Annapolis Co. group finds fresh stump of 138 yr old tree in Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes Forest, but it’s not Old Growth says L&F 6May2019

Stump of 138 yr old beech (left) and a remaining 32″ dbh Yellow Birch, flagged with wide yellow “CAUTION” tape “so that the foresters would not “accidentally” fell these trees”

UPDATES May 23, 2019:

‘Stop the Chop’ – Extinction Rebellion on standby to halt Corbett Lake Crown forest harvest
Lawrence Powell in www.annapoliscountyspectator.ca, May 23, 2019
Climate forest proposed – Annapolis County wants chance to develop new ecologically managed economic model
Lawrence Powell in www.annapoliscountyspectator.ca, May 23, 2019 ” Annapolis County wants the province to hand over a swath of Crown forest south of Bridgetown so the municipality can develop and manage a climate forest and demonstrate that a new economic model based on ecological forestry management can increase local jobs, community recreation, and tourism.
They passed the motion May 21 and have drafted a letter to Department of Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin with the request. Currently WestFor has the option to harvest the forest in question and some of that work began last year.”

UPDATES May 22, 2019:
Annapolis Co. Council writes Hon. Iain Rankin, Minister Department of Lands and Forestry: ““It is hereby recommended that the Municipality of the County of Annapolis respectfully request the Province of Nova Scotia to dedicate the Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes property to the Municipality of the County of Annapolis to develop and manage a climate forest and demonstrate a new economy based on ecological forestry management that will increase local jobs, community recreation and tourism.”
Press Release: Action to protect the Corbett – Dalhousie Lake forest
By Nova Scotia Advocate – May 18, 2019

UPDATE May 21, 2019: iNaturalist keeping an eye on Nova Scotia’s forests 21May2019
Post on NSFN. “Annapolis area naturalist/forest activist Bev Wigney established the first – to my knowledge – iNaturalist Place and Project for a Nova Scotia Crown Land forest subject to logging”

UPDATE MAY 13, 2019: Minister responds to forestry concerns (Info A.M. audio). Comment by Bev Wigney. “CORBETT-DALHOUSIE LAKE FOREST — FINAL INTERVIEW — This is a podcast of the final interview in the series that CBC INFORMATION MORNING made on this local forest. There is an excerpt of the interview with biologist, Bob Bancroft, who visited the forest with Phlis McGregor and me last Tuesday. This is followed by remarks from Annapolis County councillor. Gregory Heming (chair of the Forestry Advisory Committee), saying that there should be a pause in harvesting while this forest’s future is discussed. Minister of Lands and Forestry, Iain Rankin, is the last person speaking — and basically saying that the harvest will go ahead as planned — as a partial harvest — he claims that about 35 percent of the trees will be harvested — I would say based on site visits that there has been more than 35 percent harvested in the strips that were already taken out, but in any case, that’s what he is saying now — and that there are no plans to return for a second harvest any time soon. Well, let’s hope that the best of the trees are left standing. Unfortunately, if they carry on logging as has been done in the first strips done last autumn, the forest floor is going to be pretty hacked up, but we have done what we could to preserve the forest. If Minister Rankin and Westfor wish to continue on as begun, then it’s on their heads that they’ve hacked up what is and would have been a special forest in our county. One has only to walk into the still natural side of this forest and then into what has been logged and you’ll easily see that for yourself.”
Also: LETTER SENT TO PREMIER WITH PETITION (May 13, 2019); MESSAGE TO FORESTRY MAPS RE: CONFUSION OVER PRESCRIPTION FOR THE HARDWOOD STAND AT CORBETT-DALHOUSIE LAKE (MAY 13, 2019) … continued – See More Correspondence, below

UPDATE May 10, 2019: CBC Podcast of Interview with WestFors Marcus Zwicker
CBC Info AM. Followup of May 9th interviews (below). They hope “to hear a response from the province on Monday’s Show”. Comments Bev Wigney on Zwicker’s comments: “He states that this cut is “individual tree selection” but that is not the prescription that was originally given, and it is not how it has been described by Min. Iain Rankin. So, now we are left wondering just what is going to happen there.”

