenure and use rights, to forest management practices and to work  conditions.
2.7.1 Freedom of Association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining are respected.
2.7.2 Feedstock is not supplied using any form of compulsory labour.
2.7.3 Feedstock is not supplied using child labour.
2.7.4 Feedstock is not supplied using labour which is discriminated against in respect of
employment and occupation.
2.7.5 Feedstock is supplied using labour where the pay and employment conditions are fair
and meet, or exceed, minimum requirements.
2.8.1 Appropriate safeguards are put in place to protect the health and safety of forest
workers.
2.9.1 Feedstock is not sourced from areas that had high carbon stocks in January 2008 and no longer have those high carbon stocks.
2.9.2 Analysis demonstrates that feedstock harvesting does not diminish the capability of the forest to act as an effective sink or store of carbon over the long term. Feedstock is not sourced from areas that had high carbon stocks in January 2008 and
no longer have those high carbon stocks.
2.10.1 Genetically modified trees are not used.

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