Canada’s faulty forest carbon accounting laid bare 30Mar2020

Barry Saxifrage, writing in the National Observer, lays out the complicated way Canada reports forest carbon balances, and how that reporting has been changed in recent years to hide some inconvenient truths

Curved arrows represent biologically mediated flows of GHGs: the straight arrow, industrial emissions of GHGs; and the symbols at bottom right, long term sequestration of carbon in the oceans. Carbon dioxide is the most important GHG in relation to forestry.

In a remarkable, lengthy and well researched opinion piece, Barry Saxifrage lays out the complicated way Canada reports forest carbon balances, and how that reporting has been changed in recent years so that we can continue to “to use a big whack of forest carbon “offsets” to meet Canada’s 2030 climate target”.

He writes in the National Observer as “a climate reporter and National Observer’s resident chart geek [who] focuses on the data of climate change”. View: As Canada’s forests become carbon bombs, Ottawa pushes the crisis off the books
by Barry Saxifrage on nationalobserver.com, March 30, 2020.
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What’s the earliest flowering native plant in Nova Scotia? 29Mar2020

It’s a toss-up between Skunk Cabbage and Dwarf Eastern Mistletoe

Above: Skunk Cabbage Mar 30, 2008, St. Mary’s Bay area, Digby Co. Left: Spathes emerging from snow. Right: spadix (flower clusters) exposed.
Below:Eastern Dwarf Mistletoe, Mar 28, 2020; at right, opened up. These photos by Bob Guscott
Click on image for larger version

I thought the answer was skunk cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus, which I thought is found naturally only in SW Nova Scotia but, according to Nova Scotia Plants, also occurs in Cumberland Co.

The skunk cabbage pics at right were taken during  a NS Wild Flora Society outing in 2009, led by our President, Charlie Cron, who travels to SW Nova Scotia most springs to check it out.

I made a post about it on Facebook and soon got a message from Bob Guscott, retired forest pest specialist with DNR (now L&F), one of his obsessions being the  ecology of mistletoe in NS.

Said Bob:

“Saw your FB post today on Skunk Cabbage. I have not seen it in Nova Scotia yet, but always thought that it was a candidate for first native plant to flower. The other candidate for first to flower in NS is Eastern Dwarf Mistletoe, Arceuthobium pusillum.
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Why we need a Precautionary Biodiversity Landscape Plan for Nova Scotia 16Mar2020

There is more to reversing losses of  forest and associated aquatic biodiversity in NS than simply reducing clearcutting

What we have now is a precautionary plan to protect wood supply in NS

The major cause for loss of biodiversity worldwide and locally is habitat loss and fragmentation. We are probably only beginning to the see the most extreme effects of it in NS: the local extinction or “extirpation” of species. An example: the mainland moose population seems to have collapsed; there is strong enough evidence that mismanagement or lack of management of habitat by L&F is the major cause that a group of naturalists have taken the province  to court to force them to take action they were committed to take but didn’t.

But well before the total collapse of species, they become less abundant and less genetically diverse. Those of us of some age remember days when brook trout and salmon and insects and forest wildflowers and a wide range of forest birds were very much more abundant than they are today. (A smaller number of species actually benefit in some way from increased human interaction and have become more abundant, sometimes to the point they are  damaging to ecosystems, e.g. bald eagles in NS).
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Protecting supply of “wood” but not necessarily big trees from Nova Scotia’s Crown lands remains the priority at L&F 15Mar2020

Can we heal our landscape AND maintain wood supply as in the recent past or even grow the supply as contended by L&F/Minister Rankin? Where will the High production Forestry sites be placed in this landscape? The image is a screen capture from the NS Provincial  Landscape Viewer  (Nov 19, 2019) –  the pale yellow is forest recovering from clearcuts. What remains of multi-aged/Old Forest (purple) is severely fragmented. From NSFN post post: “So many clearcuts” in SW Nova Scotia (continued) 20Nov2019

As Addie and Fred Campaingne pointed out, the fundamental principle underlying the Lahey recommendations is to redress the balance between commercial uses of forests and protecting ecosystems and biodiversity.