UPDATE May 9, 2019: Why old forests should be protected
CBC Information Morning (audio). “A biologist and a naturalist want the province to halt logging in old forests. They’re questioning why the province is allowing industrial forestry in one of Nova Scotia’s last remaining old hardwood forests…We hope to hear a response from both WestFor and the Province on tomorrow’s show” Also view Cutting down trees in old hardwood forest ‘scandalous’ by Alex Cooke, Phlis McGregor · CBC News · Posted: May 11, 2019

———-

The Annapolis Co. group which visited a proposed harvest of the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake forest on Boxing Day and found harvesting had already begun also found some big trees.

Flash forward in a series of complicated back and forths between citizens and L&F to yesterday: members of the group visited the area and “one of our group, experienced in forest biology, counted tree rings on a few of the stumps that were cut last autumn before work ceased for the season.”

Writes Bev Wigney in a letter to Premier McNeil today

These were not even the largest diameter trees and most aged over 100 years up to 138 years for an American Beech. There are far larger and probably much older trees in the next “strip” of forest that is slated to logged when work resumes any day now. Just in the first few metres beyond what was harvested last autumn, there are two immense Yellow Birch measuring 30 and 32 inches DBH (diameter at breast height). Those would be very old trees…We have been told by Minister Iain Rankin that this forest doesn’t qualify as “Old Growth” so cannot be preserved in its natural state. [Instead] it will be “managed” to create a multi-age forest.

She continues:

To most of us, it seems that it is already a multi-age forest. One that if not already “Old Growth” would soon qualify by whatever subjective standard he is employing. We don’t know who made the decision that it is not Old Growth. Was this decision made by an impartial Old Growth specialist, or by an

Bev Wigney’s depiction of “Super Canopy Trees” Mar 11, 2019

industry employee? We have seen no report of the assessment. All we can go by is the number of large old trees in the area adjacent to where other trees were already felled, and by the size, number and age of the remnant stumps in the felled area.

On Sunday, we measured quite a number of trees in the area soon to be felled. We flagged them with wide yellow “CAUTION” tape so that the foresters would not “accidentally” fell these trees that we consider to be valuable to the forest, if and when they resume cutting in the next short while.

We also photographed the canopy of the forest from a number of spots. There appears to be an almost continuous canopy closure in many areas. That is an important marker of an Old Growth forest (I have included a typical photo). The forest floor is also very characteristic of a pit-and-mound topography which is also considered one of the important markers of an Old Growth forest. The floor is also thick with mosses, ferns, lichens, fungi, and the trees covered in lichens and lungwort — more markers of an Old Growth forest – especially Lungwort which only prospers in a very “clean” and undisturbed forest away from polluted air.

Read the full letter which is posted on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology (public Facebook group), also copied below

The definition of Old Growth given under L&F’s Old Forest Policy:

Old Growth A forest stand where 30% or more of the basal area is in trees 125 years or older, at least half of the basal area is composed of climax species, and total crown closure is a minimum of 30%.

Somehow, I think this story is not over.

Thx, Bev Wigney & Co., for speaking up on behalf of those residents of Nova Scotia who don’t communicate in the human language and for many who do.


NSFN Posts related to Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes forest

This story began just before Christmas, 2018, and has at times been fast-moving and  reported on mostly on Social Media (mainly Facebook). As well, a lot of it has been propelled by Social Media, with even the Minister of Lands and Forestry joining in. That can be difficult to keep track of or to trace as Facebook posts are not indexed on Google. As a way of keeping such materials ‘current’ and more conveniently archived, I have been copying a lot of  Facebook materials in posts on NSFN; those related to Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes are listed below.  (As well I began a Social Media Posts page on Jan. 16, 2019, highlighting some Social Media posts on Facebook, when I could get a link.)

