Could forest fragmentation be a factor in the high incidence of blacklegged tick/lyme in Nova Scotia?

The evidence is sufficient that I breathe more easily when traversing larger patches of older forest, and I am more on guard for blacklegged ticks/lyme when I am in smaller patches or in and out of clearcuts.

tickThe South Shore of Nova Scotia, according to Mount Allison University biologist Vett Lloyd cited in the Chronicle Herald on May 19, 2018, is “probably the worst place in Canada” for lyme disease-carrying black legged ticks. The worst that is for humans but the best place from the ticks’ perspective.*

Prof. Lloyd goes on to say:

“The South Shore has the perfect climate for ticks…The climate is mild, it’s moist, lots of fog, you have plenty of boggy areas that keep everything moist. They were introduced primarily on migratory birds. Once they came, they decided they liked it…”

Out of a practical interest in avoiding being bitten by lyme-carrying ticks, I have been following literature on factors affecting abundance of blacklegged ticks and on preventative measures for a while (view Forestry>Pests>Ticks)
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*View also Lyme disease cases per 100,000 people in 2016 (Canada)
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Keeping current: nsforestnotes.ca changes tack

My attempt to provide posts on the home page “as a record of events, news and opinions on the subject of forests and forestry in Nova Scotia as they unfold, beginning on June 21, 2016″, has proved challenging and I have not always been able to keep up.

So I am making a slight change in tack. On the page In the News, I will be listing links to news items under the dates those are published, without comments. Some of those will also be listed on the page Independent Review, and some will be topics of posts of the Home Page.

So About this Site>All Posts, provides a more or less complete archive of news related to forests and forestry in Nova Scotia Jun 21, 2016 to Jun 10, 2018,most with some comment; thereafter, the archive list will be on In the News, without comment.

There will still posts on the Home Page, but I will make a post only when I think I have some comment that adds to a news story, or on a topic not currently in the news. They will less frequent, perhaps 1/week versus an average of 4/week up to this point. All posts will still be listed on the page About this site>All Posts.

This change in tack will, I hope, allow me more time to follow up on important topics that are not receiving much attention otherwise, e.g., as in a recent post on cats versus clearcutting as threats to forest birds.
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Fools still approve gold mining excesses in Nova Scotia

Abandoned mines in Nova Scotia are considered “low hanging fruit” to the mining companies. As well as being legally entitled now to mine where they want on private lands, mining companies want access to Protected Areas.

If you think our worries about our forests and forestry are all over in the event that we receive a Report from the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia that results in fundamental change in forestry practices in NS, and The Mill agrees to constructing and paying for a totally land-based system for processing mill effluents…think again.

Joan Baxter has done some of that for us on the gold mining front. View:

A Cape Breton Spectator/Halifax Examiner  Special Investigation:

Fool’s Gold: Nova Scotia’s Myopic Pursuit of Metals & Minerals (Part II)
Joan Baxter in the Cape Breton Spectator/Halifax Examiner, May 23, 2018

Part I: Fool’s Gold: Nova Scotia’s Myopic Pursuit of Metals & Minerals (Part I)
Joan Baxter in the Cape Breton Spectator/Halifax Examiner, May 16, 2018.

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Report from Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia almost there…

Peter Duinker, one of the Expert Advisors to the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia, gave a talk Thursday evening to the Halifax Field Naturalists on Old Forests in HRM, which inevitably invited questions about when the Report will be out. (HFN is a member of the Healthy Forest Coalition.)

I was not there (not to snub PD but I had made a commitment to attend the 30th Anniv. of the Sackville Rivers Association on the same evening), but someone who was present passed this on:

“Generally he said, legal review completed, report back to Lahey and his advisors for consideration, should be released soon.”

Pretty minimal, in keeping with Prof Lahey running as tight a ship as Mueller’s investigation in the U.S., for which he can be lauded.
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Are cats more destructive to Nova Scotia’s forest birds than clearcutting?

