Nova Scotia, PEI and Nfld & Labrador likely to be excluded from U.S. tariffs on softwood lumber

“The U.S. Commerce Department said on Monday it had made a preliminary decision to exclude three of Canada‘s Atlantic provinces from a U.S. investigation into whether Canada is dumping or subsidizing exports of softwood lumber…Much of the wood in the excluded provinces is harvested from private land, and the Canadian provinces had argued that they operate under more of a free-market model.”
Global News June 26, 2017

New Brunswick is still hoping to be likewise excluded. Continue reading

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New Nova Scotia Natural Resources minister queried about clearcutting

CBC reporters managed to get in a few moments with new Natural Resources Minister, Margaret Miller, to talk about the Wentworth clearcut and related issues.
Following is an abbreviated transcript of the 5 minute audio file. It was carried on CBC’s Information Morning earlier today (June 26, 2017).

Wentworth clearcut in progress.
Photo courtesy of Raymond Plourde

Q: What are you thoughts on the Wentworth Valley clearcut?
MM: The public has been very clear about that in their concern about the area, you can’t blame them it’s a beautiful area but the reality is that the harvesting is being done on private land and except for normal harvesting practices such as setting back from waterways and leaving areas for biodiversity there is not a lot that can be done at this point.

Q. Do you not feel the province has any authority to regulate forestry practices on private land?
MM: Other than normal practices such as setbacks from waterways…at this point there is nothing.
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Latest Nova Scotia Crown land allocation includes residual Deer Winter Area

Markus Kehoe makes this plea:

Our wildlife need some help. Today [June 22], the province updated their forestry harvest plan map with a cutting plan in Upper Vaughan. The area they are planning to cut has been designated by the province as a Deer Winter Area. Everything around this block of mature softwood has already been cut. Its all they have left.
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Annapolis Co. warden says municipalities should have a say in forestry practices in Nova Scotia

Why not? Ontario passed legislation enabling municipalities to pass Tree Bylaws in 1946!

A lot of Annapolis Co. looked like this in late May, 2017 and there’s more on the way.

In early March, Annapolis County council sent a letter to Premier McNeil (also the MLA for the area) requesting that the county be excluded from the impending WestFor agreement for one year so that council and staff could review the agreement and make recommendations.

That was very likely a factor in the Liberal Government’s pre-election announcement that they would “appoint an independent expert to review our forestry practices to ensure we strike the right balance for our forests. This review will get underway as soon as possible, starting first in the western region.” (In the Budget Address, Apr 27, 2017)

I have seen no word in the public media about any response to this letter, but a CBC post By Emma Smith today (Apr 23, 2017) provided some details:
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Posted in Acadian Forest, clearcuts, Conservation, Economics, Private Woodlots, Recreation, Selection Harvest, Show Us the Science, Social Values, WestFor | Leave a comment

Summer Solstice reflections

I try to spend June 21, the summer solstice, “in the outdoors” somewhere as a celebration of life on Planet Earth and managed to do so this year, albeit part of it traversing a 4-year old clearcut with a friend. Then we reached some of the remnant forest on a steep slope bordering a stream which disappeared belowground and reappeared at intervals, sometimes expanding into a small wetland. It was a mixed Acadian forest, with yellow birch, red maple, hemlock and red spruce up to 2+ ft dbh (diameter at breast height).

The air was cool, and the ambiance tranquil, in marked contrast to the clearcut we had just stepped out of. I was most struck by the intimate proximity of a large diameter yellow birch and a smaller hemlock which are often occur close together, but this was exceptional. An Acadian Forest Love Affair, I thought.
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Wentworth Valley on the front lines of tourism versus clearcutting in Nova Scotia

As I set out in the a.m. on the Summer Solstice, I caught the last bit of a CBC Information Morning piece on the Wentworth Valley clearcut. I had missed earlier reports about it, the first, apparently, by Carol Hyslop: Sensory Assault on the Wentworth Valley, Six Rivers, May 31, 2017.

Wentworth has always been known for its beautiful valley. I remember when it was truly beautiful…so beautiful it twisted your heart…Life for those who care for the valley has been a continuous matter of fighting for the things which should be their right…Yesterday, on my way home from points north in Wentworth I suddenly noticed an odd change in the outline of our mountains. Someone was cutting a huge number of trees at the top of Higgins Mountain!

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Nova Scotia State of the Forest 2016 Report released

Back on April 14, 2017 I commented that it was “Time for the overdue State of the Forest Report with the complete numbers! The last State of the Forest Report was in 2008; the next one was scheduled for Feb. 2013 but has not yet appeared.”

Sometime between then and now, the report, dated April 2016 and labelled State of the Forest 2016, has appeared on the NSDNR website under Forestry/News and Current Information. (It seems there is no associated Press Release, so I can’t determine exactly when it was posted.) View Report

The executive summary highlights the following: Continue reading

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Clearcut Nova Scotia, continued..12June 2017

Recently announced cuts include 343 ha of clearcuts next to two Protected Areas in Cape Breton

Clearcuts near Protected Areas in Cape Breton (from the Harvest Plan Map Viewer).

The latest announcement of Crown land harvests (Harvest Plan Map Viewer June 12, 2017): 2,320 hectares (188 parcels, 73% clearcuts, 27% partial cuts; comments close on July 2, 2018).

These include 343 ha of new clearcuts next to two Protected Areas in Cape Breton – the Margaree River Watershed Protected Area and the Ruiss Noir Protected Area.

Perhaps the thinking is that if they cut close to Protected Areas, the Clearcut Refugees have a place nearby to go.

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Producer of “re-invented maple syrup” gets Nova Scotia Exporter of the Year Award

Premier McNeil gave the Nova Scotia Exporter of the Year Award to Hutchinson’s Maple Products in a ceremony at Pier 21 yesterday.

It could hardly be a more Nova Scotian story. Chris & Anna Hutchinson grew up on farms in The Valley, went into long haul trucking for 20 years in central Canada, and then returned to their roots.
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Margaret Miller new Minister of Nova Scotia Dept. of Natural Resources

Margaret MillerWell, I guess I won my bet (although no one took me up on it) that Lloyd Hines would not be reappointed Minister of Natural Resources in Stephen McNeil’s freshly re-elected government.

The Premier announced the new cabinet today and the DNR post goes to Margaret Miller who served as Minister of Environment in the last 16 months of the first McNeil government (Oct 8, 2013 to May 30, 2017).
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