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

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

Dec 31, 2018: Nova Scotia Crown land Harvest Plan Map Viewer folks made a mistake; no apology

Jan 5, 2019: Follow-up on The Mistake (Corbett/Dalhousie cut): letter from Annapolis naturalist to Nova Scotia Premier and others

Jan 6, 2019: Nova Scotia Healthy Forest Coalition: The Story of the Corbett Lake Affair and the Erosion of Trust in the Public Process

Jan 11, 2019: news!!! letter from Iain Rankin about the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake forest!! Jan 11, 2019

Mar 26, 2019: A plea to cease cutting the Corbett-Dalhousie Lakes forest and similar remaining forests in Nova Scotia 26Mar2019

April 27, 2019: Nova Scotia L&F Minister Rankin comments on changes to harvest prescriptions in the South Mountain Ecodistrict 27Apr2019

May 1, 2019: Nova Scotia Forestry Maps/L&F respond to concerns about South Mountain cuts & now L&F, not the licensee, address comments sent to the HPMV 1May2019

Most of the above reference posts on Social Media (Facebook)

Following are some Facebook posts cited under Social Media Posts that I did not otherwise comment on:

May 6, 2019:
Update on Corbett-Dalhousie Lake Forest
Bev Wigney on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology. Petition launched 3 days ago has >700 signatures. Group documents ages of cut trees, put caution tape around trees that they DO NOT want to see removed, record locations on iNaturalist.

Feb 16, 2019:
ANNAPOLIS GROUND-TRUTHING GROUP: ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BEING INVOLVED???
On Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology

Jan 23, 2019:
– Bev Wigney FOLLOW-UP ON CORBETT-DALHOUSIE LAKE FOREST
“This is a follow-up email which I’ve sent to Annapolis County Warden, Timothy Habinski, and Councillor Gregory Heming..”
On Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology

Articles in the Annapolis County Spectator

Dec 31, 2019: UPDATED: Voice in the wilderness – Citizens discover some proposed Annapolis County harvests may already be complete
Lawrence Powell In the Annapolis County Spectator

Jan 8, 2019: Forestry faux pas – Corbett Lake proposed harvest posting a mistake; concerned citizens skeptical, hope to save what’s left
Lawrence Powell in the Annapolis County Spectator

Mar 27, 2019: Ground Truthing – Group plans to walk the woods; hopes observations, reports will save Crown forests
Lawrence Powell in Annapolis County Spectator


THE  LETTER

From Post on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology, May 6, 2019

LETTER – JUST SENT : to Premier McNeil, Min. Iain Rankin, William Lahey, Warden T. Habinsky, Councillor G. Heming.

Dear Premier Stephen McNeil,

I am writing to you as a constituent and as a concerned citizen of Annapolis county. You are my MLA and Premier.
I belong to the Annapolis Royal & Area Environmental & Ecology group. We are a local group of 325+ members who are now organizing such activities as clean-ups to remove hazardous materials from area coves and beaches (rope, plastic, etc..), and to monitor what is happening in the forests of this region. Our numbers are growing by the week as more and more people in this area join us in our determination to improve the environment and ecology around us. The following should be of interest and importance to you.

As you know, there are many people in your home riding who are very concerned about the extent of the logging that has been taking place in our region – especially the logging occurring on Crown Land forests. Last Friday, I set up a petition to obtain feedback and signatures from those who oppose logging of the remaining hardwood forest on the peninsula between Corbett and Dalhousie Lakes in Annapolis County. I have written to you about this tract of land in the past and this is still of great concern to us as nothing has really changed in spite of all of our efforts. I just checked the signature count of the petition this morning and it was at 737. That is a lot of signatures for just 3 days – and the number is rising. Many of the signatures are from people right here in Annapolis Royal and Bridgetown – the two towns closest to the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake forest. I will send you a follow-up letter later today, containing some of the comments that people wrote when they signed the petition. The comments tell a story of citizens who have had just about enough of the “harvests” taking place all around our homes, cottages, and lakes — harvests that are displacing wildlife, destroying property, changing the watersheds, effecting tourism, and as many feel and have commented, are contributing in a very negative way to climate change.

