NSE issues clarification on Protected Areas target

Francis Martin, Deputy Minister Nova Scotia Environment sent this message out on July 19, 2018 (I happened to be on the mailing list):

Regarding the recent CBC reporting on protected areas and to clarify, there has been no change of direction by government. Nova Scotia remains focused on achieving our provincial goal of 13 per cent protected land. No decision has been made by government – positive or negative – with respect to protecting additional lands from the plan once the 13% goal has been reached. We will look at next steps once we reach the 13% goal. Also, all lands identified in the plan for which a protection decision has not been made will remain under the current interim management policy until a decision is made by government on these sites.

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Speculation mounts while we wait for the Report on the Independent Review of Forestry Practices in Nova Scotia

Kingsley Brown thinks the Report will recommend FSC certification, already implemented by many private woodlot owners, as the key to moving ahead, and expresses disdain for “the public’s unwarranted negativity” about forestry in Nova Scotia. But even FSC has a way to go to provide standards truly appropriate for Nova Scotia where we have the most intensive harvesting in Canada on some of the poorest soils.

ADDENDUM (July 21, 2018): Kingsley Brown Responds
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Begin original post:

In an op-ed: COMMENTARY: Private landowners will play key role in N.S. forestry strategy (CH, July 17, 2018), Kingsley Brown, President of Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association,  provides lots of speculation about what the now long delayed Report on the Independent Review of Forestry Practices in Nova Scotia will recommend.

He refers to “a straw poll of private forest owners and managers” as the basis of some of his predictions:
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Independent Review of Forestry Practices in Nova Scotia issues a “Process Update”

As reported on the website for the Independent Review of Forestry Practices:

Process Update: July 9, 2018

Professor Lahey has received feedback on the draft report from legal advisors in international law and is in the process, with his team, of reviewing the feedback and considering changes, if any, to the report and supporting documents. As previously indicated, when completed, the final report will be released simultaneously to the public and to the Minister.

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Premier McNeil cites conflict of interest issue as a reason for change in DNR Minister – will the same reasoning apply to top level DNR bureaucrats?

Along with the recent cabinet shuffle, the Department of Natural Resources was split into two departments: Energy and Mines, and Lands and Forestry, apparently reflecting the government’s desire “to focus more of its attention on the province’s mining and forestry industries” (view N.S. premier shuffles several cabinet positions, creates new mines department, ATV News July 5, 2018).

It is notable that the title is not Lands and Forests (as it was 1926-1991 ) but Lands and Forestry, suggesting that the forestry function will remain paramount.
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Nova Scotia cabinet shuffle acknowledges controversies over forestry practices

flag wikipediaA cabinet shuffle was announced today with significant changes in responsibilities for forestry. View N.S. premier shuffles several cabinet positions, creates new mines department. By Michael MacDonald, THE CANADIAN PRESS Published Thursday, July 5, 2018 in Global News.

Some extracts:

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil shuffled his cabinet Thursday, saying he wants his Liberal government to focus more of its attention on the province’s mining and forestry industries.

The changes come as the government adjusts to a shrinking offshore energy sector and increasing scrutiny about the amount of clear-cutting taking place in the province’s forests.

One new minister was added to the cabinet — former Progressive Conservative Chuck Porter is now the minister for municipal affairs — and three other ministers were given new duties.

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Fri July 6, 2018: Major event to protest The Pipe

” On Friday July 6, Pictou harbour will fill with fishing and pleasure boats and the Pictou waterfront with citizens gathered for the first major Nova Scotia #NOPIPE Land & Sea Rally in support of a healthy Northumberland Strait.

“We cannot allow 70-90 million litres a day of pulp mill waste to enter the prime fishing grounds of the Northumberland Strait,” says Ronnie Heighton, president of the Northumberland Fisherman’s Association and Gulf of Nova Scotia Fleet Planning Board.

At issue is Northern Pulp’s proposed new effluent treatment system.”

The rally takes place 12 noon – 2 pm

Read more in #NOPIPE Land & Sea Rally Set For July 6
Pictou Advocate, June 27, 2018.

