In today’s (Nov 25) Chronicle Herald, woodlot owner and operator Tom Miller responds to Stacie Carroll’s COMMENTARY: Education key in understanding lumber industry (Chronicle Herald Nov. 17, 2017). Says Tom:
Every forestry “crisis” that’s happened over my 43 years in this field has resulted in industry suggesting that what was needed is to educate the public in forestry. That this response is once again being put forward either shows how dense the public is or the poor job industry has done in “educating” us.
First, the forest doesn’t “need” our help in providing its “successional development towards healthy, carbon-sequestering, wealth-producing ecosystems.” It’s the other way around. Left alone, the forest would return to a self-supporting entity of immense wealth on many fronts.
It went on like that for millennia, only changing when the first Europeans arrived with their axes and saws, reducing this once magnificent being to clearcuts and “toothpicks” on the log trucks moving today. This is the result of our “management” not providing “habitat for wildlife, space for recreation” (in one of the too many clearcuts, really?) and culturally significant objectives (see Boat Harbour).
…We need a lot of things, but more education about forests from the consumptive industry is not one of them. Many biologists and scientists understand forests very well. The industry isn’t all that complex: just put wood roadside as cheaply as possible would about sum it up. And then hope the mills aren’t too full to accept it.
View COUNTERPOINT: Forestry industry barking up wrong tree by Tom Miller of Green Hill, NS in the Chronicle Herald, Nov 25, 2017.
Tom and and Lori Miller were the 2005 Provincial Woodlot Owners of the Year.
In Newfoundland, Nova Scotia forest management is cited as a poor model for the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland by a gentleman who “built a business and made a career in the forests for nearly 60 years”:
I write you today to express my urgent concerns about the forestry license for management districts 17 and 18 issued to Active Energy Group and/or its affiliated companies Timberlands International and Advanced Biomass Solutions (herein referred to as “the Company”). The forest is a vital resource for Newfoundlanders living on the Northern Peninsula in general and particularly in Main Brook, a town with a deep and rich history in the forestry industry. I was fortunate enough to have built a business and made a career in the forests for nearly 60 years, have seen it all, and have an everlasting connection to the forests in the area. I believe that the health and sustainability of our forests and the communities that depend on them are at a great risk and am compelled to speak up…
The negative economic and environmental consequences of clear-cutting would be disastrous. The evidence is abundant; just ask our neighbours in Nova Scotia. Animal habitats on land and water are degraded or destroyed, the soil loses moisture, fire risks go up, heavy metal (mercury) leachate more easily enters the water table, rivers and ponds, residents and outfitters lose access to generational hunting and firewood grounds, tourism suffers from a bleaker landscape, and we are left with a depleted forest in 20 years that takes 80 years to grow back. What benefits remain for our children and grand-children for the 60 years or more it will take to replenish the forest?
… I expect that of the majority of the residents on the Northern Peninsula, we are not willing to trade 20 years of 45 to 65 jobs and the depletion of our natural resources to the benefit of a private foreign corporation in exchange for all these negative outcomes. Trading 20 years of economic activity in forestry while risking the degradation and destruction of land and sea that supports ecotourism, wildlife and hunting, fishing and boating, firewood and regional identity and a 60-year recovery period would be a monumental injustice against the people of this region.
View ‘Health and sustainability of ours forests… at a great risk’
by Leander Pilgrim of Main Brook, Newfoundland, in The Northern Pen, Nov 22, 2017.
For a little more about him, view Seniors in Profile: Leander Pilgrim retires after 32 years as mayor in the Northern Pen, Oct. 11, 2017. It’s quite a story.
There’s more reason than than just their years of experience to heed these gentlemen.