Some upbeat thoughts on the International Day for Biological Diversity 22May2019

Shadbush (Amelanchier arborea) in bloom on May 22, 2011

UPDATE May 22, 2019 evening – Positive news begets positive news. Prof David Garbary of StFX sent me this message:

I just saw your recent Forest Notes contribution. Here is another positive bit of biodiversity news from the marine environment. I (with Carolyn Bird, Herb Vandermeulen and Beverly Hymes) just published a paper on macroalgal biodiversity of Brier Island (Proc. N.S. Inst. Sci). In the summer of 2017 we identified over 150 species from the island mostly associated with the metaphorical ‘forests’ of intertidal fucoids and kelp beds. This was slightly more species than a 1970 paper out of NRC for the whole of Digby Neck with collections over a whole year.

Thx David G.
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I wouldn’t have been aware that today is the The International Day For Biological Diversity, except for some posts by Bev Wigney on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology (a public Facebook group).

It’s a day we should really stop and celebrate what we have, amidst the otherwise almost endless bad news about climate, environment and biodiversity generally.

So to celebrate a bit, following are some articles of the last few days expressing mostly upbeat thoughts on the topic.
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Posted in Biophilia, Conservation | Comments Off on Some upbeat thoughts on the International Day for Biological Diversity 22May2019

iNaturalist keeping an eye on Nova Scotia’s forests 21May2019

Citizen science comes of age in NS forests

Annapolis area naturalist/forest activist Bev Wigney established the first – to my knowledge – iNaturalist Place and Project for a Nova Scotia Crown Land forest subject to logging

It didn’t make national or international news, but Halifax did really well in the recent City Nature Challenge (April 26-29, 2019):

And… the final results are in: Halifax, we did amazing! 7647 observations of Nature representing 911 species in FOUR DAYS!

Mary Kennedy was our top observer (630) and Ben Armstrong observed the most species (163). Together, we were a team of 237 participants (plus all those represented by families or school groups). Overall, Halifax ranked in the Top 50 (of 159 cities) across all categories, and when you weight for climate (latitude) we ranked in the Top 3!

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Intensive tree cull in Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park delayed until after nesting season; Nova Scotia L&F continues to ignore federal regs 12May2019

View of the entrance to Halifax Harbour across Point Pleasant Park. The area in the foreground was completely stripped by Hurricane Juan in 2003. White Pine at right was a survivor. May 5, 2017

“We don’t want to disturb those nests — and the regulations stipulate that we can’t” – but there is no such compliance on provincially administered Crown lands

It was International Migratory Birds Day on Sat May 11.  Appropriately, although coincidentally,  it was announced the day before that “A plan to cut down 80,000 trees inside Halifax’s most popular seaside park has been put on hold until the fall to protect the nests of many species of birds,” (Canadian Press/CTV News May 10, 2019). That decision followed concerns expressed by birdwatchers.

Earlier this week, city officials said the cutting at Point Pleasant Park, which is aimed at restoring the health of the park’s Acadian forest, would be carried out in June and July.

However, spokesman Brendan Elliott confirmed Friday no trees would be felled until September because an earlier cull would have violated federal regulations pertaining to migratory birds.
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Posted in Conservation, L&F, Parks & Protected Areas | Comments Off on Intensive tree cull in Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park delayed until after nesting season; Nova Scotia L&F continues to ignore federal regs 12May2019

Nova Scotia Lands & Forestry developing a communication plan 9May2019

UPDATE MAY 11, 2019: For a far more informative article on this topic, view Truth Be Told: Nova Scotia’s forest department hires a PR firm with forest industry ties to help it with transparency by Linda Pannozzo in the Halifax Examiner, May 10, 2019. It discloses the firm of the consultants, and provides some details on issues with the Harvest Map Viewer (re: “How do you think the HPMV could be improved?: cited below) that I was not familiar with but are pretty critical; also it references the recommendations of the Natural Resources Strategy regarding communication. Well worth the $10 for a month’s subscription to get access to the full article if you are following this topic. I hope L&F and the Consultants developing the communication plan can afford it because they could definitely benefit from reading it.
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Posted in Ind Rev Post-Report, L&F | Comments Off on Nova Scotia Lands & Forestry developing a communication plan 9May2019

Annapolis Co. group finds fresh stump of 138 yr old tree in Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes Forest, but it’s not Old Growth says L&F 6May2019

Stump of 138 yr old beech (left) and a remaining 32″ dbh Yellow Birch, flagged with wide yellow “CAUTION” tape “so that the foresters would not “accidentally” fell these trees”

UPDATES May 23, 2019:

‘Stop the Chop’ – Extinction Rebellion on standby to halt Corbett Lake Crown forest harvest
Lawrence Powell in www.annapoliscountyspectator.ca, May 23, 2019
Climate forest proposed – Annapolis County wants chance to develop new ecologically managed economic model
Lawrence Powell in www.annapoliscountyspectator.ca, May 23, 2019 ” Annapolis County wants the province to hand over a swath of Crown forest south of Bridgetown so the municipality can develop and manage a climate forest and demonstrate that a new economic model based on ecological forestry management can increase local jobs, community recreation, and tourism.
They passed the motion May 21 and have drafted a letter to Department of Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin with the request. Currently WestFor has the option to harvest the forest in question and some of that work began last year.”

