Two videos on Social Media say a lot about how people and wildlife feel about loss of natural habitat in Nova Scotia

& Can people be forgiven for confusing clearcutting and deforestation?

#1 About deforestation in progress in Halifax

The Halifax Urban Forest Master Plan (UFMP), a lot of it developed in collaboration with Prof Peter Duinker & Co. at Dalhousie University (Peter was also an Expert Advisor to the Independent Review), was released in 2013.

A recent video highlighting the plan, Tree of All Trades, released on Youtube on Nov 28, 2018, is a bit of hit, gathering 43K views by today (Jan 10, 2019).

While extolling the virtues of Urban trees, the video (and the UFMP, which I otherwise laud), it avoids touching on the impacts deforestation close to the urban core and further away by developers (blessed by Regional Council) and of clearcutting in rural Halifax., There are lots of comments on that score recorded as feedback in the UFMP.

Essentially clearcutting and deforestation get a pass.

Deforestation didn’t get a pass from Shelagh Duffet.

Says Sheilagh: “Devastated. Still more to be cut down…..
Mount Saint Vincent has been ravished 😞 Trees clearcut. Forest gone. Copper Beech trees and Red Maple trees over 100 years old chopped🍁 Hundreds of crows who have nested there for centuries have no nests. They are confused and mill about. This was an oasis of nature in the city. More condos and townhouses and apartment buildings will be built there. 7500 people expected. Do we really need this here??? What about green space? What about protecting what was a precious habitat? They could have kept that green belt where the birds nested. I feel sick. I’ve not even mentioned the deer… a small herd of about 20. Where will they go? No green space left. Developers should be required by Department of Lands and Forests to relocate them. For any who are interested… Southwest Properties is the developer. Here is the address of the local councillor Russell Walker If you write to it goes to all councillors and the mayor. 😪 #halifax #clearcut #habitatloss #crows #heavyhanded #developmentatanycost Halifax Noise Ecology Action Centre CBC Nova Scotia”

The displaced crows don’t sound too happy.
‘Hard to blame that on cats.

The video received 93K views within about 2 weeks.

Also view
Longtime crow roost threatened by development, residents say
Frances Willick · CBC News “Clear cutting has begun at the site of a large housing development near Mount Saint Vincent University” Also view Facebook Video

Help wanted: Why a rehab centre for wild animals is busier than ever
Emma Smith , CBC News Dec 31, 2019.

Nova Scotia’s Clearcut Refugees
Post on NSFN Mar 12, 2017

#2: About a clearcut in rural Nova Scotia

This video was posted by Shelly Hipson after a series of back and forth on the Healthy Forest Coalition public Facebook group with L&F Minister Iain Rankin (the initial post was by the same Shelly Hipson)

There is no voice in this video, only the silence of a clearcut.
‘Hard to blame that on cats.

Says Shelly Hipson about the video:
Shelly Hipson This is a clear-cut on Crown land that I visited near Liverpool Minister Iain Rankin. This is small compared to the ones approved in Allendale or Wagner Lake. This is my concern. This was done by WestFor Management Inc.and approved by the Department of Lands and Forestry at all levels. They are responsible. And government just gave them another year to manage our Crown land forest. Now – I hear you when you state that, “There will be an immediate reduction in clear-cutting as a prescription and when clear-cutting is chosen as the appropriate prescription there is at least a 10-30 percent more retention above and beyond what’s mandated in the regulations for wildlife clumps and for setbacks from water courses. So clear-cuts will look differently and here will be a reduction of clear-cutting,” – CBC Dec 5, 2018. AND —– if we are going to be looking a beautiful – 387 acre or 300 football size clear-cut…and it is not going to dry up the Ducks Unlimited wetland adjacent to it – and it is not going to affect this Bird Important Area (BIA) and it is not going to affect the rare lichens that are left in the small plots as the water table dries up — and is not going to displace wildlife and the endangered mainland moose that have been spotted here over the past two years —and I am missing something—–..please educate me and the rest of my community. I welcome it. Hundreds of us would welcome it. We would welcome the peace of mind knowing that I am wrong. —– That is what we have been asking for all along – a meeting to understand. —- PROPER consultation. To be a part of the process…but that has not happened – so we are left “interpreting.” Now we have an 81 year old grandmother of 10 children saying that she has had enough, wanting to chain herself to a tree. Hundreds of others are expressing their frustration. This is no laughing matter. So what I am saying is this – can’t we do something about these approved clear-cut harvests? And if they need to be stopped – I hear that you are the man for the job. Just maybe flushing this forest and others down toilets in China or burning them up as ‘green energy’ isn’t the best option…for any of us, nor the planet.


Its often said and it’s often true that people confuse deforestation and clearcutting, which is true.

Deforestation is removal of trees and creating conditions that do not allow them to grow back, e.g. a paved parking lot.

Clearcutting is the temporary removal of tree cover, but the trees eventually grow back, or do so most of the time.

A discussion along these lines came up on Social Media yesterday.

Some of the Comments:

DGP [nsforestnotes]: I suspect this is canopy loss associated with clearcutting which is not deforestation because the forest comes back (until you have done it too many times) However, there IS deforestation in the process, associated with road construction which can 10% and more of areas harvested with megamachinery etc which require wide roads. There is also conversion to blueberry fields, which I think of as the Terminal Stage in Forest Succession in Nova Scotia. Most don’t grow back to forest when abandoned. Would be nice to get some stats on it. I suspect deforestation via these routes is more than associated with urban development as NS has a very high density of such roads, and a relatively low population compared to other areas of Canada –for Canada as a whole, 8% of deforestation is due to forest roads, 17% to urban development (2010 figures in Deforestation in Canada-what are the Facts at

Art MacKay: Yes 50% canopy cover.

TG: I agree with you but your definition of deforestation depends on how you define a forest. Personally when they cut down a forest and plant a monoculture crop of trees I would no longer consider that a forest so it could be argued that deforestation is occurring heavily in Nova Scotia.

Food for thought as they say, like whether we should think of our forests as gardens, a thought expressed by NSDNR Minister Lloyd Hines in eraly March of 2017.

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