If the Nova Scotia Government changes direction of its Crown land forestry management, how will it deal with cuts approved but not implemented in the meantime?

If the major recommendations of the Lahey Report are accepted, surely the government is obliged to reconsider all outstanding harvests on Crown lands, i.e. including all blocks approved but for which harvesting has not begun.

Wagner’s Lake & Environs on Harvest Plan Map Viewer (left) and Google Earth (right)
Click on image for a larger version

This question came to mind as I read a post by Shelly Hipson on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology (public Facebook Page), having just seen the announcement that the government will issue a response to the “Lahey Report” on Monday Dec 3, 2018.

From S.H.:

The Forest at Wagner Lake, Shelburne County approved to be clear-cut: It’s not like we didn’t try. We wrote Premier Stephen McNeil – we wrote ALL the MLAs – We wrote two different DNR ministers – Miller and Rankin – we asked for a meeting and no one responded – we had basically everyone in the community sign a petition in two days to meet the DNR Forestry Maps comment deadline – we had media coverage on radio and in papers – we talked about the endangered mainland moose and Canada Warbler – we talked about our way of life, that we enjoy hunting, fishing, camping and four-wheeling, and the damages that clear-cutting can do to the entire eco-system and the wildlife. We stated that the system for providing input and comment was flawed, difficult and did not inform the local people. We wrote our municipality and they wrote a letter on our behalf to ex- DNR Minister Miller saying the system to inform local residents was not sufficient nor effective.

And at the end of the day – our government approved this harvest.

What does that say about our current government and the voice of the people?…

Previous clearcut on Crown land west of Wagner’s Lake, from Google Earth Image. The whole area is Crown land and the road has been built (at public expense?) so they didn’t plan to stop there. Yet when they post harvest plans, they don’t describe future plans, nor do they show past cutting in an area.

…And our Liberal government – Iain Rankin – lets this all happen by supporting a flawed Department of Lands and Forestry Pre-treatment Assessement that big wigs in the forestry industry developed to justify the clear-cuts so that they can supply companies that are robbing us of our forests and the chance to do ecological forestry. William Lahey in the Forestry Report declared that changes had to be made to the PTA…to no avail.Iain Rankin – you follow this page. Please post the science. Please let us know how this is fair. Please tell us why government thinks it is ok to remove our forest in rural Nova Scotia when the people don’t want to see it go down the road on the back of trucks.

Also view:
A Nova Scotia woman is upset to learn that a clear cut she fought to stop has been given the green light (audio)
CBC Info AM, Nov 5, 2018 “Some people in Shelburne County are upset that the province has approved a clear cut on 260 hectares of forested crown land. The area is made up of eight parcels of land, near Wagner’s Lake in Middle Clyde, Shelburne County. Last week the province gave the Westfor consortium the go ahead to cut on that land. More than 300 people from the local area signed a petition earlier this year opposing the clear cut. Shelly Hipson wrote that petition.”


My thoughts: So much of our wildlife and wild lands has been destroyed on our planet; we in a relatively affluent society have a choice to sacrifice some of the last of it to short term profit for the big players with absolute minimum benefits for everyone else and a lot of cost to “the environment”, or to keep this treasure with many benefits for everyone and every species. Many others would be envious just of the potential to make such a choice and would not squander it. So what will we do this time around?

The “justification by science”  of the PTA process  is a now confirmed  farce. What will the government’s position be on Monday Dec 3 when they issue a response to the report, having conveniently continued business as usual in the meantime since Aug 21, 2018 (when the report was released) – and signed a one-year lease with WestFor on Oct 1, 2018?

If the major recommendations of the Lahey Report are accepted, surely the government is obliged to reconsider all outstanding harvests on Crown lands, i.e. including all blocks approved for harvest but for which harvesting has not begun.

Logically, at a minimum, the government should review approvals of all such blocks and apply  the steps almost taken (and then retracted) in September (view Post, Sep 19, 2018):

– For the time being, all forest management keys that direct you to non-clearcut treatments should be followed
– not allowing the clear cutting of trees that can grow and reproduce under a shaded canopy except in “exceptional circumstances,” including salvage
– Unacceptable growing stock is to no longer be a determining factor in prescribing a clearcut
– opportunities for a partial harvest should be considered where possible. When a clearcut is “the only reasonable” option, the department is to receive “a good description of the stand features for justification
– In an effort to increase biodiversity…patches of smaller, or immature wood within a stand should no longer be harvested simply for the sake of convenience and to clean up the site…”We should be looking for ways to increase the post-harvest heterogeneity of harvest areas,” he says.
– there shall be a 100-metre setback (buffer) between any clearcut treatment” and any of the province’s protected areas, candidates for protected designation, national parks and Nature Conservancy lands.

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