“In other words, I have concluded that protecting ecosystems and biodiversity should not be balanced against other objectives and values as if they were of equal weight or importance to those other objectives or values. Instead, protecting and enhancing ecosystems should be the objective (the outcome) of how we balance environmental, social, and economic objectives and values in practising forestry in Nova Scotia.” – William Lahey, Aug 2018

It looked for a brief moment in early Sepember  of 2018 that L&F took this seriously, sending out in a directive to its industrial partners a set of precautionary measures that would have immediate negative impact on harvesting for the benefit of biodiversity. That lasted barely a week before it was retracted. On Oct 1, 2018, coincidentally or not the day the “new NAFTA” was agreed upon in principle, the province secretly signed a one year deal with Westfor that removed restrictions that had been applied when the Independent Review was announced (before the provincial election);  the Report of the Independent Review was in (Aug 21, 2018)  but not responded to by government, so logically the restrictions should have continued.  There followed that fall and over the winter, a rash of harvesting and proposed or actual harvesting of old growth stands that created and is still causing widespread upset and public protest – just read the posts on this website from Nov 2018 to June 2019 and the Social Media Posts that began on Jan 16, 2019. To me, the epitome of L&F’s Forestry First priority and downplaying of biodiversity concerns is the continuing fiasco over the Dalhousie-Corbett Lakes forest.
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Addie & Fred Campaigne: Nova Scotia’s High Production Forestry Phase 1 omits consideration of Species-At-Risk and ecosystems 6Mar2020

Can we heal our landscape? The image is a screen capture from the NS Provincial  Landscape Viewer  (Nov 19, 2019) –  the pale yellow is forest recovering from clearcuts. What remains of multi-aged/Old Forest (purple) is severely fragmented. From NSFN post post: “So many clearcuts” in SW Nova Scotia (continued) 20Nov2019

Like many others who had placed some hope that L&F would actually implement the spirit of the Lahey Recommendations as well as the details, I have been dispirited by the course of events since the Lahey Report was received to the point that I now find it difficult to even read and think about L&F’s still unfolding response, let alone write about it.

L&F’s ‘High Production Forestry Discussion paper’ released on Feb 21, with responses due by March 16, 2020, did not help.

Yesterday, Addie & Fred Campaigne, residents of “high elevation (150m+) north Lunenburg county”, posted their response to the discussion paper on Stop Spraying & Clear-Cutting Nova Scotia (Public Facebook Group). It expresses the higher level concerns about losses of biodiversity and climate change that concern so many, and describes in detail the impacts that HPF would have on the local ecology and economy. It is knowledgable, thoughtful and passionate. They gave me permission to post it on NSFN. It begins: Continue reading

Posted in Acadian Forest, Conservation, Ind Rev Post-Report, Watersheds | Comments Off on Addie & Fred Campaigne: Nova Scotia’s High Production Forestry Phase 1 omits consideration of Species-At-Risk and ecosystems 6Mar2020

Richard Spinks did not invent Nova Scotia’s Plan B to replace the lost market for “low value wood” 1Mar2020

B for Biomass, Biofuel, Bioplastics, Biorefinery, Bioeconomy…

The first versions of Plan B emerged when the Bowater mill closed in 2012. It is still alive and well, mostly  behind closed doors.

The Chronicle Herald seems to think that the Grandiose Scheme to replace the lost market for “low value wood”  in NS following the demise of The Mill began with British-born entrepreneur Richard Spinks recent proposal to  build a wood-pellet mill in Pictou County  – “He thinks a wood-pellet mill could use all the chips Northern Pulp bought, perhaps more, and could find a market in Europe”.

However, an equally grandiose Plan B which involves some combination and permutation of Biomass, Bioplastics,  Biofuel, Biorefinery and Bioeconomy and the like has been hanging around  since the closure of the Bowater Mill in 2012 and before, pushed by Company Men who move back and forth between the Companies and government and NSDNR/L&F in particular as the companies fare better and worse.

