Editorials and letters about forestry in Nova Scotia, continued..4Mar2017

The back and forth on Forests and Forestry in Nova Scotia was prominent in the Saturday CH.

Mike Parker, who kicked off the Show us the Science series, cautions that we “Don’t listen to industry reassurances”. He “searched out a respected voice who can speak to forestry issues in Nova Scotia. I found it in the person of Dr. Jack Ward Thomas (1934-2016), a renowned American ecologist, Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation in the School of Forestry at the University of Montana, and thirteenth chief of the U.S. Forest Service.” Parker quotes Thomas at length, all of it resonating strongly with the current debates about forestry in Nova Scotia.

Jeff Bishop, executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, goes after Bob Bancroft for his piece Public forests should not be private resource (CH Feb 21, 2017). Bancroft was particularly critical of the lack of public consultation on the WestFor lease: “This lease came from top public servants in the N.S. Department of Natural Resources with no public consultation”. Claiming not to confuse opinion with facts, Mr. Bishop cites the consultation conducted for the Western Crown Lands (“nine public meetings and four stakeholder-group meetings”), which did not include discussions of the subsequent Westfor lease or anything like handing over management of public lands to a consortium of private interests.

Harvesting east of Cloud Lake Protected Area, N.S. from The Canadian Forest Service/UBC/Canadian Space Agency Satellite Forest Monitoring Map

Finally Malcolm Barkhouse (More to satellite images than meets the magnifier goes after Donna Crossland’s use of the Global Forest Watch images showing forest cover loss in the Cloud lake area drawing on his “long years of experience working with aerial images of forested land” to argue that Crossland had grossly exaggerated the extent of clearcutting. I can’t claim any kind of expertise in reading such maps but I have had reason to question the GFW numbers which for an area I know well underestimated recent clearcutting. (View earlier post). I checked out the Cloud Lake area on the Canadian Forest Service/UBC/Canadian Space Agency Satellite Forest Monitoring Map…(see Figure at right). I dunno, it still looks pretty intensive and not like any natural disturbances in N.S. that I know of, Mr. Barkhouse.

Except for reassurances from Minister Lloyd Hines that all harvesting is scientifically based and sustainable, we have heard nothing directly from the scientific staff at NSDNR in regard to these recent debates. Isn’t it time for NSDNR’s scientific staff to respond to specific critiques in public forums and/or for an independent review of the scientific basis of NSDNR forest management?

One item I missed in my efforts to record the back and forth on forests and forestry in Nova Scotia as recorded in public media was a piece by nature reporter Zak Metcalfe in the CH South Shore Breaker on Feb 28, 2017: A race against time. Concludes ZM: “It’s easy to look around you and be complacent with the number of trees our province harbours, but unless you have a keen eye for ecosystem health the true youth and weakness of these forests are difficult to appreciate. I bring the race against time to your attention because it’s happening across all of Nova Scotia, in your backyard, and when it’s over, the consequences will be felt for a very long time. We are host to ecosystems which have persevered for centuries or more, species which have evolved differently from their counterparts across all of Canada. If these things lose the race against time, they will not be coming back.”

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.

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