View Pulp and Paper category on this website for some of the background.

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Addendum July 4, 2018
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Presentation on Old Forests in the Maritimes at MTRI Thurs 5 July 2018

The Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) 2018 Summer Seminar Series has begun. Just gone by (Thurs Jun 28): Freya Clark of the Medway Community Forest Co-op talked on the topic “What is Community Forestry?”.

Just announced:

Old Forests in the Maritimes
A presentation by Amanda Lavers and Colin Grey
Date & Time: Thurs 5 July 2018 beginning at 4 p.m.
Place: Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI), 9 Mount Merritt Road Kempt, Queens County.
(View their Contact us page for more details on how to get there.)

This is a timely presentation, given recent controversy over cutting of Old Growth on Crown land in eastern Nova Scotia – view DNR confirms Loon Lake area cuts included Old Growth (post, May 17, 2018) and the soon to be released Independent Review of Forestry Practices in Nova Scotia.

Amanda Lavers, director of MTRI is an author of a recently published paper on “Old forest policy and regulatory frameworks in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick with a comparison to British Columbia“. Colin Gray has been serving as the coordinator and chief field hand for MTRI’s Old Forest Project, employing the NSDNR old forest protocol to assess sites in the Maritimes for Old Growth status.


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While we wait for “The Report”, it’s the same old same old from our two Nova Scotia pulp mills; and some thoughts on what the Independent Review will recommend

While we wait in some kind of suspended animation for the Report from the Independent Review of Forest Practices following the last formal comment on April 30, 2018, the two major drivers of dissatisfaction with forestry practices in Nova Scotia – our two remaining pulp mills (Northern Pulp at Pictou, and Port Hawkesbury Paper at Port Hawkesbury)  – continue to issue defensive statements about their practices.
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Posted in clearcuts, Conservation, Economics, Independent Review, Pulp & Paper, Show Us the Science, softwood lumber | Comments Off on While we wait for “The Report”, it’s the same old same old from our two Nova Scotia pulp mills; and some thoughts on what the Independent Review will recommend

Halifax Green Network Plan released June 21, 2018 puts Landscape Level Planning for Halifax well ahead of the province as a whole

The Final Draft of the The Halifax Green Network Plan, under development for several years,  was released on June 21, 2018.

The Halifax Green Network Plan (HGNP) was initiated in 2015 shortly after the adoption of the 2014 Regional Municipality Planning Strategy (Regional Plan). The 2014 Regional Plan directs the creation of the priorities plan to: “…protect and preserve connectivity between natural areas and open space lands, to enable their integration into sustainable community design, to help define communities, to benefit the Municipality’s economy and the physical health of its people, and to reflect and support the overall purposes of this Plan.”- from Item No. 15.1 Community Planning & Economic Development Standing Committee June 21, 2018 

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Could forest fragmentation be a factor in the high incidence of blacklegged tick/lyme in Nova Scotia?

tickThe evidence is sufficient that I breathe more easily when traversing larger patches of older forest, and I am more on guard for blacklegged ticks/lyme when I am in smaller patches or in and out of clearcuts.

UPDATE July 10, 2018 More evidence that forest fragmentation a factor in ticks/lyme increase:
Forest ecology shapes Lyme disease risk in the eastern US
Predators, acorns, & fragmentation regulate numbers of infected ticks
Science Daily, July 9, 2018. Related scientific paper:
Tick‐borne disease risk in a forest food web
Richard S. Ostfeld et al., Ecology, 99(7), 2018, pp. 1562–1573 “…Given the notorious challenges with diagnosis and treatment of tick-borne illnesses (Sanchez et al. 2016), and the high costs to patients and society of these reactive approaches, prevention of exposure based on ecological indicators of heightened risk should help protect public health.”

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The South Shore of Nova Scotia, according to Mount Allison University biologist Vett Lloyd cited in the Chronicle Herald on May 19, 2018, is “probably the worst place in Canada” for lyme disease-carrying black legged ticks. The worst that is for humans but the best place from the ticks’ perspective.*
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