It’s curious (and concerning) that the recently released Progress Report on the 2011-2020 Natural Resources Strategy and the related Press Release dwell on feel-good items such as the Community Forest, establishing a Forest Biodiversity Science Advisory Committee and a new forest operating agreement with Mi’kmaq but fail to mention the first two of five priorities for forests cited under the NSDNR Business plan for 2016-2017:
– Complete projects to assess the current state of Provincial fibre supply/cost and identify/qualify target markets for biorefinery products, in collaboration with provincial, federal and private sector partners.
– In collaboration with other government departments and agencies, engage with targeted companies to attract biorefinery investment to Nova Scotia.
It’s concerning because biorefinery products, such as “green” biofuels and plastics, biochemicals and the like, may involve “value-added technologies” but do not require high value forests as feedstocks. Pretty well any biomass will do, and the cheaper the better. That’s not good for sustainability of our forest biodiversity, which doesn’t feel so good. It’s also doubtful that we would be competitive in this arena without major concessions, or remain competitive once the most cheaply harvested (i.e. readily clearcut) feedstocks are gone.
And it’s concerning because NSDNR is being less than forthright about its real priorities.