Lumber rep goes after Nova Scotia’s “misinformed local academics”; pilot offers another view
In Voice of the People (Chronicle Herald Oct 23, 2017), Cassie Turple of “Ledwidge Lumber, Enfield”, goes after Nova Scotia’s “misinformed local academics”:
I read the story about the “Forest Funeral” in downtown Halifax and was surprised and dismayed by the quotes from some local academics who are simply misinformed, and then that misinformation gets spread.
1. We only harvest 0.78 per cent of Nova Scotia’s forested land annually.
2. The forest industry accounts for 11,500 jobs in this province.
3. The industry contributes over $2.1 billion to our economy annually.
…I could go on, but I digress. Have you been around this province lately? What do you see? We have so many beautiful forests.
View the complete letter at Forestry sector maligned (Chronicle Herald Oct 23, 2017)
Academics were cited as follows in the Chronicle Herald article to which Ms. Turple referred:
Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, a retired Acadia University biology professor, told the crowd forests are not just a collection of trees.
“The inhumanity of clear cutting is that it creates wildlife refugees,” he said. “It also kills a lot of wildlife.
“We often think that when you clearcut a forest, animals that used to live there simply move aside and start living adjacent, but that is not the case. They have nowhere to go; they slowly die.”
There are thousands of species of animals and insects in the woods, and plenty of other species that haven’t been identified yet, said Bondrup-Nielsen.
“Clear cutting, to me, should be considered genocide, because it is the massive destruction of lots of organisms across the province.”
The policy is also uneconomic, he said.
“Clear cutting is also inhumane in the sense that it eliminates jobs. In Nova Scotia the number of jobs in the forestry sector — whether it’s cutting trees or actually doing something with the wood — has been going down, down, down over the last 20 years.
“There are fewer and fewer jobs. However, we keep cutting the same amount of land. Fewer people are making the money and most of the money leaves the province.”
Sherry Pictou, a professor of women and gender studies at Mount Saint Vincent University told the crowd losing forests means losing ancestral knowledge.
“For generations, the forest has served as our education system, our social system, our economic system and, yes, even our political system. But for Mi’kmaq people, traditionally when we say the law of the land, we mean the law of the land,” she said. “Land dictates the law to us, not the other way around.”
So I am not sure which of these statements contains the misinformation that is apparently corrected by the 3 facts or counterpoints cited by Ms Turple.
Ms Turple posted her letter on the Ledwidge-Lumber Facebook page on Oct 20, where it generated 55 comments as of Oct 26, a few of which are reproduced below.
MB: It’s unfortunate that once again “they” have “academics” speak to an issue they know little about. I believe that if you don’t live it and work it, you truly don’t have a clue! Good for you
TA: 100% right. The only time forest land is ever lost is when you change the land for a sub division,highway,city or farm land. Trees are like any other plant. When it’s mature you harvest and the young stuff comes back.
BA: I wonder about the area where the Ikea was constructed or the large piece behind the Kent store in Chain Lake area or the I filling of Halifax harbour. Permanent loss of habitat but not a mention. Meanwhile folks want their 2x4s,toilet paper, diapers, and paper towels at the lowest possible price. The forest industry in this province is a big welt producer, paying for hospitals, schools and highways.
BB: Many of these people are people who have not grown up in NS. they live in wooden houses, probably burn wood, or have non fires. Have garages and they had wood in the wooden casket.
Not so supportive
SL: I spend a lot of time around the province and I see a lot of clear cuts. It makes me sad and angry. I also see plenty of industry representation in the media so I think both sides are being given a voice. This is about more than trees. It is also about wildlife and water.
Ledwidge Lumber replies As less than 1% of forested land is harvested annually in this province I find it surprising that anyone can see a lot of clearcuts. My point is however that a clearcut doesn’t stay as a cut for long – it grows back into a forest again and any responsible landowner interested in forest management will help it along in various ways with silviculture. Forest management is always about forest ecology and always includes water and wildlife in the equation. I would love for you to stop by the office Sarah and speak to our forest technician about our harvest plans – I guarantee you would be pleasantly surprised at how much work goes into each one to get it right!
RM: Our Margaree river is seeing erosion, bank degradation, siltation, division of stream flows, widening, shallower pools, sand deposition, flooding with only moderate rainfall as never before… Most of us think it’s primarily due to clear cutting in the highlands of the Margaree watershed… I’m 100% for best practice forestry management and how it contributes to our economy but current management appears to be killing our river and its wildlife… We are at the stages of completing a comprehensive geo fluvial morphologic study that will shed light on the situation that should prove one of us wrong.
SC: Your contributions to the discussion are welcome. It is not the value of the Forestry Industry that is being questioned, but the methods. The type of clear cutting used in this province is damaging, and there is more then enough proof of that. The use of various sprays to limit the growth of preferred flora is indeed proven to be damaging to the environment as well as a suspect pollutant in the death of fish in rivers, along with making its way into the food chain of humans. The protestors were well meaning in trying to bring this to the forefront of discussion. Perhaps you need to read some studies like this before you denounce what they are trying to do. The goal is not to stop the Forestry industry, but make sure that the Industry players are putting the well being of Nova Scotians and the forest health first.
The writer cites a link to this article: Tree retention as a conservation measure in clear-cut forests of northern Europe: a review of ecological consequences by Lena Gustafsson et al. 2010 Journal Scandinavian Journal of Forest Research Volume 25, Pages 295-308
On July 11, this post was made on the Ledwidge Lumber website; it includes the three listed points in Ms Turple’s letter, and three more.
Have you heard chit chat about clear cutting recently & have questions?! Ask us! We’ll be glad to have a conversation with you about it. Here are some pretty cool facts about forestry in NS that you might find interesting:
1. Less than 1% of NS’s forests are harvested annually
2. 75% of NS is covered in forests
3. We have more forests now than 100 years ago
4. All forest operations are based on science & planned by forest technicians with many considerations taken into account
5. 85% of NS forests regrow naturally!
6. The NS forest industry accounts for close to 12,000 jobs in our province
&: The effects of clearcutting on wildlife & aesthetics can be minimized by following forestry/wildlife guidelines. Most clearcuts in Nova Scotia are small and result in a more diverse forest which benefits wildlife.
So goes the public discourse on forestry in Nova Scotia.
Another letter that has been making the rounds, this one to Premier McNeil and DNR Minister Miller, offers another, one might say higher, perspective of our forested lands:
Oct 19, 2017
Dear Premier and Minister,
Regarding the Forest Funeral march today, if I did not have an out of town engagement today I would be present at this protest.
I am completely in sympathy with this effort as well as the aims and goals of the organizers and supporters. I have also kept up with the considerable number of articles published in the Chronicle Herald over the past year which clearly describes what is happening to our clandscape, our flora and our fauna. I applaud the considerable efforts cof the writers and the groups to which they belong.
I am a private pilot. I have flown over many parts of our province over cthe past 30 or so years. I would say without hyperbole that the cdevastation I have seen, particularly south of the south mountain in the cAnnapolis Valley is not much worse than that of the front lines in World cWar 1.
Now this is happening in the Wentworth Valley.
I used to think that the forest buffers along the roads were a good thing but now I understand that this is to prevent the public from cseeing what is happening to their landscape.
I sincerely hope that you will take to heart the concerns described in cthe newspaper articles mentioned above and the points and pleas offered cto you at today’s Forest Funeral.
What will be left for our children and our children’s children.
I have attached a cartoon that clearly encapsulates the current situation.
G. A. B.