Clearcutting is putting tourism at risk says President of Nova Scotia Tourism Industry Association

Photo courtesy of Raymond Plourde

“Nova Scotia is blessed with incredible natural beauty…[but] in many areas, there has been a total abdication of responsibility around clearcutting targets and forestry management practices, including herbicide and pesticide spraying. As people seek out authentic and nature-based experiences, why are we putting at risk both our healthy and sustainable forests and Nova Scotia’s tourism”.

So asks Darlene Grant Fiander, president, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia in an Op-ed in the Chronicle Herald (Sep 21, 2017).

Good question, and hardly the first time it has been asked. Continue reading

Posted in Acadian Forest, clearcuts, Economics, NSDNR, Recreation, Social Values | Leave a comment

Northern Pulp Pictou mill still polluting the air

“Nova Scotia’s Environment Department has begun an investigation into Northern Pulp operations after the Pictou County mill exceeded air contaminant emissions limits by nearly 50 per cent in June…the third year in a row emissions from the power boiler at the Northern Pulp mill exceeded the limits set down by the Environment Department.”

Local mill watchdog Matt Gunning wants NSE to post results of emmissions tests on its website.

Read more at CBC news (Sep 19, 2017)

View also cleanthemill.com
“People of Pictou County have been concerned about the pollution produced by the pulp mill since it began operations in 1967, but the desire to maintain jobs had historically overpowered the voices of the concerned.” The pollution includes harmful air emissions, and use of Boat Harbour to treat pulp mill effluents, both notorious.

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Zack M on Old Growth forest in Nova Scotia

Old growth hemlock

Just a few days back, I made a post about Zack Metcalfe’s walk through clearcut Crown land. His Guide talked about the declines of once common birds inhabiting mature forest, and how forestry on Crown land is removing the last vestiges of suitable habitat. It is a melancholy story that struck a lot of chords, as evidenced by the discussion about it on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia (some the comments are appended to the post on this website).

Now Zack M writes about the few remnants of the forest that covered much of our land when the first Europeans arrived, the fabled “Old Growth”.

It’s easy to lose yourself in old growth in the forest, your neck craned back to admire the towering canopy and your voice kept low as to not disturb the silence. Stepping into one is like entering a cathedral, and having its defining features pointed out is like an initiation into some exclusive club. And the more you see, the more lofty your membership.

Continue reading

Posted in Acadian Forest, Biophilia, Conservation, Natural History, Old Growth, Social Values | Leave a comment

Hefler Forest Products to restart sawmill

heffler300 Since its rebirth following bankruptcy of the once family owned, 150 year old operation in Lower Sackville, N.S., Hefler Forest products has been running on the profitable biomass energy operation alone. (View post, Aug 3, 2017).

Now, according to an article by James Risdon in the Chronicle Herald (Sep 15, 2017) , they will be restarting the sawmill, beginning with “production of specialty wood products, including 12-foot and 16-foot lengths and deck boards”, and will add 25 sawmill jobs for a total of 40 employees.

As well, they will direct wastes, in place of a portion of purchased biomass, to the biomass energy operation thereby reducing a portion of the carbon emissions associated with any use of primary forest biomass. (“Hefler Forest Products has been buying the biomass needed to keep its power plant in operation through Wagner Forest Nova Scotia.” – CH, July 27, 2017)

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Posted in Biomass, Economics, Lumber | Leave a comment

Bob Bancroft concerned about attention to forest ecology in the Independent Review of Nova Scotia forestry

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

CBC Information Morning’s Don Connelly interviewed Bob Bancroft on Aug 31, 2017, one day after the NS Government announced the start of the Independent Review of Forestry. An audio of the 8 minute interview is available on the CBC website.

In late June/early July, CBC Information Morning conducted four interviews related to Western Crown lands issues which had precipitated the Independent Review (see links).

Below is an ‘abbreviated transcript’ of the interview with Bob Bancroft.

Intro: Stephen McNeil announced a review of the provinces forestry practices during the election campaign in May. He said it would be completed by September. Yesterday DNR Minister Margaret Miller announced that the review will be headed by former Deputy Environment Minister Bill Lehey and it will be completed by the spring. Bob Bancroft is a wildlife biologist and was one of the authors of the provinces last forestry review in 2011

DC: Good morning Bob, what do you think of the choice of Bill Lehey to run this review?
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Posted in clearcuts, Conservation, WestFor | Leave a comment

If we run into some good woods, we must be off of Crown land

    So writes Zack Metcalfe, citing a not-so-funny joke told to him by a guide taking him through a slice of Halifax County.

