Nova Scotia Crown land Harvest Plan Map Viewer folks made a mistake; no apology

UPDATE Jan 3, 2019: “Corbett/Dalhousie have been totally removed from the map, not even a shadow left to show that they had it listed or worked it. Not even a shadow left as in around Walker Lake, just poof gone” -from the Annapolis folks.
UPDATE Jan 1, 2019: Comments on Social media added – Scroll down.


Annapolis Co. Nova Scotia folks investigating more Crown land cuts
Post Dec 23, 2018

WestFor/Nova Scotia L&F’s 19 meter “Road to Nowhere”
Post Dec 29, 2018

Jan 1, 2018: Some comments on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology

First Post by KB (Dec 31, 2018): “AP068637B and AP068637D were originally posted as proposed clear cuts for public comment in 2015. They were approved as partial harvests in 2018 and harvested in the same year. They were reposted in error this month and will be removed from the Harvest Plan Map Viewer this week.” Looks like this is why they chopped those two pieces off ??

BW: Yes, I just received that too and have requested they send copies of the revised notification from whenever that was sent to everyone for comment… we’ll see what transpires. I doubt anyone there will be digging up the info I asked for on New Year’s eve…and I’d like to see all the notifications and paperwork that led us to this point.

KB: They have been pretty well out of boots on the ground Forestry for 3 years.

SS to KB: if this is the case , the clearcut cancelled to be changed to partial cut, then shouldn’t it be posted as partial cut for comments,,,,, as it was on Dec 10th ?

DGP: Note the lack of any apology. HNY from those who serve.

DC: Indeed, the partial cut proposal needed a comment period and I am not convinced there was one. There various types of partial harvests, though sadly most by the Dept of LAF are even-aged harvests, but nonetheless, we would have been granted opportunity to speak to this, no? There was valuable timber on those two blocks. Some of it had potential to be grown into quality sawlogs. Some of the residual stand still has this potential. A uniform shelterwood by LAF;s standards does not allow maximum potential for quality saw log growth to occur. I think there may be rats in the woodpile.

BW: I’ve responded to the “correction” by asking for records of notifications and other documents pertaining to the process of how this came about. I don’t expect a reply for a couple of days. Others tried to get answers to what was going on and they were not forthcoming until this “correction” sent out in the late afternoon. Pretty weird. I suppose we’re all supposed to shrug and forget about it over the New Year’s day holiday. Nope.

MH: did they not advertise the ‘clearcut’ back in 2015… I find it hard to believe that residents of this county would miss that…

BW to MH: I think few people knew about the HPMV in 2015 — actually, I find that not all that many know about it even now. The only time I’ve seen a cut get a lot of attention was when people found out about a planned cut of land located in the general area south of the Round Hill community hall. You may know of that already. There was a successful attempt to have it stopped, but most of those who found out about it did so through people in the community who spread the world. Unfortunately, there’s been some recent activity around that forest that leads some to suspect that something is going on with it again. Everyone is watching it now. As for the Corbett Lakes forest, I probably signed up on HPMV too late to see anything listed about that one — if it was listed in the way they are now. I also did not see anything about a change to a partial cut in 2018. However, I had some personal events happen in my life (caring for my mother through a terminal illness for over a year), so I know I wasn’t watching things like a hawk the way I generally would have, so something may have slipped past my notice. That’s why I think we should see some kind of accounting for all of this so that we know just how these changes occurred. As for the future of the forest, I’m glad that work seems to be halted at the moment because, having visited the forest on Boxing Day, I think its management should be very low impact. That’s a very good example of a mixed age forest with many legacy trees of several species and even at this time of the year, I am 100% certain that the biodiversity of such a forest would be terrific — and definitely a world above what we find in typical forest groves with less “old growth” trees of such mixed species

DGP: The 2015 “announcements” were those clunky large maps before they went to the Map Viewer, they were very cumbersome. Some but not all it seems, for 2015 are still available. Here is one: . One of my criticisms of the Map Viewer system is that they remove old postings after a period . see Another: . There were 9 more for 2015 but I think they have been removed; at least old links I had to them do not work now.

BW: Those take forever to download on my terrible net connection, but I’m dowloading one Just out of curiosity, DGP – have you checked to see if the parcels shown on these maps – I still can’t see the first one — show up on later maps under the new system.

