FYI: Nova Scotia L&F/WestFor Agreement FOIPOPed

Back on Oct 4, I asked While we wait for the government to respond to the Independent Review, what agreement is in place with WestFor?

I got the answer from a Nov 5 CBC interview: CBC interviews reveal WestFor got a one year renewal on its access to Nova Scotia’s Western Crown Lands on Oct 1, 2018 and asked “Can the public be informed about these agreements?”

Well, yes, if you do a FOIPOP (make a request for government documents under the NS Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act).

Shelly Hipson posted a section of the agreement on Social Media and later when I contacted her she sent me the FOIPOP document she had received. Evidently she wasn’t the first one to ask as they gave it to her right away. I checked out the website where some FOIPOP documents are posted but didn’t see it there, so I checked with IAP Services on whether it is posted somewhere publicly, and if not, could I post it on NSFN.

The answer, received from Anna Burgess (Program Coordinator, Information Access and Privacy (IAP) Services) within hours: “This FOIPOP package has not been posted to the Information Access website as of yet but probably will be in the near future. There is therefore not a link available yet. If you would like to post the document on your blog, you are welcome to do so as these documents are public records.”

So here it is with a few redactions so we don’t know what the stumpage fees are: 2018-07864-DLF_WestForOCR

I processed the document as received from Information Access Nova Scotia so it is text copyable and searchable.

Warning: Best not to be read it just before bedtime.

The document which begins at page 56: includes
– This TIMBER LICENSE made in duplicate this 11th day of October, 2017, page 56ff
– THIS AMENDING AGREEMENT made this 3rd day of April,2018, page 102ff
– THIS AMENDING AGREEMENT made this 26th day of June, 2018, page 106 ff
– THIS AMENDING AGREEMENT made this 9th day of October, 2018, page 109 ff

Shelly Hipson told me that “the FOI person e-mailed me a ‘condensed’ version of my request. Interesting that I asked for the science that supports clear-cutting that Minister Rankin refers to in this CBC interview (provided them the link) and that part of the request did not come back in the condensed version.”

Interesting indeed. Perhaps L&F considers that the “science that supports clearcutting” is given by the WestFor Agreement, the Lahey report be damned.

Thanks for digging and sharing, Shelly Hipson


There is lots of interest in the document but it will take a while to (in)digest.

One section I like:

12.1 This License may be terminated by DNR for any reason upon giving five (5) days written notice thereof to the Licensee.
12.2 The Licensee shall be liable for stumpage payments ofany Primary Forest Products cut and removed from Crown land up to the point of termination.
12.3 Work under this License may be suspended by the DNR, ifin the opinion of DNR, the Licensee, a Shareholder of the Licensee or any of its contractors has failed to comply with any requirement ofthe License. The suspension shall continue until the Licensee has demonstrated remediation to the satisfaction of DNR.
12.4 DNR shall not be liable to the Licensee or any of its Shareholders for any losses or costs incurred by the Licensee during any suspension. The Licensee shall be liable to DNR for any losses or costs to DNR where the Forest Activities are suspended or terminated as a result of a failure to comply with the requirements under this License.
12.5 This License may be immediately terminated by DNR without prior notice to the Licensee if, in the opinion of the DNR, there is sufficient cause for doing so.

Reasons for giving notice of termination (if not immediate termination):
– clients proceeding with harvests before they are approved, if confirmed?
– concerns about spreading hemlock wooly adelgid, now firmly established in SW Nova Scotia all over the province?
– concerns about surface water acidification and deteriorating forest health and biodiversity due to very low soil calcium in SW Nova Scotia, made worse by harvesting?
– concerns about global warming and the need to maintain and increase carbon storage in NS forests rather than reduce it?
– more…

Some of the discussion on WWNS

WWNS: “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)

SH: The Minister took the original Schedule A tonnage for each of the 13 companies listed and multiplied it by 4 – yes x4 to get the tonne amounts for this year ending September 30th, 2019. So for example, in the agreement commitment for Northern Pulp was 46,875 tonne and that has been increased to 187,500 tonne. How was that determined? That it is ok to multiply amounts by 4 and call it ecological forestry.

KB: It would be nice to know how these amounts now being cut, compare to the Western Crown plus former Bowater lands when Bowater was harvesting.

It appears that the Western land area is now supplying the whole province , where before it was just Bowater and who ever had a lease on the Western Crown before. 2015…
It is a very complex situation, the mills need fiber, are they taking too much, is the system as is ok?
Lahey doesnt think so..

Quite an interesting situation, a really tough one for the government..

DGP: Why should government be so involved in solving supply and demand issues for large private concerns at public expense (re $100 milliton to purchase Bowater lands etc.; and our collective loss of ecological values over large expanses of landscape).

