Ongoing discussion on social media about forests and forestry in Nova Scotia # 1

On coming to terms with a finite land base

The social media – mostly on Facebook public group pages – is beginning to light up with some healthy discussion of forests and forestry in Nova Scotia.

One drawback to much of social media is that good content is often quickly buried and is hard to find again. So I like to keep some it “alive” and archived (at least for a while) in a more readily accessible form by posting it on Nova Scotia Forest Notes. I see that as part of my effort to compile “a record of events, news and opinions on the subject of forests and forestry in Nova Scotia as they unfold”.

So as well as posting some of the social media discussion related to my posts at the bottom of those posts, I am starting a new series of posts on “Ongoing discussion on social media about forests and forestry in Nova Scotia”. It will be compiled under the category Social Media. It will consist of snippets from the stream and is not an effort to catch it all or even the best of it, rather it will be a non-random and probably somewhat erratic sampling.


I viewed the following discussion on WWNS (Dec 20, 2018) where it is a “shared post”. Evidently it originated on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology but I couldn’t find it there and I am not sure if the discussion was also shared from the Annapolis group or whether it is only on WWNS – an example of how it’s all hard to keep track of! CORRECTION (a few hrs after posting), I was notified by WWNS admin M.P. that he was promoting the new FB page (Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology) and added the quote at top. So the initial quote is by WWNS, and the discussion that follows was on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology.

Original Post

Another voice added to the growing sustainable forestry choir for change.

Here’s a message for Government & Big Industry

Read & Heed –

“Once the citizens of a democracy realize that they – in the final analysis – are the owners of the public lands, they will seek an increasing role in the management of those lands. Further, if the concerns of these citizens are “blown off” by professional land managers and politicians, they will respond by organizing to magnify their political impact through educational efforts and direct political involvement.

“Foresters’ reputations have declined as result of hanging on too long to models of management predicated on the application of “industrial strength forestry” on both public and private lands.

“The myth of the omniscient forester as the complete natural resource manager is obsolete.

“Forcing the application of economics-based models to the exclusion of interests in biodiversity preservation, aesthetics, fish and wildlife, etc., will produce a backlash from the public.

“Concerned citizens, if ignored, will push cures to the perceived foibles of foresters in the form of laws and regulations.

“Close relationships, if perceived of as too close, between industry and government related to exploitation of public lands can engender resentment and backlash.

“Perceived subsidies of industry’s extraction of wood from public lands will be increasingly questioned by an increasingly sensitive public.

“There is a rising “green movement” in all western democracies that is likely to grow as we come more and more to face with a finite land base and a growing human population.

“One definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting to get a different result. Such is to be avoided…accidents lie ahead on the road called forest management unless you alter course. Heads up!”

Selected excerpts from “Are there lessons for Canadian foresters lurking south of the border?” by Jack Ward Thomas (1934-2016) Thirteenth chief of the U.S. Forest Service (1993-1996) Boone and Crockett Professor of Conservation, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana (MAI/JUIN 2002, VOL. 78, NO. 3, THE FORESTRY CHRONICLE)

Keep Standing Up, Speaking Up & Making Your Voices Heard Nova Scotia!!!

View related PDF


AF: Ontario has also been cut over far less and has good hardwood logs. in my 20 years of cutting in NS i have seen very few hardwood loggs

RL: I’m sure the volume is substantially higher however yes for the landbase that would be accurate. Ontario has a majority of black spruce from the boreal. What do you mean very few logs? Like ever? Or just small % of the area u cut ?

AF: veary few ever most off the hard wood is fire wood on the lots i have cut there are some nice ones out there but few and far betwean

PM: I managed one of my woodlots for hardwood. I sold veneer logs and sawed hardwood logs live edge and lumber. Tops were firewood. When I started I was told the money was in softwood pulp and lumber and that advice was wrong on a scale of operation but the price for product hardwood hands down. The price for softwood is depressed because of the demands of big companies and the clearcutting ‘

AF: the price for softwood is low becaouse of government interfiance and the flood of crown wood from NS and the rest of canada met a contrctor in bc who cuts bc crown lesses he told me he pays less than 10% stumpage low enough price and big enough trees to make ns forestry priced under

RL: I’ve also seen what Ontario forest management is like. It’s flat… flat, flat again. Because they have such a massive forested landbase that the majority of general public doesn’t see the industrial forestry side of Ontario. We have sugar Bush’s here, log cabin companies, mushroom foragers, value added products like siding made from low grade wood, eco tourism and the like.