View a history of Plan B on NSFN  under Current Issues>BIOMASS/BIOFUELS & GHGs>Plan B/Biorefinery.
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Nova Scotia ‘High Production Forestry Discussion paper’ now available, March 13 is deadline for public comment 21Feb 2020 -NOW EXTENDED TO MARCH 31

UPDATE Mar 12, 2020: The deadline has been extended to Mar 31, 2020 according to ML, who was sent an e-mail today (Mar 12) informing “key stakeholders” of the new deadline.
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L&F issued its latest “Ecological Forestry Update / Lahey Implementation Update” on Feb 19, 2020. In it, the statement: “A discussion paper that provides the description and rationale for this proposal will be available on our website… for public comment today.”

It wasn’t there on the 19th, I didn’t check yesterday, but anyway it’s out today: View link to High production forestry criteria on the Ecological Forestry page.

The specific 26 page document is listed under Review Material: High Production Forestry Phase 1 – Discussion Paper (February, 2020)

The “Consultation Timeline”:

The public can submit to ecologicalforestry@novascotia.ca. Please include “High Production Forestry” in the subject line. The consultation closes 13 March.
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Nova Scotia L&F issues an “Ecological Forestry Update / Lahey Implementation Update” 19Feb2020

Received today:

From: ecologicalforestry <ecologicalforestry@novascotia.ca>
To: ecologicalforestry

Feb. 19 at 10:38 a.m.

The Department of Lands and Forestry continues to be committed to implementing ecological forestry using a triad model approach.

Ongoing collaboration between department staff and external experts has resulted in progress in numerous key areas, including:
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In 2020, strict standards and transparency are required for Nova Scotia’s forest chipping/bioenergy projects to be credible as “good for the environment” 11Feb2020

Curved arrows represent biologically mediated flows of GHGs: the straight arrow, industrial emissions of GHGs; and the symbols at bottom right, long term sequestration of carbon in the oceans. Carbon dioxide is the most important GHG in relation to forestry.

Small scale wood chip-heating systems for public buildings are currently being fast-tracked by L&F as a partial substitute for The Mill as a market for low value wood, and touted as “carbon-friendly fuel“.

A much bolder vision is being promoted by British businessman Richard Spinks. He proposes

“…to develop a second generation biomass pellet manufacturing facility in Pictou County. The proposal targets an investment of $84 million Canadian, and would involve shipping 600,000 tonnes of product per annum within 12-18 months of project start
– from Pictou County Chamber: ‘Green’ business proposal could spell jobs for county by Jackie Jardin in pictouadvocate.com Feb 6, 2020.

The proposal has already been endorsed by Pictou County County Chamber of Commerce Chairman Blair Van Veld who is “over the moon” about it (Pictou Advocate Feb 6, 2020); it is  also touted in a Feb 20 Chronicle Herald editorial.
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Posted in Biomass, Climate Change, Ind Rev Post-Report, L&F | Comments Off on In 2020, strict standards and transparency are required for Nova Scotia’s forest chipping/bioenergy projects to be credible as “good for the environment” 11Feb2020

Nova Scotia Lands & Forestry looking for “Manager – Ecosystems and Habitats” 30Jan2020

It remains difficult to find out who does what at L&F

From  jobs.novascotia.ca

Date: Jan 27, 2020
Apply By: 2/10/2020
Lands and Forestry
Manager – Ecosystems and Habitats, Permanent, KENTVILLE
Competition # 23687
…As the Manager of Ecosystems and Habitats, you will lead a team of 6 scientists, technicians and specialists in wildlife habitat, modelling, ecology and GIS responsible for policy, research, legislation and management strategies for the stewardship of Nova Scotia’s ecosystems and wildlife habitats. You will provide leadership, scientific and management expertise and coordination on ecosystem and habitat issues in order to meet provincial, national and international objectives.

….You have a critical role in the implementation of ecological forestry and landscape level planning in Nova Scotia by collaborating with forestry specialists and contributing to the development of new forest management methods.
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