    Practicing forestry as if there were a tomorrow. This old logging road is on land now owned by Halifax Regional Municipality land. As private land it was logged up until about 20 years ago, but there are still lots of trees over 2 ft diameter, and snags and coarse woody debris.

    A Quiet Word on Forestry, published in the September issue of Rural Delivery, begins with “There are no names in this story”, a line by Ernest Hemingway. Writes ZM:

    I’ve followed this topic [NS forestry] in earnest for several months now, and everywhere it’s the same, from people in government, industry and even conservation; no one wants to talk openly about it – some for political reasons, some citing job security, and some because they don’t want to burn important bridges. So while visiting a slice of Crown land in Halifax County with yet another person in-the-know, I decided to indulge my source in anonymity. Otherwise, this story wouldn’t exist.

    Continue reading

Posted in Biophilia, clearcuts, Conservation, Economics, Letters&Editorials | Leave a comment

Softwood lumber update: sales to U.S. still high

In the business section of the Chronicle Herald, James Risdon looks at the market for N.S. softwood lumber south of the border. “Booming softwood lumber prices are letting Canadian producers carry on business as usual…South of the border, lumber prices have gone up by almost exactly the same amount this year as the countervailing duties, says Joel MacLaggan, sales manager at Waverley-based lumber broker Eacan Timber.”

There are still concerns about a possible downturn in the U.S. housing and the exclusion of N.S., P.E.I. and N&L from the countervailing duties still has to be finalized.

View Business as usual for lumber producers (CH, Sep 5, 2017).

Posted in Economics, Lumber | Leave a comment

Northern Pulp to build a replacement for Boat Harbour treatment facility

“While the province moves forward with their promise to clean up Boat Harbour and to shut down the controversial Boat Harbour treatment facility by January 2020, Northern Pulp is taking steps to replace it…There are still many aspects of the project that have to be determined including who pays for it and owns it once it is complete.” Read more in ngnews.ca, Sep 1, 2017

UPDATE (Sep 7, 2017): View also Details of Boat Harbour waste water plant murky (Francis Campbell in the Chronicle Herald, Sep 6. 2017)

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Posted in Mi'kmaq, Pulp & Paper, Social Values | Leave a comment

NSDNR Minister: Help conservation by being better informed & treading carefully

In a Canadian Press item about the addition of eleven species to Nova Scotia’s list of species at risk, Natural Resources Minister Margaret Miller is cited as saying that Nova Scotians can help with conservation by becoming better informed and taking care when venturing into the wilderness. (View Chronicle Herald, Sep 1, 2017).

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

In the same Saturday print edition of the CH in which the CP item appeared, a letter to the editor bemoans “major cutting of forest going on here [West Dalhousie area, Annapolis Co]..just behind this is a block of what is now considered protected land, but they are cutting it all in between my land and the protected area…West Dalhousie is dealing with tree destruction, spraying, road issues, environmental concerns about which nothing is done. Furthermore, there is wild animal displacement due to habitat loss, although officials deny it.”

I hope all Nova Scotians take Minister Miller’s message to heart.

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Posted in clearcuts, Conservation, Letters&Editorials, NSDNR | Leave a comment

NSDNR responds to Halifax Field Naturalists’ Concerns and Questions about impacts of forestry in Nova Scotia on conservation of biodiversity

Ovenbird nest with chicks
By Fredlyfish4Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
The density of ovenbird territories declines as intensity of forest harvesting increases (BBMP2)

A few days prior to the last Budget Address of the Liberal Government’s first term on April 27, 2017, the Conservation Committee of the Halifax Field Naturalists submitted a 30 page document to the Nova Scotia government in which they asked specific questions about the science of sustainable forestry in Nova Scotia.

A response to the comments and questions was received from NSDNR Minister Margaret Miller on Aug 24, 2017. View Post on HFN website; it includes a link to the NSDNR response.

For reference, an extract from the summary for the Concerns and Questions document is given below:
Continue reading

Posted in Acadian Forest, Conservation, NSDNR | Leave a comment