UPDATES May 22, 2019:
Annapolis Co. Council writes Hon. Iain Rankin, Minister Department of Lands and Forestry: ““It is hereby recommended that the Municipality of the County of Annapolis respectfully request the Province of Nova Scotia to dedicate the Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes property to the Municipality of the County of Annapolis to develop and manage a climate forest and demonstrate a new economy based on ecological forestry management that will increase local jobs, community recreation and tourism.”
Press Release: Action to protect the Corbett – Dalhousie Lake forest
By Nova Scotia Advocate – May 18, 2019

UPDATE May 21, 2019: iNaturalist keeping an eye on Nova Scotia’s forests 21May2019
Post on NSFN. “Annapolis area naturalist/forest activist Bev Wigney established the first – to my knowledge – iNaturalist Place and Project for a Nova Scotia Crown Land forest subject to logging”
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Posted in Acadian Forest, L&F, Old Growth, Social Media | Comments Off on Annapolis Co. group finds fresh stump of 138 yr old tree in Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes Forest, but it’s not Old Growth says L&F 6May2019

School Strike 4 Climate in Nova Scotia May 3, Shelburne students also target local clearcutting 2May2019


UPDATE May 7, 2019
Climate change makes teens fear for the future (CBC Info AM Podcast)

UPDATE May 3, 2019
Students across Maritimes march to join Youth Strike 4 Climate CTV News May 3, 2019
Youth march on at climate protest despite warnings from Halifax school administrators Francis Campbell in Chronicle Herald May 3, 2019 (item available without subscription) – but at least one school encouraged participation.
Halifax students lead climate march through downtown Global News, May 3, 2019
Shelburne Students March To Protest Clearcutting
Ed Halverson for www.ckbw.ca/, May 3, 2019. Their Logo: “Stop the Chop”

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What it’s about:
In August 2018, Greta Thunberg began striking for the climate. Canada’s first climate strike in solidarity with Greta was Friday, November 2, 2018. By Friday, December 7, 2018, there were nine youth groups in Canada striking with Greta. Many youths in Canada are now striking regularly. Canada’s national climate strike is Friday, May 3, 2019. Canadian youth will next prepare for the global strike anticipated on September 27,2019.Fridays for Future Canada

Events are cited currently for Halifax, Truro, Antiginish, Bridgewater and Shelburne. (View this link for details).

Students at Shelburne are using the event to highlight local concerns about clearcutting Continue reading

Posted in clearcuts, Climate Change, Social Media | Comments Off on School Strike 4 Climate in Nova Scotia May 3, Shelburne students also target local clearcutting 2May2019

Nova Scotia Forestry Maps/L&F respond to concerns about South Mountain cuts & now L&F, not the licensee, address comments sent to the HPMV 1May2019

But, what seemed positive news turned out to contain some very sour grapes
(New content added 8: 15 pm)

UPDATE May 3, 2019
Bev Wigney requests “a map showing all of the parcels in Annapolis County that were granted approval for harvest before the HPMV was established…all those that were approved before the HPMV and that are either going to be harvested by whoever licensed them, or that will be or have been turned over to Westfor without going through the current HPMV process with its public consultation period. View post on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology (public Facebook group). Response, within a few hours: “Thank you for your comment. The department will discuss this topic and get back to you.”…and a few hours after that: “We are searching for the old pdf maps that showed proposed harvest areas before the HPMV was put online in April 2016 so that we can restore that webpage. We will notify you when we have that information.”

