Ecologically oriented forestry/small private wood lots in Nova Scotia get a boost 19Oct2021

Andy Kekac at a Conform Limited/NSWOOA field day  Oct 6, 2018

Finally some good news – if very modest from a financial perspective – for Ecological Forestry in Nova Scotia.

From Forestry trust fund doles out $12.4M to 2 projects by Michael Gorman for CBC News Oct 18, 2021:

The Family Forest Network is getting $9.8 million for a five-year pilot project that will involve ecologically sensitive forest treatments on about 200 small private woodlots around the province. The funding was announced last Friday.

Andy Kekacs, a member of the network’s steering committee, said the group will spend the next six to nine months reaching out to landowners and looking for people interested in participating.

“It really represents a new era for forest stewardship in our province,” he said.

“This is a departure from the practices of the last 50 years and a move toward saying that we can do economically viable forestry that also considers other values and protects them in the process of creating some income.”

A big part of the work will be exposing contractors to an approach promoted in the Lahey review of forestry practices, which called for a major reduction of clear cutting on Crown land.

The funding will help contractors become more comfortable with the costs of the work and how to make it financially viable, said Kekacs.

A “mini-forwarder” allows a gentler touch

“Right now, Nova Scotia’s forest production system is built around clear cutting, and we’re suggesting that there’s a different way to do things consistent with what Bill Lahey recommended three years ago. And the number of contractors who are willing and able to do that at the moment is fairly small,” he said.

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Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki/Nova Scotia: Sites Don’t Spray Us campers have been protecting since September 13th will NOT be sprayed 10Oct2021

Something to celebrate this thanksgiving day. Announcement by Extinction Rebellion Mi’kma’ki / Nova Scotia on their Facebook page, Fri Oct 8, 2021 (photos from the FB page):

“Good News! Today we learned that the sites Don’t Spray Us campers have been protecting since September 13th will NOT be sprayed. Nova Scotia Environment told us this morning the spray program is over for this year.

“ARF, the helicopter company approved to spray these sites with a glyphosate based herbicide, did spray other forests in mainland Nova Scotia this fall, but not Otter Brook or Halfway Brook/Smithfield where we set up camp, nor the Upper Stewiacke site where Jacob Fillmore camped in a tree.

“It is absurd that, in 2021, we have to go to these lengths — and heights — to prevent the government-approved poisoning of natural forests in the service of a version of industrial forestry that science no longer supports. Continue reading

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Kevin Smith: When coyotes in Nova Scotia survive on plastic and grass 7Oct2021

Kevin Smith posted these items on Facebook. I asked his permission to post them here. They are credible and concerning observations from the front lines of #StoptheSpray. – dp

Oct 5, 2021:

Coyote scat containing only grass and plastic. Click on image for larger version

This is likely the saddest thing I have come across since being out here. The first picture is coyote scat, containing only plastic and grass.

I have, for some time, made it a habit to check predator droppings, as it’s a good indicater of what is in and/or going on in the area. I’ve come across dozens of findings from coyotes since I’ve been here. Most are a mixture of seeds, roots, and berries. But NONE, have contained more than a trace amount of fur, likely their own.

This particular coyote ate plastic because it couldn’t find anything else but grass to eat. This is likely due to the fact that its habitat is disappearing before my eyes. Continue reading

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“Calling all Hemlock Heroes to Sporting Lake Nature Reserve” Oct 4th-22nd, 2021

Received today:

YOU may wish to join volunteers to save old growth hemlocks from certain death from Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) infestations at Sporting Lake Nature Reserve located inside the Tobeatic Wilderness Area. Continue reading

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Is 60% retention L&F/NRR’s new Buffer Zone with Nova Scotia’s Protected Areas? 16Sep2021

Like many I know, I am pretty worn down by L&F/Big Forestry’s continued assault on our Crown lands and it’s a challenge with each new harvest announcement even to begin to ‘check them out’.

(What was once DNR and then L&F  now comes under Natural Resources and Renewables (NRR), however I don’t want to ascribe Big Forestry pandering to the new Department and Government.  So I’ll keep “L&F” for the rest of this post, referring to its behaviour under the past government or two, continued for now by the L&F bureaucracy.)

Also L&F’s Forestry Maps continues to reiterate with each announcement its June 4, 2021 directive that all they will entertain to consider is  “information currently not known to the department at a site level that is being proposed for harvest.”

