Neal Livingston: We need good public policy to drive the transition to better forestry in Nova Scotia

Specifics are given in an 8-stage plan to transition from clearcutting to a selection cutting forest economy

How can we make the transition from clearcutting to selection management in Nova Scotia? The same way we transitioned to recycling, with defined stages and absolute deadlines, says Neal Livingston.

Margaree Environmental Association activist, woodlot owner, power producer and filmmaker Neal Livingston, interviewed about forestry on the Sheldon Macleod show the day after the Leader’s Debate, said that he has been looking at what’s happening in other jurisdictions, Ontario and Quebec in particular. There, large scale clearcutting is largely restricted to the boreal forest in the north and there is much more selection management in the mixed forests and hardwoods in the south.
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Clearcutting comes up in Nova Scotia Leaders’ Debate

It’s a sign of the times, I guess, that questions related to environment were not posed by the CBC hosts during the first 70 minutes of the 90 minute Leaders Debate yesterday evening.

They did come up in questions from viewers in the last 20 minutes, initiated by a question about the leaders’ positions on environment. Gary Burrill said the NDP would bring in an Environmental Bill of Rights; Jamie Baillie said the PCs would strengthen EGSPA, and Stephen McNeil said the Liberals are proud of their record on environment, citing the introduction of a cap and trade system that won’t impact Nova Scotian’s wallets as amongst the accomplishments. (I can’t see how how a cap and trade could work except by impacting wallets.)
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Nova Scotia election: only the Greens are unequivocal about clearcutting

Aerial imagery of “sustainable harvests” on crown land after 10+ years. To date, Conservative, Liberal and NDP governments have all had a hand in maintaining excessive clearcutting on the Nova Scotia landscape.

Candidates representing the environmental platforms for the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP and the Greens made short presentations and participated in Q&A in an Environmental Issues Election Debate yesterday. The event, held at Kings College in Halifax, was sponsored by the Ecology Action Centre and the Sierra Club, Atlantic chapter.

Question: Will you implement the commitments in the Natural Resources Strategy including the reduction of clearcutting to no more than 50% of all clearcutting and the reform of forestry practices?

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Editorials and letters about forestry in Nova Scotia, AFR for May017

Two letters in the May 2017 issue of Atlantic Forestry Review reflect on N.S. Crown land management issues.

Tom Miller of Green Hill, N.S. focusses on the need for better management of Crown land hardwoods, not that softwoods don’t also need it, he says, but because he is tired of fighting that [softwood] battle. “Let’s start the conversation about how to revive the rural areas and do a better job of managing our hardwood resources.

“Firstly, take all crown land hardwood out of the softwood users’ control. They don’t use it, and have a low regard and understanding of it. All the hardwood. Red maple and white birch can make high value products; they just need an “understanding champion” on their side….Set up a separate department in DNR to look after this segment and promote this value-added industry. Find new management people, because the present ones are softwood people with the short rotation view. This will be a truly long-term vision, with a 100-300 year time frame…Don’t think in terms of a large mill with two or three shifts per day. We need small- to medium-sized operations of 10-30 people spread around the province in small town areas.”
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Nova Scotia forestry science simply wrong

Donna Crossland talks about the soil profile and what it tells about past forests at the MTRI Old Forest Conference in 2016

Speaking at the Tupperville, Annapolis Co. Community Hall on May 9, 2017, forest ecologist Donna Crossland reiterated her oft repeated criticism of NSDNR’s claims that its harvesting methods mimic natural disturbances. It simply isn’t true, she says, as reported in the Digby Courier.

Crossland, co-author of Restoring the Health of Nova Scotia’s Forests (2010), emphasized that while she works for Kejimkujik Park, “she was not representing Parks Canada.”
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Forestry becoming an election issue in Nova Scotia

The N.S. Liberals made some key environmental commitments on April 8 including

  • Maintaining the moratorium on fracking (the Liberal government introduced a moratorium on fracking in 2014);.
  • Introducing a new Coastal Protection Act;
  • Introducing a new Biodiversity Act and launching a Biodiversity Council;
  • Initiating a “through and independent review of our current forestry practices. Until that review is complete, there will be no additional long-term timber harvesting leases issued for Crown Land…That review will begin immediately, with an independent expert beginning in the western region.

View Press Release

From what I have heard from environmental and sustainable forestry folks so far, the first item is widely applauded, the second and third are welcomed but people want to see details, while there are mainly questions and skepticism about the commitment to an independent review of forestry. Continue reading

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Are biofuels from Nova Scotia forests good for the environment? Show us the science!

Above: Brazil decimated its Atlantic rainforest to grow sugarcane for ethanol. Below: An old yellow birch left standing in a clearcut in N.S. Will biofuels replace pulp and paper as the final agent of destruction of our native Acadian forest?

A recent opinion piece in the LocalXpress by Rod Badcock of BioApplied Innovation Pathways extols the potential benefits of a high-tech “bioeconomy” for Nova Scotia.

He cites Cellufuel in Brooklyn N.S, as “forging a new innovative path, developing a renewable diesel that can be made from wood chips (a byproduct from sawmills)” and notes that “The province has been supportive of this innovation”. Reducing carbon-emissions associated with petroleum fuels is cited as a major benefit.

Use of genuine by-products from sawmills to produce biofuels could reduce carbon emissions compared to use of petroleum products. However, that’s a slippery slope as we have seen in the case of our larger biomass energy plants which take in primary forest biomass when there are not enough wastes, or just because it’s cheaper.
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Re-commit to the Natural Resources Strategy & regulate clearcutting says EAC

regulate clearcuttingRegulation of clearcutting is one of four Green Priorities the Ecology Action Centre has identified for the next Nova Scotia Government to implement (Nova Scotia will elect a new government on May 30, 2017):

Nova Scotia needs to regulate clearcutting and other destructive forestry practices as per the commitments in the Natural Resources Strategy. Continue reading

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PHP: eyeing diversification as challenges mount

“Bottled water didn’t work. Maybe sea bass will. With the price of its glossy printing paper falling and an ongoing battle against American countervailing duties, the Port Hawkesbury mill continues to try to diversify…” view CH (May 1, 2017)

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This evening (May 2) in New Glascow: Rehabilitation of the Appalachian Deciduous Forest

Intervale forest on Meander River, N.S.
May 19, 2011

‘Just received news about an informative talk this evening (May 2):

Nova Scotia was a mosaic of different forest associations that reflected differences in rock, soil, climate and First Nations management. While a large portion of the landscape was covered with Red Spruce, the Atlantic coastline was boreal with Black and White Spruce, and well-drained uplands of Cape Breton and the Cobequids and fertile floodplains were hardwood associations. These hardwoods are northern extensions of the Appalachian Deciduous Forest and they change with climate change. The fertile floodplain portion of this Forest contains various rare elements and floodplain rehabilitation at a provincial level should be part of a continental plan to facilitate and conserve biodiversity as species distributions change and adapt to new habitats. At a local level, forest rehabilitation along rivers has the added benefits of mitigating flooding, improving water quality and wildlife habitat, and stimulating recreation opportunities

Speaker: Nick Hill, Fern Hill Institute for Plant Conservation
Place: Community room of the New Glasgow Library, 182 Dalhousie St.
Time: 6:30 p.m.

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