Nova Scotia L&F Minister Rankin: “clearcut is just a layman term” 14Mar2019

And Mr. Rankin, what exactly is wrong with language for the laypeople?

Any answer will do

From Lands And Forestry Reverses Some Changes To Harvest Plan Map Viewer
Brittany Wentzell for, Mar 12, 2019:

…Some also criticized the removal of the term clearcut from the map, saying the move shows a lack of transparency by the department.

However, Rankin says the terms used on the map legend are more accurate and better align with the Forest Management Guide.”Rather than the debate and the consternation around clearcutting and partial harvest, we are focused on exactly what the prescription is.” He says clearcut is just a layman term, mostly for overstory removal.

In addition to overstory removal, Minister Rankin might have cited “Variable Retention”  which L&F rolled out surreptitiously under the guise of “Interim Harvesting Guidelines” (Dec. 3, 2018). That document, issued as part of the Government response to the Report on the Independent Review,  does not use the phrase “Variable Retention”, but is later referenced by L&F to explain Variable Retention” while scrupulously avoiding the word “clearcut” (Post, Feb 26, 2019).

And Mr. Rankin, what exactly is wrong with language for the laypeople?

‘Shades of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

More on the Minister’s rationale:

Rankin says a new Forest Management Guide is in the works and there will be a broader range of prescriptions for harvests.

“The argument about what fits into a clearcut, what doesn’t fit in, is something that we don’t want to spend resources on, we want to be focused on the paradigm of ecological forestry,” says Rankin.

He says their focus is on multi-age management of the forest and the changes will promote that.

It seems another L&F Minister has fallen under the spell of senior NSDNR/L&F bureaucracy. In recent years, the only one who didn’t was NDP Minister John MacDonnel, who was accordingly transferred out of the department. (The NDP lost the next election and a lot of supporters.)


On the recent history of NSDNR/L&F’s precise use of language:

Aug 15, 2012: the Dexter government released an operational definition of

In Nova Scotia, a clearcut is now defined as a forest harvest where less than 60% of the area is sufficiently occupied with trees taller than 1.3 meters with links to [Clearcut Definition] [Clearcut FAQs] providing more details.

The website where this is posted boasts: “ Nova Scotia is setting a precedent with its
clearcutting target and definition.”

This change allowed the Dexter Government to claim it had already taken major steps towards reducing clearcutting to 50% of all harvests on Crown lands.

Aug 16, 2016: Now we have The big weasel: NS Liberal version | Dubious claim: forest harvests in Nova Scotia are aligned with nature-based requirements
The government/NSDNR now say that they no longer need to work on reducing clearcutting to 50% of all harvests because “We have now developed tools that ensure that all harvest treatments are aligned with the nature-based requirements of Nova Scotia’s lands.” That’s a dubious statement on its own, but they still retain the dubious definition cited above, so even if they were keeping track of the extent of clearcutting, the numbers would be next to meaningless.See EAC Press Release, August 18, 2016 : Government kills key forestry commitments
March 4, 2019:  Now NSDNR/L&F have “eliminated” clearcutting altogether, the word that is

Oh, then there is the inconvenient contrast between the % of clearcutting reported by
NSDNR/L&F and the Feds. View What’s a clearcut and what’s not a clearcut in Nova Scotia? (Post, Jan 23, 2017).

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