In response to low prices for its main product, a glossy paper used in inserts, and import tariffs placed on it by the United States government, Port Hawkesbury Paper has been attempting to diversify. Continue reading →
The Annapolis Valley has produced a lot of very good naturalists, some with many letters after their names, some with none, some professionals in the field, most not. It doesn’t seem to matter. There is a common underlying love and respect for nature to all of them, they have keen eyes and ears and they like to explain and share their observations. (It’s the combination of observation and explanation that makes them “naturalists”.)
These naturalists have produced over time a plethora of very readable books on the natural history of the Annapolis Valley or for Nova Scotia more generally. Some classics:
– Birds of Nova Scotia by Robie Tufts with its beautiful colour illustrations by Roger Tory Peterson from the collection of the Newfoundland Museum, 1st ed. in 1961 (NS Museum, Nimbus Publishing);
-Merritt Gibson’s Nature Notes for Nova Scotia Summer (Lancetot Press, 1982), and Winter Nature Notes for Nova Scotians (Lancetot Press, 1980);
–Forest and Field, a 52 page pamphlet by John Erskine (NS Museum, 1976; I wish they would reprint it or make it freely available electronically – it should be in every school kids’s hands); and
– The Natural History of Kings County (Blomidon Naturalists Society, 1992). This book was a collective effort by the Blomidon Field Naturalists; it lists four 5 primary authors and illustrators, 8 additional contributors and “the assistance of the members and friends of BNS who shared their observations and expertise”. It’s a comprehensive work with chapters on Geography, History and Habitats, spiced with sketches of wildlife and landscapes. Continue reading →
A reader of this blog forwarded the following announcement:
Are you interested in the sustainability of our forests and rural communities?
A group, interested in helping to address both the health of our forests and the issue of how to grow locally owned value-added forestry enterprises, is hosting a public meeting at the Middle River Community Hall on Saturday, January 20th at 10am with a snow date of the following Saturday January 27th same time and location. Continue reading →
In an op-ed published in the Chronicle Herald today (January 17, 2018), Bob Bancroft asks a question many people probably ask when they view a recent clearcut in Nova Scotia? Why are no EAs (Environmental Assessments) required for large-scale forest removals?
Recent satellite images of Nova Scotia show a stark reality. Large clearcuts have become a dominant landscape feature. For most wildlife species, the sudden shift from shady, damp forest environments to dry, sunlit, windy, open ground is too abrupt. It’s no longer suitable living space. Appropriate nearby forests, if they exist, are already occupied by other members of the same species. Displaced, most refugees are fought off in territorial battles, starve and eventually die.
As a biologist, I’ve been involved in the data-gathering for environmental assessments (EAs) that governments demand for certain development proposals that precipitate environmental change. In the past, I have been hired to undertake an EA of a cornfield by a concrete company that had applied to remove its gravel. Why are no EAs required for large-scale forest removals?
Under Voice of the People on the same page in the print ed., Irmgard Lipp of Grafton, N.S urges Nova Scotians to send concerns about forestry in Nova Scotia to the premier and to Bill Lahey who is conducting an independent forestry review: email@example.com. We need a long term vision for our forests that includes the next generation says Irmgard. View Fight Forestry Collapse.
The diffuser for the new treatment system would be about here Click on image to enlarge (from Google Earth)
Fishers are concerned about impacts on lobster, crab, scallop, herring, and mackerel fisheries, but the big question is apparently who will pay for the new system, not whether a closed loop system should be required.
The Mill is going full steam ahead with its new waste system, evidently on the assumption that the EA (Environmental Assessment) that it must eventually pass will give it the stamp of approval or require only modifications, but not reject it or require a closed-loop treatment system. View After years of controversy, Northern Pulp is cleaning up its act* by Sam Macdonald for the Chronicle Herald, January 14, 2018
Northern Parula and Nova Scotia nest built from old-man’s-beard lichen. These are birds of mature forests. “Selective harvesting [not clearcutting] can be carried out, but should be outside the breeding season to cause the least impacts to bird populations” says Donna Crossland in Don’t let the music stop. Parula pic by Don Pancamo.
Two items in the forestry related news for Nova Scotia last week illustrate the quandary we are in when it comes to figuring out ‘what to do about forestry in Nova Scotia’.