DGP: No they don’t.. as I noted in the post above, they started removing old proposals “to reduce clutter”.

BW to DGP: If so, that’s just nuts!! Then that explains why there are so many more clearcuts showing up on the satellite maps compared to what we see on the HPMVs. We saw the ones that were closed for comment and thought that was “it” — then we see all these clearcut patches on Crown lands via the satellite maps and they don’t match up with the HPMVs. That’s really crappy. How can we have any handle on the magnitude of the harvesting on Crown lands…Well, having learned this, I think MLF should generate a whole new set of maps for each county, with all of the Crown land forests parcels coded by those that are awaiting approval,; closed for comment and awaiting harvesting; and ones that have been completed — with the year that they were completed. I’ll bet that would be a pretty damned scary map…And, yes, I suppose it would look “cluttered”, eh?

DGP: Yup, and they wouldn’t do the same screw-up again.

On Healthy Forest Coalition

DC: New Year’s Eve update on the Corbett Lake harvest:

After scratching our heads for the past six days over why the forest was harvested at Corbett Lake prior to public input/comment, this action appearing to be a clear breach of government process, we received a curious update from Lynne Stewart on New Year’s Eve at 4:25 PM. She notified us that the proposed harvests “were originally posted in 2015 as proposed clear cuts” (wow, clear cuts, really-even though they contained healthy, tall red spruce, with yellow birch, and sugar maple?). Then Ms Stewart went on to state that “They were approved as partial harvests in 2018 and harvested in the same year. They were reposted in error this month and will be removed from the Harvest Plan Map Viewer this week.”

Of note is that Ms Stewart did not say whether the partial harvests were re-posted for public comment once they were decided upon. The IRM Review summary was signed on June 20th. Were the harvests posted on Harvest Plans Map Viewer sometime after June 20th? Stay tuned for the answer.

Also, we still know nothing of the species composition that was identified in the original field assessment (PTA). While Marcus Zwicker sent a spreadsheet of details, the species composition that usually accompanies such material was missing. How can the public make an informed comment on a proposed harvest when they can’t tell what kind of forest it is? From my experience, tree species information was included in the past.

Despite the possibility that Dept of LAF may/may not have followed the government process in question, there are important reasons for why a uniform shelterwood approach is not much better than their original proposal to clearcut the land. Read below for how LAF continues to get its own way under the guise of the “partial cut”-how they still mine our forests for fibre, taking it ALL for chips and the mills with little or no benefits for the local people and little regard for wildlife.

Future sawlogs-not factored in the Corbett Lake harvest plan.
I re-visited the Corbet Lake cut two days ago with Daniel George, a well-known hardwood logger and expert on hardwood management. It is worth directing some focus to the good and bad points of the harvest itself. We appreciate the expertise of Daniel, who knows how to obtain maximum economic value from each tree while respecting the ecology and maintaining a long-term vision of what is best for the land. A reminder to folks that the HFC is not an ‘anti-forestry’ group, just ‘anti- poor forestry practices’ and is against the continued pillaging and over-harvesting of natural resources.

Good points on the Corbett Lake cut:
1. The uniform shelterwood has maintained a canopy of forest in most places that will (or at least ‘could’) continue to grow and shade the forest floor, a required feature for protecting soil carbon stores and nutrients, as well as providing some shade required to shelter regenerating trees.
2. The machine operator(s) did a good job harvesting the trees, incurring minimal damage to residual trees, though some gashes and cuts into standing timber were noted. Given the size of the machines used today, it was a good job.
3. There is good stocking of young red spruce and a variety of other shade tolerant tree species, indicating that the site will not be left dominated by early successional, low quality trees (in other words, will not start over at ‘ground zero’ on the successional chain).