SS: I can tell you this, being a next door neighbor to Bowater here in West Dalhousie, I had respect from the truckers, the workers etc. If they damaged the road here they fixed it, yes,,,, they fixed it. As I ran a rescue for abused, non communicative, aggressive huskies here, two of my dogs got out of the fence, they went into Bowater land. I traveled in Bowater lands with their permission and help from the truckers and workers to retrieve my dogs which took a while as they were timid at best. What I did see back here when Bowater owned it, was pristine property, cleaned up after, looked after. Yes they had their issues too along the way with spraying and such but at least they signed for spraying and they planted more than one species of trees. I CAN tell you now that Crown in four years has destroyed the area, with large patches of clear cut, garbage left when they leave, disrespectful truckers and workers for the most part. I do find that the independent truckers that manage to get hired due to the company not having enough of their own trucks and drivers are in a different league all together. Their trucks are kept up, they respect I am here. Certain crews are better than others, I have even been warned that the next crew coming in are very ignorant to people so beware.

KM to DGP: this is a question that no politicians can answer. Who can answer these questions, a constitutional lawyer perhaps. But this is a beautiful question. politicians are probably plotting how to destroy your credibility as we speak.

On liming:
DHW: It seems to me that when the wind is blowing one should try to make use of it; not insist that it stop. A clear cut or even small clearcuts provide the opportunity to add agricultural grade limestone at about 20 tons per acre. This would offset acid rain effects in the soil profile and in ground water entering lakes and streams. —– For effects in less than many decades it should be tilled in to 6′ if feasible or at least mixed in with a burnt land harrow.——— Drawing on memory, the solubility of limestone decreases 100 fold for every unit increase in pH of the liquid which is in contact with the limestone particle. In effect every limestone particle generates an environment near that particle in which limestone is insoluble. But if limestone is intimately mixed with soil this effect is muted because the pH of much larger volumes of soil has been increased before this effect kicks in.

DGP to DHW: When I viewed the post all it said was ” It seems to me that when the wind is blowing one should try to make use of it” Now I get it. Limestone can be spread on intact forest also, Keys has been doing some work on that.

DHW: No DGP you did not quite get it. Sure one can spread limestone on intact forests but the cost/benefit and response time will be much more favorable on a clear cut where there is opportunity to spread using land equipment as opposed to chopper and for incorporation into soil to some degree. This is a win win situation. The Forest industry would face less opposition to clear cuts and the environment would benefit if liming were routine.

DGP: For The clearcuts I have looked at/walked through with stumps, branches etc retained, incorporation of lime would be a very rough operation.

DHW: Yes DGP, I suspect I was thinking of cuts where everything was chipped, leaving little but stumps. Where tops, brush and trash wood is left perhaps lime could be spread in wheel/tread tracks of harvesting equipment during harvesting operations and thereby be mixed with soil to some degree…….. An approach which I think should be tried, except where slopes and bedrock are prohibitive, is whole tree harvesting. About half the carbon is below ground (not saw logs !! but potential biofuel) and extracting it where feasible might pay for the resultant mixing of the soil to or beyond rooting depth. Just ideas.

AF: in years past clear cuts were sit preped befor planting this can be done many ways and would be an ideal time to lime..i worked for a farmer on the valy side of the north mt the farm had been in the family a long time the land was worked with rotatanl patch cuts and produced nice big spruce a patch cut is just a small clear cut .

PM: There is a Forestry sustainability fund that is set up by the Government to fund silviculture spraying herbicides and tree planting which seems to me all softwood pulp supply management and has very little to do with a sustainable forest. It is funded by Registered Buyers of wood The amount is $3 per cu meter of softwood and .60. cu meter hardwood, The amount that should be in this fund is in the millions. This might be a source of funding for liming! It would also help our streams and lakes which suffer high acidity!

DHW: Good point Perry Munro. The primary benefit of applying lime to woodland would be gradual increase of lake and stream pH. This would assign much needed brownie points to forestry operations. I am not sure that tree growth would benefit.

AF: PM this funding is broken i asked the premiere to fix it he called the layhe review the reivew calls for a review of this funding..slow going layhe also added spraying to this fund it had been excluded funny how the mills all had there aplications to spray in befor the report was releised where they realy ready to pay for spray out of pocket rather than have it done with bushsaws and be credetet for silv fund? how can this be explained?.. mixed age manegment is also funded this way…sit prep was also payed for under this program it can be done in a few ways but can be done with a skider and some barles of concret a lime spreder would be easy. this sit prep used to put money back into my cumunity and provied work other than cutting to small contractors…westfor has a big hand on this funding

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