A brief history of recent times in Nova Scotia’s Acadian forest

Wentworth clearcut
Photo courtesy of Raymond Plourde

Writing in The Coast (Oct 5, 2017), author Joan Baxter outlines “The long history of Nova Scotia sacrificing its forests to big pulp, and why it has to end”

The coast obviously figures it is a topical issue: the print version (Oct 11, 2017) devotes the cover page and six pages to the article, with 3 colour photos, plus a colour photo on the cover page, and two more B&W photos.

Baxter begins with the highly visible clearcuts in the Wentworth area in June of this year, revealing that while Natural Resources minister Margaret Miller told CBC there was nothing the government could do because it was private land, it was land that “the people of Nova Scotia had helped foreign corporations purchase”. She goes on to provide the shameful details.

Then she goes back to the 1950s and the deals (giveaways) the Stanfield government made to lure pulp and paper to Nova Scotia and works forward, noting the deal Izaak W. Killam had obtained in the 1920s for the one paper mill (the Mersey Mill in Brooklyn) still in existence in the 1950s. (The giveaway mentality, however, goes back even further, to 1899 when Nova Scotia signed the Big Lease.)

Baxter concludes by referencing the Independent Review of forestry in Nova Scotia and comments by Dale Prest about effects of clearcutting on carbon storage and forest productivity.

There’s twice as much carbon stored in the first metre of soil under a forest as there is in all the vegetation above ground. Clearcutting speeds up the release of that soil carbon, contributing to climate change. Eventually, after enough clearcutting, the soil becomes so poor that trees will hardly be able to grow back. Prest says he’s already observing this worst-case scenario in the Maritimes.

There’s lots in-between. View Clearcutting our losses by Joan Baxter in The Coast, Oct 5, 2017.

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