Regardless, I usually take a glance, at least, at new Harvest Notices. This caught my eye on the  the latest one (issued Sep 16, 2021): 60% Retention for a ‘proposed’ Variable Retention harvest. Continue reading

Posted in clearcuts, Ind Rev Post-Report, Landscape Level Planning, New PC Government, Parks & Protected Areas | Comments Off on Is 60% retention L&F/NRR’s new Buffer Zone with Nova Scotia’s Protected Areas? 16Sep2021

WestFor stokes fears over proposed protection of the Ingram River Conservation Area 10Sep2021

I think it is not a stretch to describe some of what WestFor writes about our Protected Areas  in its August 2021 newsletter under “A message from Breck” as outright disinformation.

UPDATE Sep 23, 2021: Response to concerns raised by Westfor over proposed 4,000 hectare wilderness area (audio)
CBC Information Morning “Mike Lancaster, from the St. Margaret’s Bay Stewardship Association, responds to concerns raised by Westfor’s general manager over the Ingram River Conservation Lands. Plus, hear some of your emails.”

UPDATE Sep 22, 2021: Forest company’s concerns about a proposed wilderness area near St. Margaret’s Bay (audio)
“In a company newsletter, the general manager for Westfor recently expressed concerns about not being able to harvest wood in a proposed wilderness area, the Ingram River Conservation Lands. Here is our interview with Breck Stewart.”

UPDATE (Sep 10, 2021 at 8:30 pm) I didn’t realize when I wrote this post earlier today that the new General Manager at WestFor is Breck Stuart and thus that the “message from Breck” is, presumably, from Breck Stuart, General Manager of WestFor. (The new GM  is not currently listed on the WestFor website under ‘Company‘ where other positions with the people occupying them are shown; his appointment at WestFor was, however announced on April 16,2021 on WestFor’s Facebook page.) So I apologize for writing initially that that the comments cited below were made “under the guise of a ‘Message from Brett’.  The message is apparently attributable to Breck Stuart, General Manager of WestFor. Unfortunately, that the message comes from the top raises for me additional concerns about how much trust can be put in statements from WestFor, and their public accountability more generally as an entity which has essentially been given &/or expects to be given the keys to our Western Crown lands. I would welcome a ‘Guest Post’ on NSFN from Breck Stuart if he wishes to comment. – David P

UPDATE (Sep 10, 2021 at 5:45 pm): Protect the Ingram River Wilderness Area group responds  View on Facebook or below.

ORIGINAL POST (Sep 10, 2021 at 1:41 pm)

‘Have to say, I was a bit shocked to read this item – “A message from Breck” – at the end of the August 2021 WestFor Newsletter, just received today. Continue reading

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How important is Big Forestry to the Nova Scotia economy? 6Sep2021

Surely it’s remarkable when we step back and think about it, that an industry contributing less than 0.5% to our GDP is permitted to lay waste to the landscape on such a massive scale. Will a PC Government finally put an end to it?

An ad by Forest NS in Saturday’s Chronicle Herald prompted me to check some stats. Forestry’s role in Nova Scotia’s economy is far from enough, it would appear, to justify further subsidy of Big Forestry by allowing our most productive Crown lands to be clearcut and managed – with the taxpayer’s assistance – as plantations. Our forests are now seriously degraded by centuries of excessive harvesting and by human-set fires (up to about 1980), and in the latter  20th century  by acid rain on the inherently poor soils that cover more than 60% of the NS landscape.   The truth of the matter is that in 2021 we need our forests more than we need Big Forestry. For the sake of the forests themselves, for biodiversity conservation, to do our part to slow climate warming, and to allow the use and enjoyment of our Crown land forests by all Nova Scotians,  it is time to reduce the wood supply from Crown land and to permit only ecological forestry on Crown lands. For the sake of our economy, the taxpayers and private woodlot owners who deserve a fair price for their wood,  it is time to stop subsidizing Big Forestry via their privileged access to our best remaining Crown land forests
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UPDATE Sep 7, 2021. Commenting on this post on WWNS (copied below), JW suggested that the discrepancy in employment in the forestry sector between Tables 1 and 2 below is likely explained by the category Wood Product Manufacturing which is included in Table 1 in the calculation of total employment in the “Forest Sector” but was probably not included under “Forest Logging and support activities” in Table 2. I think he is right. I have modified some of my comments and estimates accordingly.
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No surprise, I guess, to view an ad by Forest NS in the  Chronicle Herald Saturday ed. that reads: Continue reading

Posted in Acadian Forest, clearcuts, Climate Change, Conservation, Ind Rev Post-Report, New PC Government | Comments Off on How important is Big Forestry to the Nova Scotia economy? 6Sep2021

Please, Prof. Lahey: issue your report on L&F’s progress in implementing your recommendations for Nova Scotia’s forests and forestry 2Sep 2021

There were likely downsides to the Liberals if Prof. Lahey’s “Progress Report” was  published just before the recent provincial election – it’s hard to see how Prof. Lahey could not be highly critical of progress under the Liberal Government in implementing his  recommendations of 2018.  The Progress Report wasn’t published and we are still waiting for it. It seems that now, however, there should be no downsides to the PC Government from such a report, indeed, they have held Prof Lahey in high esteem in the past and could be expected to take his recommendations seriously. There are big downsides, however,  if the Progress Report is further delayed – so Please, Prof. Lahey, issue your report!


