UPDATE (June 3, 2017) I missed this just pre-election Letters and Editorials item in the CH May 30, 2017: an Op-ed by Dale Smith (“The environment shell game“) in which he expresses skepticism about the environmental commitments made by the three major parties during the election campaign.
About the commitment in the Liberal platform “to appoint an independent expert to review our forestry practices to ensure we strike the right balance” he says:
Is the expectation that the proposed independent expert will rule upon and perhaps set aside the opinion and will of Nova Scotians as conveyed through the most extensive resources consultation and review process ever undertaken in Nova Scotia?
And who might be selected as an independent expert? Should he or she be a highly-credentialled forester? If so, and based on past experience, the effective outcome most likely would be carefully crafted recommendations advanced by a wily fox determined to ensure continued access to the henhouse, all in the name of balance.
Or would a noted ecologist be contracted to conduct the review? After all, the Liberal platform commits to protecting biodiversity.
A glaring omission in the Liberal platform is the absence of a reference to the commitment to protect a minimum of 13 per cent of the province’s land mass, as set out in the mandate letters for the ministers of Environment and of Natural Resources. Since December, 2015, progress has been stalled at just over 12 per cent.
——————————Bob Bancroft is giving a presentation on Forestry in Nova Scotia to the Halifax Naturalists on Thursday June 1 at the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, 7:30 p.m. All welcome. View HFN Walks and Talks for details.
Bob is known to many as a regularly featured guest on CBC Maritime Noon where he comments on various wildlife topics and responds to questions about wildlife in the Maritimes. He co-authored with Donna Crossland Restoring the Health of Nova Scotia’s Forests, a panel of expertise report on forests for the Nova Scotia Natural Resources Strategy 2010 process. Subsequently the NDP and then the Liberal governments backed off on the commitments coming out of that process, including a 50% reduction in clearcutting.
Clearcutting has become an issue in the current election. Bob’s talk, which will be two days post-election, will include “ample time for discussion”.
The Conservation Committee of the Halifax Field Naturalists recently prepared a document commenting on the impacts of forestry in Nova Scotia on conservation of biodiversity and asking questions about the underlying science. (View HFN post, Apr 25, 2017).
From the HFN website:
Thursday June 1, 2017: Forestry in Nova Scotia
“What’s Happening to Nova Scotia Forests?”, asks wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft. Many natural Acadian forest trees can live for centuries, but in the twenty-five years leading up to 2014, 42% of the operable forests in Nova Scotia had been clearcut. Clearcuts are the quickest way for companies to make short-term profits. Clearcutting results in long-term degradation of forest soils, waterways, and diminishing prospects for regenerating forests. For decades the forest industry, with government assistance and the public purse, has been converting complex Acadian forests to boreal-style, simplified forests for fibre production. No valid scientific rationale for doing this exists. Corporate greed is involved. Successive provincial governments of all political stripes have failed to manage public lands in the public interest. Harvests are now re-occurring in anywhere from 20- to 55-year cycles. Wildlife populations and nature have deteriorated along with these degraded NS forests. Bob Bancroft’s talk will be illustrated with satellite images, and there will be ample discussion time.
7:30pm at the NSMNH