Pannozzo on why big Nova Scotia sawmills’ are so supportive of pulp&paper/clearcutting 17Mar2019

It’s no accident the Big Mills (WestFor) are focussed on SW Nova Scotia. Map shows the distribution of forest in 5 development stages across Nova Scotia, compiled from NS Landscape Map Viewer. Purple = Multi-aged/Old Forest. View Larger version

In a superb piece of investigative journalism, Linda Pannozzo has answered a question I have long wondered about: why are the larger sawmills in NS so supportive of Industrial Forestry/clearcutting when it seems clear that in the longer run those practices undermine the supply of larger diameter logs for sawmills?

The conclusion I had come to was that given there are still some sizeable chunks of forest stands significantly older than 40-60 years, notably in SW Nova Scotia, clearcutting can still provide larger diameter logs to sawmills and do it at lower expense than selective cutting (at least as long as there is a market for  the smaller stuff) and it is the current bottom line that reigns supreme in our industrialized society; technology will take care of the future, e.g. by manufacture of synthetic woods not dependent on large diameter logs.

That may be true as a first approximation, but Linda Pannozzo has provided a much more nuanced explanation to do with improvement in the efficiency of sawmills concurrent with falling diameters of logs, and a shift in the production of chips from the pulp mills to the sawmills.

View Pulp Culture: How Nova Scotia’s Faustian bargain with the pulp industry may leave the sawmills in ruins
Linda Pannozzo in Halifax Examiner (subscription required for full article; precis in Morning File for Mar 13, 2019.).  For anyone who like myself is struggling to understand forestry in NS, it’s well worth the $10 monthly subscription for access to the full article.

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