…but maybe a CAT tractor did. “I suppose an analogy [to the in-Nova Scotia- cats-kill-more-forest-birds-than-clearcutting story] would be: Who would be more responsible for the decline of Monarch butterflies, the person who shoots one million butterflies out of the air every migration or the person who burns up all the milkweed without actually killing any butterflies?” – JT.
Click on image to enlarge

NSDNR says Yes. The science indicates that there are far more direct kills of birds by cats  year to year than from forestry operations but the indirect effects of extensive clearcutting on short rotations in Nova Scotia are much more damaging in the longer term

Contents

1. NSDNR responses to concerns about impacts of clearcutting on forest birds
2. Studies on direct, human caused mortality of birds in Canada
3. Habitat loss/degradation is the major contributor to decline of many species
4. Clearcutting can increase or decrease bird diversity at large depending on the existing  mix of young/old forest
5. NSDNR has been slow in implementing Landscape Level Planning for Biodiversity Conservation
6. Soil acidification/low base saturation/calcium depletion a major threat
7. Conclusion
8. More links
9. Some of the comments on WWNS
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Nova Scotia DNR Biodiversity Council Members Appointed

Will the council look at habitat loss associated with clearcutting as a major issue?

Mark-Brennan-The-Tobeatic18

In their 2017 election platform the McNeil Liberals said they would create a Biodiversity Council:

…as part of our vision to ensure a healthy environment for future generations, a Liberal Government will pass a Biodiversity Act. This act will improve protection of our forests, lakes, animals, plants and citizens by better coordinating existing legislation and creating a new Nova Scotia Biodiversity Council. The council will have the power to recommend new actions that promote biodiversity and report annually on the status of our biodiversity

Formation of the council was announced in a NSDNR Press Release (May 22, 2018)

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He went for a walk in the woods but the woods were gone

It’s time to pass an Environmental Bill of Rights for Nova Scotia, as already proposed by Denise Peterson-Rafuse in a Private Member’s Bill, Oct 14, 2016

Spring wild flora enthusiasts return to a favourite site at Higgins Mt to find a sloppy clearcut. View A little of what Nova Scotians see and feel; such sights and feelings are universal.

A line in SURETTE: A Silver Donald lining for global green struggle by Ralph Surette in the Chronicle Herald, June 1, 2018, jumped out at me:

He went for a walk in the woods but the woods were gone

Surette’s op-ed describes the notable role that Silver Donald Cameron (from where else but Cape Breton?) has played in promoting Green Rights around the world though a film called GreenRights: The Human Right to a Healthy World (view Trailer) , a book entitled Warrior Lawyers, and his ongoing Green Interview series.
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Nova Scotia DNR employee apparently clearcut land then sold it to DNR at 2X assessed value

Even in Protected Areas: Clearcut in lands designated for the Raven Head Protected Area, 2011 (“To negotiate a price within the province’s budget, Wagner Forestry [was] allowed to harvest about one quarter of the Apple Head area”). As shocking as that was, the case documented by One Not So Bored Housewife involving land clearcut and then sold to NSDNR by a NSDNR employee is even more shocking

UPDATE June 5, 2018: More discussion from WWNS added at the end of the post
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This well documented, disturbing allegation is made in a May 31, 2018 post How much wood does a clear cutter cut, when a clear cutter cuts the wood? on the blog One Not So Bored Housewife.

There is a lot in the post which was apparently stimulated by the recent story about Port Hawkesbury Paper/NSDNR deals.

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Warblers galore, spruce budworm & tweets

Spectacular birding in Quebec, but Nova Scotia also has lots to attract birders as well as birds with or without a budworm outbreak!

Cape May warbler
(Wikipedia)

There is a lot of excitement in the bird world: “At an observatory in Quebec, they were hoping for a 50,000-bird day. They saw more than half a million.”

View A River of Warblers: ‘The Greatest Birding Day of My Life’ By James Gorman The New York Times, May 31, 2018.

From the article:

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Joan Baxter recognized by elders

Joan accepts CARP-NS Stewardship Award on behalf of “all of those people who have fought so long and hard in Nova Scotia to do something good for the environment”

Photo courtesy of Richard Vinson

Joan Baxter, perhaps best known recently for her book The Mill, but a life long advocate for social and environmental well-being, recently received the CARP-Nova Scotia Stewardship Award. (CARP is the Canadian Association of Retirees and Pensioners.)
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