Four items in Tree Frog Forestry News today (Dec 11th, 2017) illustrate that concerns about over-harvesting of forests are hardly restricted to Nova Scotia.
LETTER: Timber companies have had their day in the sun
From reader Nick Chatten in BC Local News Dec 8, 2017:
Regarding the logging in watersheds, I advise everyone to have a look at the Google maps with the satellite view. Pan around the West Kootenays to areas like Nancy Greene park and you will see a lot of harvest. These guys have had their day in the sun and now they want to tip toe through people’s back yards. When I was in the Selkirk College Forestry program in 1986 we learned of the fall-down effect. Slocan Forest Products (remember them?) learned this effect and now they are a memory. Eventually, the mature timber that can be put through a sawmill diminishes because they are logging so hard.
I have to laugh that the government considers we are logging in a sustainable fashion: utter hogwash! We are harvesting fiber faster than it can grow back. Those trees WAY up the mountain on higher elevations will need 100 years or more to come back…These trees grew on shallow soils in a harsh environment. Sometimes they never come back, just a stunted, planted pine growing where it shouldn’t.
Comment: The mad rush to destroy forest ecosystems
Brian L Horejsi. Columnist in Times Colonist, Dec 9, 2016
Re: “Huge salvage job ahead in B.C. forests,” column, Nov. 16.
Outside of “public” servants and privileged corporations who have been so deeply embedded in the exploitation of B.C. forests for the past 50 years they can no longer think beyond “get as much as you can, as fast as you can,” I can’t imagine any rational or knowledgeable observer believing forest management has been “done right” in this province. But hold on.
Horejsi goes on to examine the economics of logging in B.C. concluding:
…Factor in the thousands of kilometres of road we subsidize companies to build — almost exclusively for their own benefit — and the extensive maintenance and erosion prevention that follows, and the balance sheet looks even more red for the poor taxpayers of B.C.
What would it look like if we added in environmental costs? We can’t expect the B.C. Forest Service to do any research on this, and obediently, they haven’t. Why expose your past ugly practices?…
One nasty theme has characterized these destructive changes: As public expectations for forests shifted toward ecosystem services (clean water, carbon storage, biological diversity, recreation, protected areas) government (mostly the public service) and the “timber” industry have moved aggressively and systematically to divorce citizens (the public) from participating in or having access to: 1. legal and administrative processes to determine forest conservation and management goals, and 2. setting scientific and economic performance standards.
It is time for honest, scientifically and ecologically sound forest landscape conservation and management in this province.
Sound familiar? Change a few words and his comments would apply to Nova Scotia.
An editorial in the New York Times comments on the fortunes of the mining and petroleum interests in the U.S. under Donald Trump.
The Looting of America’s Public Lands by Editorial Board, Dec 9, 2017:
On Monday, Mr. Trump withdrew some two million acres of spectacular landscape from two national monuments in Utah designated by his Democratic predecessors. This followed the Senate’s decision last weekend to authorize oil drilling in the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, an area full of wildlife, of talismanic significance to environmentalists and of great economic importance to Native Americans.
The arguments in both cases were the same: America needs the energy buried beneath these lands — oil in the case of the refuge, coal in Utah.
…But none of these annoying facts can erode Mr. Trump’s belief that, in the continuing tug-of-war between commercial development and environmental protection, the environment has too often gotten the best of it, and the time has come to rebalance the scales.
I guess the Mining Association of Nova Scotia thinks Trump is as popular here as he seems to be in the U.S.
And in the Seattle Times: Fight to save Alaska’s big-tree forests, an Opinion by Brendan Jones, Special to The Times:
Just before the holidays, the Senate will vote on whether or not to harvest old-growth stands… Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has attached what Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, has called a “poison-pill rider” that rescinds our timber-management plan here in Alaska — the result of years of roundtable work by local tribe members, conservationists and timber executives.
It comes as little surprise. Murkowski, who grew up in Ketchikan, has long been in the thrall of those black and white photos of loggers posing victorious over felled trees…Today, the region has moved on. Fishing and tourism make up the double-barrels of our economy…Then President Donald Trump came along.”
Fishing and Tourism supplanting forestry? Imagine. It’s not hard to find more examples that bear echoes of Nova Scotia; those are just four that happened to be listed on one day in Tree Frog Forestry News. So perhaps those of us in Nova Scotia who are concerned about over-harvesting of our forests might take heart: we are hardly alone.
But we could be Number One in over-harvesting of forests in Canada. Check out my post of Feb 11, 2017: Feds’ Satellite Forest Monitoring Map illustrates intensity of forest harvesting in Nova Scotia. The byline: Nova Scotian forests appear to be the most intensively harvested in Canada, recently and historically – on the poorest soils
Yet our Department of Natural Resources continues to reassure us that it’s all sustainable, a tune echoed by the big players in NS forestry.
So we wait for the Independent Review to sort it all out, hoping that the opinion that “the forests [of Nova Scotia] are not being pushed too hard, especially the regulated Crown forests” expressed by one of the expert advisors does not hold too much sway.
Speaking of which, I haven’t heard or seen any announcement or publicity about commencement of Phase 2 of the Independent Review, scheduled to begin this month:
The final report will be delivered no later than February 28, 2018 and the work will be conducted in the following phases:
1. Preparatory Phase (September-December)
• Assemble and review background material
• Retain independent experts, commission background paper(s)
2. Issue Identification and Review (December-January)
• Identify major issues
• Mi’kmaq engagement
• Stakeholder, and public Input
3. Analysis and Report Preparation (January-February)
– From Terms of Reference for the Independent Review
The window for Stakeholder, and public Input is closing quickly.
So is the window for Healthy Forests in Nova Scotia.
As was said about B.C., “It is time for honest, scientifically and ecologically sound forest landscape conservation and management in this province.”
This was a pretty dismal post. Must be the short days. Having just viewed Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Documentary didn’t help.
ADDENDUM (Dec 12, 2017): more on the same theme (we are not alone) as above:
Ontario regulations are jeopardizing species at risk, report says
Weak provincial laws are allowing industries including forestry & mining to carry out activities in areas home to species at risk.By Miriam Katawazi inThe Toronto Star, December 12, 2017