The legacy of Nova Scotia’s Tobeatic wilderness

Naturalist Alain Belliveau has been concerned about harvesting in the Tobeatic Wildlife Management Area and realized that few people know what the Sanctuary / Wildlife Management Area is all about, so wrote an essay about it.

Alain appeals to Nova Scotians to express their views about the area and especially to let their MLAs know about them.

The essay is presented below, complemented with artwork and photos from Mark Brennan’s Tobeatic Sketches.

“John Pictou Carry”, Sporting Lake Stream, oil on birch panel by Mark Brennan, posted with permission of Mark Brennan.

What is the Legacy of Our Oldest Protected Wilderness?
By Alain Belliveau

An impressive anniversary is coming up in Nova Scotia, notable to anyone who enjoys the out-of-doors or simply the notion of areas being set aside for protecting our rich backwoods heritage, for wildlife to prosper and for Species At Risk to recover (and many have yet to do so). The first large wild spaces were safeguarded 90 years ago, and included the famed Tobeatic. Continue reading

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Nova Scotia’s Northern Pulp responds to critics of mill emissions failure, clearcutting

Northern Pulp has not had an easy go recently. In September we learned that the Pictou mill had failed emissions tests and later the Premier expressed concern about the $697.50 fine. In June, there was an uproar over clearcutting on prominent vistas in the touristy Wentworth Valley which according to author/activist Joan Baxter “was on a 6,184-acre piece of land that Nova Scotians had financed for Northern Pulp.”

In an Op-ed yesterday, the director of corporate communications for Paper Excellence Canada (the owner of Northern Pulp) acknowledges the bad publicity but wants the public to understand that “There is another side of Northern Pulp — several, actually. One of dedicated, hard-working employees who take pride in their accomplishments” reminding us that “The team at Northern Pulp consists of over 300 people who, like their friends and neighbours, juggle work commitments while raising families, volunteering and contributing to their community in a meaningful way.”

Read more in OPINION: The other side of the Northern Pulp story by Kathy Cloutier (Chronicle Herald, Oct 20, 2017).

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Words, rhythms and songs of the Forest Funeral at Province House, Nova Scotia, Oct 19, 2017

In case you missed it…


Top: Trombonist Danny Martin sets the tone (Chopin’s Piano Sonata No.2) for the procession. Mid: On to Province House. Bottom: Melissa Labrador, assisted by her children, performs a smudge

About 600 souls participated in a Forest Funeral on Thursday afternoon, assembling in the Grand Parade Square and proceeding to Province House, the air filled with the solemn notes of a Funeral March played on a trombone.

An open pine casket holding “match-stick”-sized logs was carried by six pall-bearers, while mourners carried (stuffed) animals of the Acadian forest.

The casket was set down at Province House, and the wildlife set out before it.

Dedications, music, song, prayers and testaments followed as listed below with the corresponding audio files.

The event was organized by the Healthy Forest Coalition and the Ecology Action Centre to highlight and mourn the losses of mature and old growth Acadian forest and associated wildlife due to extensive clearcutting over the last 50+ years. The clearcutting has taken place under the tenure of governments variously formed by the Conservatives, Liberals and NDP.

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A day of mourning for Nova Scotia’s forests & wildlife

Mourning Nature, work by Maria P

In an op-ed, Donna Crossland of the Healthy Forest Coalition writes about the losses being mourned at the “Forest Funeral” taking place today in Halifax.

When bobcat and fisher lose their homes through clearcutting, seldom can they move elsewhere to set up a new home range, as “elsewhere” is already occupied. Thus, they cannot find sufficient food and often starve.

Barred Owl in proposed Shingle Lake Nature Reserve, July 29, 2017. Clearcuts are scheduled nearby.

During their last days they may hide away to die slow, agonizing deaths. Wildlife biologist Soren Bondrup-Nielsen explains that we rarely witness their suffering because they tend to retreat to dense brush or other secluded locations. Scavengers quickly devour their remains. The relationship is simple: No forests, no wildlife…

View OPINION: Forest destruction takes tragic toll on wildlife by Donna Crossland in the Chronicle Herald, Oct 18, 2017.

