Editorials and letters about forestry in Nova Scotia, continued..7Jan017

logsIn Saturday’s CH, two gentlemen with firm roots in forestry add their voices to the ongoing discussion of forestry issues in the media.

Tom Miller of Green Hill, a woodlot owner and operator for 42 years, responds to an earlier letter in which it was suggested that the public leave behind “the spinning of romantic tales of horses, manual saws and long winters spent in the woods” to let the professionals do their technologically sophisticated work. Says Tom Miller: “Ms. Fuller alone has a romantic notion that anyone wants to be using manual bucksaws in the woods today. But she does the horse a disservice. After 42 years in the woods, three-quarters of it spent as a “chopper”, I can say that horse-logging is the hands-down best way to spend a day in the “lumber woods”. Watching a well-trained draft animal help get the job done is a rare treat. The “horse-logging woods” are also a rare treat today. You need big trees to make that work and there are few big tree “chances” left.

Tom Miller also takes on the critiques of Ms Fuller of “retirees” Mike Parker (Herald Opinions, Dec. 3) and Bob Bancroft who have questioned the science behind NSDNR’s claims that our forests are being harvested sustainably. Says Tom: “Our forests are not stronger after decades of “scientific forest management” that no one seems able to provide, only talk about. We’re cutting our children’s wood now and hoping for the best, it seems.” He expresses concern that “the protected areas are next on the chopping block.”

Ed MacDonell, manager, of Conform Ltd., “a shareholder-owned forest management company based in Middle Musquodoboit, comments on the challenges of running a forestry business: “we have suffered through sometimes sudden, unexpected bankruptcies of customer mills. In those closures, we have been stung several times, for tens of thousands of dollars when we have not been paid for wood delivered. These losses are painful. The company loses investment in machinery and labour costs and the landowner loses on stumpage value owing.”

Ed hears “a lot of negative talk regarding the forest industry in Nova Scotia. Some is warranted and some I feel is simply a result of poor communication by those involved” and concludes: “Forestry needs a facelift. I want to work in a profession I am proud of, one I would be happy to see my children pursue as a career. Now there seems to be a heightened desire and accepted need for change, the likes of which I haven’t seen in 30 years of paying attention to these issues. It is time we all pulled together to give forestry the high standing it deserves, but until the public, industry and government are all on side, forests and forestry’s fate will be uncertain.”

In a discussion forum, Don Wilson of Brule Point offered these comments supportive of Miller’s views of horse logging (cited with permission of DW):

“Thanks to Tom Miller for taking time to refute Kim Fuller’s rant. Horse logging can be profitable when select cutting old growth large trees – both softwood and hardwood. In my own forest lots I use a small 40 hp 2 wheel drive farm tractor for skidding. It can get around with short turns just like a horse and doesn’t cause a lot of soil damage while doing so. I use a chain choker and lift the end nearest the drawbar then drive away. Sometimes with a single large log and sometimes with several in tow to a landing suitable for a truck to load at. I like to haul tree length to the landing where I then cut off a log(s) and a piece of studwood.

Revenue from this activity ranges from $ 150.00 to $ 500.00 a working day. Note: I don’t work at this year around. Some done in winter and some in summer.

And I leave trees growing that will soon “tent over” the opened space and grow at a faster pace while absorbing more CO2 and spewing more oxygen.

Using this method of bringing in revenue from my woodlot I will never use up all the growth. I’ll be long gone and there will be a valuable resource for the next generation. My next door neighbour has his eye on the lot and has asked for first dibs on purchasing it when I hit the rocking chair for good. The net worth of the lot inventory is more today than it was 20 years ago – even at the currently depressed prices. He has a Woodmizer band saw mill and can bring extra value to the cut trees and sell locally.

… all of which helps to give forestry issues the attention they deserve and educate a lot of us, myself included.


As noted under About this site, “The Home Page for this website consists of “posts” and is intended to serve as a record of events, news and opinions on the subject of forests and forestry in Nova Scotia as they unfold, beginning on June 21, 2016.”

To view past posts reporting on Letters and Editorials, click on Letters&Editorials under Categories on the right panel of this page, or click here. I am sure I have missed a few or quite a few, but I do not filter on the basis of whether I agree with them or not (although I may comment on them), so the compilation should provide some sense of the back and forth about forestry in Nova Scotia in the Editorials and Letters to the Ed.

A list of all posts on the Home Page since June 21, 2016, is available under All Posts.

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