UPDATE May 2, 2019: A Petition has been launched to stop logging in the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake area. From the Petition:

The Minister of the Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry has given his approval to the continued destruction of the forests on the peninsula between Corbett and Dalhousie Lakes in Annapolis County. Much of this is “old forest” with “super canopy trees” – many of which are more than 8 feet in circumference. Much of it is shade tolerant forest featuring important tree species such as Yellow Birch, Sugar Maple, and Red Spruce — all of which are long-lived species typical of what was once the pride of the renowned Acadian forests of Nova Scotia before they were all but reduced to a pathetic shadow of their past.
….A few strips of this forest have already been chopped down (see photo). This was done last autumn before work ceased for the winter. It is a scene of destruction. The best of the trees in these strips were removed, leaving misshapen and multi-trunked survivors standing – trees that are *SUPPOSED* to be “overstory”
…. Now the plan is to do the same to the remaining forest…

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Received today in an e-mail to those who Sign up for map-update notification (accessed via via DNR › Forestry › Harvest Operation Maps): Continue reading

Posted in Acadian Forest, clearcuts, HPMV, Social Media | Comments Off on Nova Scotia Forestry Maps/L&F respond to concerns about South Mountain cuts & now L&F, not the licensee, address comments sent to the HPMV 1May2019

Nova Scotia L&F Minister Rankin comments on changes to harvest prescriptions in the South Mountain Ecodistrict 27Apr2019

It would surely help if we (the public) were routinely informed about changes to Crown land harvest plans posted on the Harvest Plan Map Viewer

UPDATE Apr 30, 2019: In relation to the Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes Old Growth cited below, view
Annapolis County residents want ‘Old Growth’ Corbett Lake Crown forest left alone by Lawrence Powell In Annapolis Co. Spectator, Apr 30, 2019 “Biologist Bob Bancroft toured Crown forest at Corbett Lake April 28 and described it as intact and unique. He said a fraction of one per cent of forests in Nova Scotia are as complete with species and ground cover as the woods south of Bridgetown on the Neaves Road”.

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In response to a post about a Halifax Examiner article* made today (Apr 27, 2019) on the Healthy Forest Coalition public Facebook Page and discussions of the same,
L&F Minister Rankin responded as follows:
____
*“We are down to our last month’s rent”: naturalists say clearcutting is accelerating by Jennifer Henderson in Halifax Examiner April 8, 2019

There have been changes to harvest prescriptions for several proposed sites in the South Mountain Ecodistrict. The changes are based on a combination of public comments, additional site information, and staff reviews that align with the recommendations of the Independent review of forest practices.

Two sites are not approved for harvest: AP068677 Tupperville – 1 stand 19.85 hectares planned as a systematic patch shelterwood – partial harvest; and AP068331 Lower Sixty Lake – 7 stands 116.4 hectares planned as seed tree (clearcut).

For most sites, the harvest and silviculture prescriptions shift from predominantly even aged management (clearcut) to a focus on uneven aged management (partial harvest).
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When the neighbours decide to clearcut in Nova Scotia 25 Mar2019

Good will works in many situations to reduce impacts of clearcuts on a neighbour’s land and does not work in many situations. It  currently takes more than proximity to neighbours who value the lands around them to stop or substantially modify a clearcut on Crown land.

“What if you learned that a clear-cut logging operation on private land was scheduled adjacent to your property?”asks Shelly Hipson on People for Ecological Forestry in Southwest Nova Scotia (Facebook Page) referencing a post by K.S. on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia.

Of course, in N.S., the neighbours are often the Crown.

Surely there is some irony in the fact that you can’t add a back porch to a house on urban land without a permit, can’t build too close to the next property and can get in trouble if you don’t take care of the trash properly, but you can clearcut your property – in the city or elsewhere – which can have far more impact on the neighbours, human and otherwise.
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Posted in clearcuts, Private Woodlots, Social Media | Comments Off on When the neighbours decide to clearcut in Nova Scotia 25 Mar2019

L&F nixes cut of Margaree Old Growth 20Mar2019

In 2019, not putting some old forest habitat on the chopping block is an advance in our thinking, but it is not a net improvement in the space for wild species in Nova Scotia which continues to decline

Old Yellow Birch

I had been hoping to see something upbeat  to report on the forestry front by Earth Day (Apr 22, 2019) and finally some good news arrived, or at least mostly good news. View:

Proposed cut of Margaree old growth stopped
Aaron Beswick in the Chronicle Herald Mar 20, 2019 (content currently available without subscription)

A proposed harvest of old growth forest in the Margaree area has been put on hold after a local resident raised concerns.

In February, Brian Peters wrote the Department of Lands and Forestry about a proposed 38-hectare cut in Coady Settlement. The pre-treatment assessment of the stand conducted by Port Hawkesbury Paper showed it to be one-third composed of yellow birch – a long lived climax specie of the Acadian Forest.

“I wish to emphasize that these older trees and old growth stands must be valued and retained as much as possible,” wrote Peters to the department.

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Posted in Ind Rev Post-Report, L&F, Old Growth | Comments Off on L&F nixes cut of Margaree Old Growth 20Mar2019