Cat and Mouse game continues: more Old Growth on Nova Scotia Crown land found to be on the block

Following the highlighting of a proposed cut on Hardwood Hill (Annapolis Co) by local residents and an eloquent appeal by Randy Fredericks (Post Oct 1, 2018) and activities of the newly formed Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology group (Facebook public group) the proposed cut (in the Premier’s riding) was eventually retracted , only to be followed by the discovery by a newly activated nature/L&F watch group of another proposed cut in a sensitive area (Post, Dec 17, 2018).

On the south shore, a similar sequence followed. M.L. and Co. who are leading the campaign to Protect the Ingram River Wilderness Area first highlighted clearcuts announced within the proposed Wilderness Area for the second time in three years (Post Dec 3, 2018), followed on Dec 17, 2018 by their realization that the latest proposed cuts included a highly significant Old Growth stand that had been documented by the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute. Remarkably, that was retracted by L&F within one day (Post, Dec 18, 2018) and Bruce Nunn stated in an interview: “I can guarantee you that the Department is going to be working very hard over the next day or two to ensure this (proposing Old Growth forests get harvested) doesn’t happen again.”

However, within a day of that news and Bruce Nunn’s statement, M.L. and Co. are expressing concerns about more Old Growth slated for the chopping block:

ML on Healthy Forest Coalition (Facebook group page) yesterday

Back to reality….

I was informed today, by a very reputable source, that there are additional forest stands of Old Growth that are up for harvest:

Parcel HX068405A, B, and C – south-east of Big St. Margaret’s Lake.

This 3-part parcel is also in the batch that are proposed to occur within the boundaries of the proposed Ingram River Wilderness Area.

Although this parcel is proposed as being a mixture of systemic patch cut and individual tree selection, the type of forestry that I’d like to see more of, the trouble is that if it is also Old Growth it should not be harvested at all – via the Old Forest Policy.

The burden of finding, assessing, and protecting these rare, precious, ecosystems on public land should be not shouldered by individuals and non-governmental organizations.

I’ll provide more details when I have them.

A “Cat and Mouse” is an apt way to describe it all, with some modification of the original idiom

Cat and mouse, often expressed as cat-and-mouse game, is an English-language idiom dating to 1675 that means “a contrived action involving constant pursuit, near captures, and repeated escapes.”[REVISED: a contrived action involving constant pursuit, many captures, but a few escapes with the escapees triggering more escape actions ] The “cat” is unable to secure a definitive victory over the “mouse”, who despite not being able to defeat the cat, is able to avoid capture. In extreme cases, the idiom may imply that the contest is never-ending. The term is derived from the hunting behavior of domestic cats, which often appear to “play” with prey by releasing it after capture. This behavior may arise from an instinctive imperative to ensure that the prey is weak enough to be killed without endangering the cat. – Wikipedia

In Nova Scotia, most of the mice do not get away, despite valiant efforts by local groups, e.g., as described in Post Dec 1, 2018:

“The Forest at Wagner Lake, Shelburne County approved to be clear-cut: It’s not like we didn’t try…”

The Biggest Cats remain firmly entrenched at NSDNR/L&F and continue to maintain that their relatives, the House Cats and not clearcutting, are responsible for major losses of wildlife in Nova Scotia (Post, June 8, 2018). Mice also work at NSDNR/L&F but to survive must stay quiet and out of sight as much as possible. There are other species there too, with tenuous relationships with both the Cats and the Mice.

Thanks to NH for Cat & Mouse description


Some of the comments on HFC Facebook Page in relation to the most recently highlighted proposed cuts:

WWNS (on WWNS): How can this be? I don’t blame the Premier and Minister Rankin because they can’t and shouldn’t have to spend their time tracking this stuff down. So it falls to Lands & Forestry. Have these guys gone rogue or what? Seems some in the dept. are saying F… you all – we’ll do as we please. Or are they just incompetent? Either way, it’s time for a major house cleaning! Come on Nova Scotia! Let your MLA, Minister Rankin, Premier McNeil, know in no uncertain terms this has to stop!! Stand Up! Speak Up! Make Your Voices Heard!!

N.H. There is little room for error as so little old growth. I think a definitive policy of No Clearcut on Crown would do a lot to bring various people back to the government side. This cat and mouse game with the onus on the public to vet each advertised cut is not working to foster the new relationship of government as ecological managers put forward by Lahey. This can be a time of trust and setting a new way forward that works for small enterprises, local mills for boards, and Vermont style tourism with hiking our northern Appalachian woodlands. We got a super province and people. How can we get there? By starting to advertise Nova Green ..the healthy holiday

D.B.:The system for old growth determination is poor, how are we going to increase the area of old growth in the province if stands that are near OG stage are not left to achieve OG status as per the sheet. If a stand needs 30 more years growth, is this going to be left to grow into another area of OG or cut for the sake of cutting. We are working on a situation like this now, it will be interesting to see the outcome.

D.G.P.: There is also an issues in the way they ID Old growt hstands.. they have to cover a whole polygon or a good part of it, otherwise the sampling will not classify them as OG. But alot of the stands are patches that were never cut within a much larger polygon. If they adopted the changes in the FMG Porf Seymour recommended, that would allow such stands to be retained. I agree totally with Mike “The burden of finding, assessing, and protecting these rare, precious, ecosystems on public land should be not shouldered by individuals and non-governmental organizations.”

S.H.: The lease with WestFor needs to be terminated now. Those reviewing this within the department are not competent. We the people – are doing their job. We want ecological forestry – we want species at risk protected. No more letters that say nothing and insult us. We know what is going on. It’s time for a moratorium.

B.W.: Agree with what Dory Banker wrote above. How will any forest achieve Old Growth status if anything under a certain age is up for grabs? And yes, as David Graham Patriquin wrote, the polygon system makes it difficult for a stand to be classified as Old Growth. In many forests, the Old Growth trees are there because they were difficult to log out in the old days — trees that grew in ravines, etc… They are often spread out over an irregular area. Those trees and the very earth around them, and the understory, fungi, etc… constitute an ecologically valuable matrix within and upon which certain flora and fauna can exist — often of the type that cannot exist without it. Today, I was just rereading the NS Nature Trust article about La Grande Île island and forest that is now a protected area — and think about how many other forests that might currently host endangered species, but we’ll never know as they’ll be destroyed over this coming year while Westfor can continue on with its greedy rampage. It’s just sickening to contemplate.

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