The op-ed closes with an invitation to attend the Forest Funeral.

Below is a schedule for the event Continue reading

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Jamie Simpson on forests and forestry in Nova Scotia and the Forest Funeral

Jamie Simpson is a forester, environmental lawyer and author of two books on the Acadian forest

Don Connolly interviewed Jamie Simpson earlier today on CBC Information Morning about forests and forestry in Nova Scotia and the upcoming Forest Funeral. Below is an abbreviated transcript of the interview.

Intro: Jamie Simpson is fed up. He is a forester and an environmental lawyer. He is also the author of two books on Acadian forests. For years he has been trying to get the province to put an end to cc on crown land but he says the province is not listening so this week he has helped organize a public protest. It will take the form of a funeral procession for Nova Scotia’s forests.

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Bob Bancroft on Rick Howe Show today to talk about purpose of the Forest Funeral

Bob Bancroft talking about cavity dwellers in a talk to the Friends of Redtail Society in 2013

The Rick Howe Show – Monday, October 16, 2017: 12 p.m. Conservationist and biologist Bob Bancroft is planning a symbolic funeral for the forest, he will be giving the eulogy at the Thursday ceremony. He’ll tell us more about the event to start out final hour.

Listen Live


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Rare gypsum karst forest in Cape Breton protected by NCC

Google Earth image of gypsum cliffs and forest at Cains Mt., C.B.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada announced yesterday that that it has “protected three extraordinary habitats totalling 274 hectares” in Cape Breton. Amongst them is a rare gypsum karst landscape at Cains Mountain, where 162 ha are being protected.

NCC’s Craig Smith described the area to CBC:

There are very steep gypsum cliffs, exposed gypsum cliffs, deep, deep, deep caverns and tunnels and cave systems under the ground”…Growing on top of the gypsum formations on Cains Mountain is a towering old Acadian forest, and the site supports about a dozen rare species.

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Premier concerned that Northern Pulp fined only $697.50 for failing tests

Global News reports that Northern Pulp received a $697.50 summary offence ticket from Nova Scotia Environment for failing three tests out of the last 10 on its power boiler. The premier has “asked the department to review its summary fines as a result” and is quoted: “I think it’s an important time to look at those because there needs to be a deterrent. There needs to be a financial deterrent and I fully expect to hear from the minister and the department… Let them do their work and we’ll go from there.” Read more at Global News (Oct 10, 2017)

See also Northern Pulp Pictou mill still polluting the air (Post Sep 19, 2017)

Tip of the hat to Tree Frog Forestry News

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Nova Scotia Healthy Forest Coalition to hold a “Forest Funeral” Thurs Oct 19, 2017

As announced on the Forest Funeral Events Facebook page:

You are invited to mourn our forest losses with citizens from across the province.
Please come to pay your respects to the once great Acadian Forest.

An ‘open casket’ of tiny ‘logs’ will be followed by a procession of wildlife that have died through drastic losses of habitat. Pall bearers and forest mourners will walk from Grand Parade Square to the funeral ceremony at Province House. From there, the bodies will be carried to the very origin of forest mismanagement, the NS DNR office on Hollis Street.

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More cutting near protected areas in Nova Scotia, now the Tobeatic

Landscape level planning for biodiversity conservation appears to be lacking in Crown land harvest decisions

Proposed harvests as shown on Harvest Plan Map Viewer
Click on image for larger version

A CBC story describes how “a proposed clearcut near Nova Scotia’s largest protected wilderness [the Tobeatic Protected Wilderness Area] is worrying environmentalists and nearby residents who say it’s a troubling sign of things to come.”

View Proposed clearcut near pending expansion of protected wilderness area sparks concern by Emma Smith, CBC News Oct 09, 2017.

Continue reading

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