Yesterday (Sunday), a few of us visited the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake forest to measure trees and take photos. One of our group, experienced in forest biology, counted tree rings on a few of the stumps that were cut last autumn before work ceased for the season. These were not even the largest diameter trees and most aged over 100 years up to 138 years for an American Beech. There are far larger and probably much older trees in the next “strip” of forest that is slated to logged when work resumes any day now. Just in the first few metres beyond what was harvested last autumn, there are two immense Yellow Birch measuring 30 and 32 inches DBH (diameter at breast height). Those would be very old trees. It’s the loggers call on which will be left to stand and which will be felled. We, the people of Annapolis County, wish to see those and similar trees left standing — providing wildlife habitat, cooling forest shade to the soil and understory, and doing a herculean job of sequestering CO2. If these trees were to be cut down, the carbon they have sequestered in their wood, roots, and surrounding earth over the past century and a half or more, will be released into the atmosphere.

In a brief email, we have been informed by Minister Iain Rankin, that some of the trees will be left standing, but we have no idea of the percentage of trees, which trees, what kind of buffers around these trees, etc.. will be preserved. If they are logged out the way the first few strips of the forest were logged last autumn, we will undoubtedly lose some of these great old trees. Below, I have included a photo of parts of one such large tree that was discarded on the ground as it is hollow inside. I suppose the loggers might have salvaged a length of solid wood out of it, but the remainder of the tree is lying on the ground near its stump. This is very sad to see as such a tree, left standing, could have continued to live for many more decades, providing wildlife habitat and further carbon sequestration. Now it is gone. Now its carbon sequestration has ended, and in fact, it will now be releasing carbon as it decays.

We have been told by Minister Iain Rankin that this forest doesn’t qualify as “Old Growth” so cannot be preserved in its natural state. It will be “managed” to create a multi-age forest. To most of us, it seems that it is already a multi-age forest. One that if not already “Old Growth” would soon qualify by whatever subjective standard he is employing. We don’t know who made the decision that it is not Old Growth. Was this decision made by an impartial Old Growth specialist, or by an industry employee? We have seen no report of the assessment. All we can go by is the number of large old trees in the area adjacent to where other trees were already felled, and by the size, number and age of the remnant stumps in the felled area. On Sunday, we measured quite a number of trees in the area soon to be felled. We flagged them with wide yellow “CAUTION” tape so that the foresters would not “accidentally” fell these trees that we consider to be valuable to the forest, if and when they resume cutting in the next short while. We also photographed the canopy of the forest from a number of spots. There appears to be an almost continuous canopy closure in many areas. That is an important marker of an Old Growth forest (I have included a typical photo). The forest floor is also very characteristic of a pit-and-mound topography which is also considered one of the important markers of an Old Growth forest. The floor is also thick with mosses, ferns, lichens, fungi, and the trees covered in lichens and lungwort — more markers of an Old Growth forest – especially Lungwort which only prospers in a very “clean” and undisturbed forest away from polluted air.

Our group is calling for a halt to further felling of the hardwood stand on the northwest side of the Corbett Dalhousie Lake peninsula — the parcel known as #AP068637. That section of forest should be preserved for the wildlife that inhabits that location. Already, we were hearing returning migratory birds such as warblers, calling within the forest as we measured and flagged trees yesterday
afternoon. In addition, that forest is in a prime recreational area and could have been enjoyed by local people and visitors alike, but by the time the logging is completed, it will impenetrable and perilous to walk through for the next several years until the slash eventually decomposes. Much of the peninsula has already been logged off — at least half of it, but probably more over the past year. Last week, we just discovered that the final third of the peninsula – the northeast side, and land to the north of the peninsula have already been committed for harvest as well. I call your attention to
the fact that all of this peninsula was approved for harvest in 2014, under the previous system in which few people knew what was going on. That Lands and Forestry’s claim that there were “no public comments” is next to meaningless. Had these parcels gone through the current HPMV notification system when the boundaries were redrawn and the new licensee was given approval, I can assure you that there would have been intense opposition — but we, the citizens of this county, were not given that opportunity before work commenced.