Bad points on the Corbett Lake cut:
1. All remaining trees in the uniform shelterwood will be cut in as little as THREE years, or just as soon as the regeneration requirements are met, according to guideline requirements for uniform shelterwood cuts. That makes this cut nearly as bad as a standard clearcut. In fact, it may be worse in some regards because it will not have a retention of 10-30 percent of long-lived species as the interim retention guidelines prescribe for clearcuts, thereby retaining less structural diversity (large diameter trees and vertical structure) than the clearcut. We used to think that ‘partial cuts’ were a good thing (they should be), but we’ve been sadly misled by LAF’s meddling with the treatments, terms, and conditions to sidestep better forestry.
2. The ‘future saw log’ will be destroyed rather than allowed to attain maximum economic potential. This destruction will occur just as soon as the second and FINAL entry is made in the stand to clearcut the rest of the trees. This is what is terribly wrong with a ‘uniform shelterwood’ as per Dept of LAF’s definition. (Had this department used Ontario’s approach for uniform shelterwood, more entries would be required over a longer period, thereby achieving more growth/value and a more uneven-aged structure.) Why does LAF stubbornly cling to uniform shelterwood treatments like this? Ans: They are not focused on growing saw logs for future generations, but rather fibre production to feed greedy mills on a tight deadline before they fold. Since former pulp mill workers are now in high-level, decision-making roles at LAF, what can we expect?
3. A large portion of the remaining young yellow birch are healthy, with straight boles, and could produce high value saw logs (according to Daniel’s keenly trained eye) but they will be ‘cut before their time’ because of the short harvest interval intended under LAF’s uniform shelterwood approach.
4. Sugar maple trees, our long-lived and more valuable maple tree, were harvested indiscriminately with red maple, both species treated the same. The harvest operator may not be expected to discern the two species from a cab window, but it is reasonable for the department to stipulate that sugar maple be flagged/marked. Some of the traditional foresters will groan, but tree marking in Ontario is being carried out successfully and they are obtaining more revenues from their logs. If they can do it, we can do it. The public might appreciate more opportunities to tap syrup on our public forests.
5. Some healthy American beech were present in the stand (not infected by beech back disease). It is not unreasonable to flag them, or at least instruct the operator to leave all healthy beech observed on the landscape to produce food for wildlife and to encourage crossing with other genetically healthy beech stock. Seriously, the department must think about more than just fibre production.
6. Legacy trees (older-aged ‘survivor’ trees) that were thinly dispersed throughout the stand should have been left on the landscape. At this point it feels wholly unnecessary to explain the basics as to why this should be, with so very little old growth remaining anywhere in Nova Scotia.

During the many years I worked as a Park Warden in New Brunswick, my wise Chief Park Warden consistently encouraged deriving potential solutions to problems prior to bringing them forward. It’s an excellent approach, as the folks closest to the problem often have the best solutions. Plus, many of the ‘solutions’ that the Dept of LAF have concocted are wholly inadequate, and some border on stupidity.

How do we address the Corbett Lake mistake?

1. Hold genuine public consultations on the future use and management of this forested peninsula. Even if the forest was posted on HPMV website, the process is proving inadequate and many are calling it a ‘fake consultation’. Annapolis County Council will want to weigh in on the question of land use in this area.
2. Change the uniform shelterwood prescription to a thinning prescription and put into practice ecological, uneven-aged forestry. Given the growing lack of public trust in the Dept. of LAF, invite a silviculturalist such as Dr R. Seymour or Dr P. Raymond to develop a proper ecological harvest plan of this site, one that retains continual mature, late successional-dominated forest on the landscape. Multiple entry forestry over a long period is required. This is what ‘uneven-aged’ management and ecological forestry are about, rather than continued use of even-aged forestry (i.e., clearcuts and uniform shelterwoods).
3. Allow examination of alternative uses of this forest. At this point, it would be reasonable for the public to request the remainder of the stand for recreational and ecological values for Nova Scotians. Restoration of the road might also be considered to address the resulting forest fragmentation of the stand. There is potential for some economic generation through recreation.
4. Accountability and appropriate prosecution. It may be reasonable to cancel future harvests in this area, as a repercussion of harvesting the public’s resources outside proper process (if this is found to be the case). There appear to be few consequences in general for ‘nonconformances’ committed through forestry activities. Unbelievably, licencees police themselves. Our civil servants do not carry out surveillance or conduct post-harvest checks, I am told. Nonetheless, the government is ultimately responsible for any misuse.

Let’s ask our government to get real with implementing ecological forestry practices NOW, over the next month or so, drawing upon experts who have already put this into practice in Quebec, Ontario, Maine, etc. Training can start THIS MONTH on irregular shelterwood harvests. Why delay? Practitioners are available. The department’s interim proposal to postpone implementation of ecological forestry and to maintain the presently proposed clearcuts and two-stage clearcuts for another 12 months is a thin disguise for flattening our last Crown forests, located mainly in the southwest and inside a biosphere reserve. The Dept of LAF’s interim approach is unacceptable.

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