First was an article about the impacts of clearcutting on forest-nesting birds. The reduction in recruited adults into the population each year due to clearcutting is estimated as about 50,000 birds; in addition “the loss of habitat could have long-term impacts on bird populations”. Environmentalist Neal Livingston maintains that “the negative effects on bird life from forestry contravenes Nova Scotia’s commitments under the Migratory Birds Conventions Act”. Indeed, the 2010 report by Bancroft and Crossland on Restoring the Health of Nova Scotia Forests called for increased protection for breeding bird habitats especially during the May/June breeding season.”
In response to journalist John McPhee’s request for comment, DNR spokesperson Bruce Nunn said that
Bird populations and habitat are impacted by many human activities on the landscape and forestry is not among the most significant source of impacts” compared to cat predation, housing and road development, and vehicle collisions.
Of course more than birds are affected by clearcutting. Soren Bondrup-Nielsen describes the displaced wildlife that that we increasingly see in urban areas and in out veterinary hospitals as “clearcut refugees“.
Birds-eye views of clearcuts in Cape Breton. Click on image for more
On January 5, 2018, Rick Howe interviewed Naturalist/Photographer Scott about his new book and some of his views, literal and opinion-wise, on forestry in Nova Scotia. An abbreviated transcript of the interview is given below.
Rick Howe: There is a new book out, Untamed Atlantic Canada, it explores the region’s biodiversity havens. Nature photographer and naturalist Scott Leslie is the author. He’s got some real concerns as well about clearcutting and mining damage being done to NS’s forests… he joins me from his home in Bear River, NS.
[Your book] Untamed Atlantic Canada… amazing photos covering a wide range of species…
It involves a lot more than pushing a shutter, you have to gain the confidence of the wildlife and get very close to them to get those shots..
Rick Howe: What is the problem with clearcutting and mining?
Scott Leslie: It has been a big concern over the last few years especially. NS made a lot of progress up until a few years ago with regard to protecting important natural areas of the province, and we were also on track in terms of having a sustainable forestry policy for the rest of the province outside of the protected areas. But in the last few years there has been rampant clearcutting on both Crown and private lands.
I have done quite a bit of drone photography to document the magnitude of some of the damage that’s being done to the forests.
Rick Howe: Well tell me the extent of the damage because I am told that if you flew over NS, your mind would be blown by the empty spaces…once we get past the perimeter along the road if you get into the air you would see a lot of the bald patches that dot this province. Continue reading →
Hemlock stand in The Tusket ravaged by wooly adelgid
The public first learned about the arrival of the hemlock wooly adelgid, appropriately labelled the Hemlock Vampies, in August. At that time we were told:
To date, hemlock woolly adelgid has been found in Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne counties. The CFIA continues to conduct surveys in the areas where the pest was found to determine its spread. Regulatory measures will be put in place as required once the survey work is completed. – CFIA News release Aug 3, 2017
Now that survey is done, Queens and Annapolis Counties have been added to the list and restrictions on movement from wood in those counties imposed.
We still have a lot of old forest in biodiversity-rich southwest Nova Scotia… will we decide in 2018 to keep it that way? Click on image for larger version
My wish for the New Year: the Independent Review surprises me, and comes out with strong recommendations to protect our remaining older forests, allowing only selective cutting (if any); then the Premier and his government surprise us all by accepting the recommendations; and then the big forestry companies accept the challenge and fundamentally change the way they operate, benefitting all Nova Scotians and our wildlife and for seven generations of the same.
As I expected, responses to Gary Saunders’ Stop mourning yesterday’s forests
(Chronicle Herald,Business Dec 14, 2017) have been forthcoming.
Says Soren Bondrup-Nielsen in Voice of the People, Chronicle Herald, , Dec 23, 2017:
Gary Saunders, in his opinion article “Stop mourning yesterday’s forests,” Dec. 14, makes the assumption that “all the mourners” at the Forest Funeral wished the forests of Nova Scotia to return to the state they were 400 years ago.
Ecologists understand you can never return to a former state. What we mourned at the funeral is the rampant clearcutting that is taking place across the province, especially when it occurs on Crown Land, benefitting a few at the cost to the many…
..the inhumanity of clearcutting is that it created wildlife refugees because these individuals cannot just move elsewhere to live. Maybe, more importantly, with the loss of large diameter deadwood of different species, myriad beetles and other invertebrates, many not discovered yet, lose their habitats and may die off.
The other sad result of present forestry practices in Nova Scotia is that jobs that used to exist, supported by forest resources, are disappearing.
About 1.3 million Xmas trees are produced in NS each year, 95% of them exported, mostly to the Americas, but also to Asia. In Nova Scotia, discarded trees are being fed to a herd of heritage goats, keeping them healthy.