We, the citizens of Annapolis County would like *something* to be preserved for *us*. Can we not have some remnant preserved of what were once great forests? Can we not have anything “good” left standing in our county? To date, I have not spoken to even one person who is supportive of the “forest harvests” we see going on around us. To a person, everyone I speak to is appalled by what they see happening to our forests.

Please view the attached photos and do what you can to preserve what remains of the hardwood portion of the Corbett-Dalhousie Lake Peninsula. In any other place, this area would have been preserved for conservation — isolated as it is by water. It’s an ideal location to protect wildlife and provide a peaceful recreational setting for residents and visitors alike. We should be doing all that we can to keep it that way.

Regards,
Bev Wigney
Annapolis Royal, NS

PHOTO CAPTIONS:
1.) A very old Yellow Birch — DBH measurement of 32 inches.
2.) Typical canopy — very closed — in this hardwood forest
3.) A section of a previously felled American Beech tree – counted at 138 years.
4.) Thick growth of Lungwort – indicator of a healthy well established forest.
5.) Section of one of the large trees that was felled – hollow inside.

———————

The Petition:
Help stop the forest massacre at Corbett-Dalhousie Lake in Annapolis County, Nova Scotia
On change.org

————-

More correspondence May 13, 2019

Bev Wigney As some of you may recall, last week, I posted an email I sent to Forestry Maps asking for the current prescription for the hardwood stand at Corbett-Dalhousie Lake. I am posting their response and the email I just sent back to them. There seems to be cause for concern:
********
Forestry Maps (LaF) – response to me:
Hello Ms. Wigney,
> There has been no change to the originally approved uniform shelterwood
> prescription for AP068637.
> Forestry Maps
> Department of Lands and Forestry
> Renewable Resource
*********
My reply to Forestry Maps just now:
Hello Forestry Maps,
Thank you for your reply, but it doesn’t seem to agree with what Mr. Zwicker said on Friday (CBC Information Morning interview). He called it “individual tree selection” and said probably 35% of the trees will be harvested. This morning, Min. Rankin (CBC Information Morning interview) called it a “partial harvest”. These three prescriptions that I’m hearing from different sources are different and not what we are being told will be done.
Thank you,
Bev Wigney

More correspondence May 14, 2019

L&F to SES (who asked similar question as above):

Dear Ms. S,

During Minister Rankin’s interview he did use the term partial harvest, describing the prescription as one with 30-40% removal while leaving shade tolerant long lived species. This definition matches that of Uniform Shelterwood which can be read in the Forest Management Guide. During Marcus’s interview he was referring to individually selecting trees and removing 35% targeting balsam fir, black spruce and intolerant hardwoods to create growing space for tolerant long lived species such as yellow birch, sugar maple and red spruce.

Minister Rankin, Marcus Zwicker and the Harvest Plans Map Viewer are all describing/showing a Uniform Shelterwood prescription which is a partial harvest treatment.

Thank you for your comment.

Bev Wigney: I received pretty much the same reply from them — so, of course, I had to respond!!

Thank you for your explanation. Several of us were out to the forest last weekend and put wide yellow CAUTION tape around the largest, oldest trees in the next few strips where trees will be cut down. Will anyone honour our request to not cut down these trees, or will that just cause them to be targeted to be cut down. I would like to know whether this form of marking will be honoured by the contractor when they return to start taking down trees.

I would also add that, when I have visited the forest, the strips being cut crosswise from the logging road to the shoreline take up about 50 percent of the standing forest. No tree within a strip remains after the machines move through. Additionally, trees have been removed from the area that is left standing between these cut strips. If you were to add up both the trees cut down to create access for the machine to cross through the forest, with the trees that have been cherry-picked out of the standing forest between each strip, it seems pretty much obvious that more than 35 percent — or even more than 50 percent – of the trees in the hardwood forest have been removed just in the first few strips that were harvested. How will things proceed from where they are without this level of harvesting continuing. Just to get the machine through for each strip is removing about 50 percent of the trees? Can you provide some explanation that might reassure us that we aren’t going to see “more of the same” as this harvest continues into the next section which has
some particularly wonderful old trees? How will those trees be protected from damage or harvest?



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