Spicer Family Woodlot – if all harvested private and Crown woodland were like that, we wouldn’t be concerned about clearcutting in Nova Scotia

They could get a lot more $ if they clearcut – in the short term

Spicer family being honoured Sep 30, 2017. View Press Release about the award. The woodlot is in the community of Spencer’s Island, but it is not on an island, it’s on the mainland. By the way, Spencer’s Island is one of the hidden  gems in NS, ‘been going for there for years.

Peter Spicer, owner of Seven Gulches Forest Products in Spencer’s Island and winner of the Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year Award in 2017, has posted a lengthy defence of Northern Pulp (NSFN Post, Jan 8, 2019). Amongst his arguments:

Northern have also been very beneficial to small woodlot owners. When a person does intensive forest management, (commercial thinning, etc.) and removes low quality wood, Northern provides a market for that product so the landowner can afford to do that type of forest improvements. They provide us with a market for our low quality wood at a fair price. They also provide access to silviculture funding for land owners.

…Although this is a completely separate issue, the anti-mill people always show photos of clear cuts when they start railing against Northern. They fail to show photos of the thousands of acres of silviculture and replanting that the company does directly or through third party funding. Clear cutting is a low hanging fruit that the environmentalist can use to stir up people that are totally unaware of what actually is involved in intensive forest management. Using it in this debate is just a way to attract support to the anti forest, anti resource utilization side, much the way these groups have used celebrities, (possibly the largest polluters on the planet) and other primary industries to advance their agendas.

NP is as unpopular for its clearcutting on lands it harvests as it is for The Pipe. In a comment I made on Peter Spicer’s Facebook post (copied in full at the bottom of this page), I commented:

Another thought, Peter S,: if everyone managed their woodland like you, we would have no controversies about clearcutting because there wouldn’t be much. I attended the open house day Sep 30, 2017…and lauded your practices. The dilemma we are in is that good forestry depends on a lot of bad forestry/XSclearcutting so Industrial Forestry (NP) can pay you for the non-timberwood from thinnings etc…

Property Map for Spicer family woodlot given in THE EXPERIENCES OF WOODLOT OWNER/OPERATORS Peter & Pat Spicer on nswoods.ca

To illustrate what the Spicer family’s woodlot looks like, I have placed some photos from my visit there below, also a Google Map with an overlay of his property lines, and several maps from the PLV (Provincial Landscape Viewer), likewise with the property overlay.

There’s much more to be seen and learned in Peter’s own descriptions in THE EXPERIENCES OF WOODLOT OWNER/OPERATORS Peter & Pat Spicer on nswoods.ca which is also the source of the property lines.

I think the photos and maps explain pretty well my contention that ” if all harvested private and Crown woodland were like, that…we wouldn’t be concerned about clearcutting”.

Also that the Spicers could get a lot more bucks in the short term by clearcutting their large volumes – but they are in it for the long term and appreciate  the property as it is. The Spicers also facilitate visits by  walkers and nature lovers, so a lot of other people appreciate it too.

The property line overlay is approximate as I used layers in Photoshop to do it, matching roads etc and not GIS techniques (I do not have the pertinent skills, one reason I appreciate the NS Provincial Landscape Viewer so much), so it may not be 100% accurate, but it’s pretty close.

Click on images for larger versions

Spicer Woodlot Map pasted onto Google Maps photo. Clearcuts nearby!

Topography, from PLV

Forestry Development Class, from PLV

Land Cover, from PLV

Volumes, from PLV. WOW! You could sure get a lot more $ if you clearcut it.

Wildlife layer in PLV

Forestry Modelling Elements, from PLV


My comment added to the discussion at Peter Spicer(https://www.facebook.com/peter.spicer.12/posts/10161534970715314)

“None of the critics have actually presented any kind of solution, rather just criticized everything done by the industry.”. Well there is the Lahey Report, which you and others and lots more had input to and it makes specific recommendations. It doesn’t give the environmental folks everything they would like, and it prob. doesn’t give the Forest Industry folks everything they would like. It’s a compromise arrived at with professional foresters on the team. Another thought, Peter S,: if everyone managed their woodland like you, we would have no controversies about clearcutting because there wouldn’t be much. I attended the open house day Sep 30, 2017…and lauded your practices. The dilemma we are in is that good forestry depends on a lot of bad forestry/XSclearcutting so Industrial Forestry (NP) can pay you for the non-timberwood from thinnings etc. Did NP do the clearcuts adjacent to your land? That would make it cheaper for them, I would think, to move thinnings etc from your woodlot to NP, and distribute trees suitable for lumber to sawmills. These are challenging times. “We” are concerned about the planet, about things like loss of carbon storage, about loss of biodiversity, about loss of forests (such as yours) that provide a refuge from day to day stresses. (I appreciate such refuges on your woodland, that you open them up to the public – I don’t think most people would find pleasure in walking through recent clearcuts adjacent to your land.) Yes, we do have to work on this together and we need creative thoughts from people like you and e.g., ForestNS (but not their backroom dealings). NP’s days may be numbered.. so let’s all think about how we are going to adapt. Small scale biomass for heating could be one answer which would help woodlots like yours, but extensive clearcutting/large scale biomass/electricity etc would make matters worse for the province and the globe. So… I see possibilities for a sustainable future for sawmills, not for NP, PHP and like, at least not with their current practices. Thank you for your post. The more people talk and allow comments on their thoughts and participate with civility, the better, we can all learn and move forward that way. I hope you will take my comments that way. (I write nsforestnotes.ca which I describe as “A quest to understand forests and forestry in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada”. I still have a long way to go.)


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