AF: i dont realy hear a choir for change. i hear people calling for a stop. we cant stop we need wood and we need jobs! it can be done better buy sustainable cut fire wood and lumber if you cant find any find out why

BW: (Page Admin): AF – I’m not asking for a stop to all forestry. What I would like to see stop is what seems to be pretty careless allocation of forests for clearcutting on Crown lands. When I receive the HPMV list every 10 days and well over 80 percent of the proposed harvests are for clearcutting of one form or another — and then I find out what kind of forest they intend to remove, I don’t find that sustainable. I’ve seen sustainable forestry back in eastern Ontario and it looks nothing like the clearcutting that I see going on around much of Nova Scotia these days. Sure, there are forests here that can probably be clearcut — managed as a forest crop to provide for pulp mills, etc.., but indiscriminately treating all forest as nothing more than a bunch of wood mass waiting to be turned into dollars just rubs me the wrong way. Forests don’t exist solely for someone to line their pockets. There are lots of other functions for forests — and yes, firewood, good logs for lumber are a couple of those things and should be happening in the forests.

I’ve said this before elsewhere, that my father-in-law, like many of the farmers in eastern Ontario, had a good-sized woodlot on his land. A lot of the farmers back where I come from, had sugar bushes and sugar shacks in their forests — a lot more than what I see here in Nova Scotia. Most of them logged out good wood for lumber — a couple of my friends had mills there and were kept busy with just such logs. My father-in-law built a very large machinery shed from logs he’d hauled out of his own bush and had milled by a local with a mobile sawmill. There were a couple of companies in my area (Perth, Ontario) that were kept busy making custom log houses with huge Eastern White Pine logs from local forests. There were companies making millwork — there’s a lot of house restoration in the Perth area — so plenty of market for good wood. That could be the same here. However, I have heard that someone I know with a mill here in NS seems to have trouble getting good saw logs. Well, it’s sort of no wonder with the kind of forestry that seems to be going on here. I think we could have a better local economy if the forests were managed differently, but it seems like there’s just a big rush to clearcut too much of the land — and I say what’s the rush? Slow down. Be more strategic. Do it better. Get more value out of the forests.

…Another thing we had in our area was a plant that made cedar oil — not that we have the right cedar for that here in NS, but that just shows how a value-added product can be made right within an area without having to cut down everything and haul it away. That is a very sustainable product — and worked well with those who cut cedar for fence posts and other products in our area. I had friends with a terrific White Cedar bush that sold post, poles, pickets etc.. and yet when you went into their forest, it was just beautiful — many huge cedar like you’d never see anywhere else. It was a 3rd or 4th generation farm where the cedar forest gave them good winter income and something to do when the crops were finished for the year. Maybe people should be looking at local industries that add more value to the forests here. Things like growing shitake on logs as I’ve seen done in other places. There are probably lots of other products that could be made without indiscriminate harvest methods.

AF: my point exactly BW why arnt these value added and sustainable things being promoted ?

BW: I don’t know. I was just musing over this while gathering a couple of buckets of kindling in my woods. What is the answer? Is it that people can’t think of what to do with their forests? Do we need to start looking around for ideas in other places? What kind of forest-based industries are happening in Quebec, Ontario, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine? Maybe we need to start thinking in a different way and not just letting multi-national companies swoop in to grab everything. We probably need to find a way to encourage more local entrepreneurship. These are things we could be researching. I think the same goes for tourism. We hear now about how people in Japan pay to go and sit in a forest just to breath the air and have peace (forest bathing, as they call it). We aren’t valuing what we have here. I’m just looking at this proposed harvest at Corbett and Dalhousie Lake and thinking what a stupid thing that probably is. One of the parcels is coded as Sugar Maple as dominant species. If there are large Sugar Maple there, then why the hell couldn’t those be tapped. When I lived in eastern Ontario, lots of people pay to go out and visit Sugar bushes, have pancakes with syrup, eat snow with syrup, BUY the syrup. It’s a big thing there. And why aren’t we doing more forest tourism like they do out west. I once stayed a night at a place that had tree houses in the trees and charged 125 US a night for a little cabin attached to a few trees. Then there is this whole “glamping” thing with nice tents set up in forests to have quiet. It’s big out west – I have friends who like staying at those kinds of places. These are all new ways of thinking. Why aren’t we doing more of those things here? Is it because we don’t know of other ways to earn income? Maybe we need more research into how things are being done elsewhere.

AF: yes part of it is that people dont know what to do many want small selct cut or hicking pathes and trails but small contractors are veary few and far betwen. no we dont need to look to other places the skills and ansers are hear but NS is a hard place to do bisness high tax and constant goverment interfearance . yes we need to get rid of multinatinal companies . buy local fire wood and lumber and see forests grow its the same princapale as buying local food .

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