All three candidates who ran for the Liberal leadership committed to implementing recommendations in the Lahey report on forestry reform, but only the victor Iain Rankin vowed to make it happen in 2021.
An Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia was released in 2018, and the author William Lahey says the time is long overdue to bring the report's recommendations to fruition.
"I'm enthusiastic that the premier-designate made it a high profile part of his platform and I am very encouraged and excited by the prospect of actions starting now at a much faster pace," he says.
The report calls for a more ecological approach to forestry.
"That means being serious about putting the health of ecosystems and biodiversity first, and then figuring out how we can do forestry in a way that reflects that priority," he says.
Lahey estimates about 65 per cent of all harvesting on Crown land is done by clearcut - a practice that he says needs to be reduced to about 20 per cent.
"The province has the authority to implement that system of land management on its own lands and I think that is the most important thing it can do and do quickly to show it is serious about implementing all of the report and all of its specific recommendations," he says.
The percentage of harvesting on private land that is by clearcutting is much higher according to Lahey, at about 90 per cent.
Lahey says while many parts of Nova Scotia's forests are healthy and thriving, overall, the province's forests are in a deteriorating condition.
"I tried to convey the urgency of action two and a half years ago," he says. "I share the concerns of many that we are not heading in the right direction until we implement a model of forestry along the lines of what I have recommended and all further delay just increases the urgency for action."