A scientist’s perspectives on NSDNR Science

Helga Guderley with anti-forest biomass petition at NS Legislature, Nov 1, 2016

UPDATE Feb 22, 2018: View also OPINION: Instant economic gratification killing the environment
by Soren Bondrup-Nielsen, Chronicle Herald Feb 20, 2018

Helga Guderley, a retired but still very active biologist, was one of the founding members of the Healthy Forest Coalition and was the instigator of a petition against clearcutting for biomass that quickly garnered over 20,000 sign-ons in early 2016. She expresses some views on DNR Science in a recent op-ed, and in more detail in a recent submission to the Independent Review.

OPINION: DNR’s ‘science-based’ forestry mantra is a smokescreen
Published February 13, 2018

In the following, I consider two important roles that forests play in areas outside of the review’s narrow terms of reference: mitigating climate change and favouring tourism. Furthermore, government claims that current forestry practices are science-based are missing a crucial point. Different assumptions and values underlie pure and applied science. Each can claim to be scientific, but their prescriptions are radically different. Rather than arguing whether one science is superior to another, our society needs to identify the core values that should guide our decisions as to how to manage our environment.

From Considerations submitted to the Independent Review of Forestry Practices:

Much good work is done at DNR but it is extremely difficult for the public to access the information obtained by researchers at DNR. Data concerning forest stand structure and abundance is difficult to obtain and researchers have needed to resort to freedom of information requests to obtain often partially redacted data. Basic survey data of resources on Crown land should be easily accessible. Publishing in peer-reviewed journals should be the norm for government scientists and use of open access journals would facilitate public access to DNR science. As a journal editor, I understand full well the difficulties of producing reports that are appropriate for scientific journals. However, peer review of important position papers such as the evaluation of natural disturbance regimes would markedly increase their credibility.

There’s lots more to munch on in both of these documents.

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