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UPDATE Sep 16, 2021: Is no news Good News? Tomorrow will mark 1 month since the PCs took the reigns of government in NS, and over two weeks since Tory Rushton was made Minister of the new Department of Natural Resources and Renewables. And Prof Lahey’s Progress Report has still not surfaced, nor any comment about it. ‘Not sure what that means, but it sure would be nice to see some update about the “Independent Review” and the Progress Report in particular.
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This is a lengthy post, so I am providing a Table of Contents.

It is written as much ‘for the record’ at the beginning of the PC mandate, as it is with any expectation that it will be read in full, although I don’t mind saying I hope Minister Tory Rushton and Prof. Bill Lahey give it a glance at least.

 

Table of Contents

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Tory Rushton is Minister of the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables in New Nova Scotia PC Government

The Department of Natural Resources and Renewables combines the former Departments of Lands and Forestry and Energy and Mines. The PC commitments include implementing the Lahey Recommendations and  protecting identified sites from the Parks and Protected Areas plan that are awaiting legal protection – those include Owls Head.

We have all been waiting, I guess, to see who would be in Nova Scotia’s new PC Government Cabinet.

Below are some extracts from News Releases from the Premier’s Office today (August 31, 2021), pertaining to Forestry & Environment, also Health & Wellness – nice to see Michelle Thompson at the table. Some info on the background of the related Ministers, also the new Deputy Minister at Natural Resources and Renewables, is also provided. Also view CBC News:Nova Scotia’s new premier, cabinet sworn in at a ceremony in Halifax

It’s good to see some fresh faces.

The PC’s commitments include Owls Head. From Parks and Protected Areas Plan
Click on image to enlarge it. View the Downloadable Plan– Owls head is site 694.

Forestry and Environment are not highlighted in Tim Houston’s Vision to Advance Workforce Solutions for a Stronger Economy (below). Look to the 130 page PC Platform document  for specific commitments related to Forestry & Environment. Key commitments in that document related to Forests, Forestry, Protected Areas are given at the bottom of this post. Their commitments include implementing the Nova Scotia Our Parks and Protected Areas Plan (2013), which includes Owl’s Head*; and the Lahey recommendations.
* See Lands Profiles; open Halifax. Owl’s Head is the last one listed. There is no Profile sheet for it, however, perhaps from the IR days.

NOTES FROM NEWS RELEASES

Premier Announces Changes to Public Service
– Premier Tim Houston announced changes to the senior ranks of Nova Scotia’s public service today, Aug. 31. These changes do not include government’s new health-care leadership structure, which will be announced at a later date.
Karen Gatien is the new deputy minister of Natural Resources and Renewables; she was previously associate deputy minister, Education and Early Childhood Development
Scott Farmer, [is the new deputy minister of] Economic Development and Environment and Climate Change
The document cites 8 former “Deputy and associate deputy ministers leaving the public service”; those include Julie Towers former deputy minister of Environment and Climate Change, and earlier, deputy minister of L&F.

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Nova Scotia Lands and Forestry looking for Species-At-Risk Biologist 12Aug2021

Ram’s Head orchid on gypsum lands, Nova Scotia. It’s an Endangered species in Nova Scotia

“As the Provincial Biologist (Species at Risk), you will provide leadership and professional expertise to internal/external stakeholders and the public in the assessment, monitoring, conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, wild species (including species-at-risk) and habitat management within Nova Scotia. The work you do will ensure that long-term sustainable benefits of wild species and habitats are optimized and conflicts among resource users are minimized.”

View full ad on jobs.novascotia.ca

Closing Date Aug 24, 2021

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I guess this is to replace Mark Elderkin in the Wildlife Division of L&F; I believe he retired a couple of years ago. ‘Hard to find who is in that division – L&F seems to avoid listing staff on their website or anything about their qualifications, what they do or any annual reports on their activities.

I was able to glean some Information about personnel as cited on this website under Forestry/NSDNRR’s Nature-based forestry/Who Does What in 2019, but I can’t find the same info. currently.

In  January of 2019, L&F advertised for a Biodiversity-Species at Risk Biologist (view NSFN post Jan 29, 2019). Not sure if this is the same position, and dunno if anyone was hired in 2019.
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