Nova Scotia Lands & Forestry makes a few announcements 31May 2019

In 2010, Forestry Minister promises “There’s gonna be a reduction in clearcutting in Nova Scotia”. In 2019, Forestry minister promises ‘dramatic reduction’ in clear cutting. New ETA: 2020. “I’ll believe it when I see it”, says one.

L&F Minister Iain Rankin talked to CBC’s Michael Gorman, reported May 30, 2019 (“Forestry minister promises ‘dramatic reduction’ in clear cutting“). Key points as reported by Gorman (bolding mine):

– Lands and Forestry Minister Iain Rankin says there will be a “drastic reduction” in clear cutting once Nova Scotia’s new forest management guide is complete, something he expects will happen by late November or early December.

Rankin said people who participated in the process to develop Lahey’s report will soon be receiving invitations for a June meeting with the minister and his staff to learn more about what’s been done to date.

– “The last few weeks the department has signed agreements with external advisers for the teams working to implement the Lahey report recommendations. We’re talking about leading academia, scientists and people that actually worked on the report with Prof. Lahey that are on those teams,” said Rankin. That includes Bob Seymour with the Northeastern States Research Cooperative, Peter Duinker from Dalhousie University’s school for resource and environmental studies, and Laird Van Damme from Lakehead University’s biology department. Rankin said choosing people Lahey worked with adds credibility to the process while responding to the call to be more transparent about how things are done.

Small-scale wood energy projects are viewed as one way to diversify the market for low-grade wood in the province. Rankin said his department is working to identify potential sites for a pilot project and a tender will go out soon so it can be operating in time for the next heating season.

Work is also underway to replace the way public feedback is received for proposed harvests, something that must be completed before the government will sign new long-term agreements with Crown leaseholders.

Also on May 30, 2019, an e-mail went out to 156 people inviting them to “Hold the Date for an Ecological Forestry Forum” to be held in Truro on Tuesday June 25, 2019, Place TBA. The people invited are apparently “people who participated in the process to develop Lahey’s report” (as cited above). View pp 6-11 in the Addendum to the Lahey Report for a list of participants.

On May 31, 2019, An Update (“Ecological Forestry Implementation – May 31, 2019 update”) was placed on the website for the Forest Review.  There is an associated Press Release. The Previous Update of Mar 26, 2019 is still available on a separate page.

The latest update lists Project Team Leaders and External Experts advising the project teams for
– Forest Management Guide
– Natural Disturbance Regimes
– Old Forest
– High Production Forestry
– Small-Scale Wood Energy Projects
– Species at Risk
– Outcomes Based Forestry
Names of other members of these teams are not given, evidently most are government employees.

The update notes that “in addition, more teams are being formed and are developing work plans, which will include identifying the necessary expertise and stakeholder engagement. For example, a team is reviewing State of the Forest reporting to determine the types of information and data that are most important to Nova Scotians” and also that “Work has started on Professor Lahey’s recommendations regarding environmental assessments. The department is looking at all potential options, including considering what is happening in other jurisdictions, and how an environmental assessment process could fit within the forest management planning system.”


Noted ES on Social Media, commenting on the CBC story: “….I guess the word CLear Cut is back in his [Iain Rankin’s] vocabulary,,,, or is it?? How can we reduce clear cutting if it is not even part of their language. He has already gotten rid of clear cutting, the words anyways.” ( View Nova Scotia L&F Minister Rankin: “clearcut is just a layman term” 14Mar2019)

I am not sure how “choosing people Lahey worked with” is “responding to the call to be more transparent about how things are done” but perhaps I am missing something. They could start with the basics. As I have  noted under Who does what: The NSDNR website does not provide much detail about who does what at DNR beyond listing some of the staff in various sections. There is next to no information about the qualifications and backgrounds of directors and staff. There are no annual reports describing activities and outcomes over the previous year in any detail. Perhaps L&F could form a Project Team on Transparency and use the Project itself as an exercise in transparency.

Re: The Ecological Forestry Forum to be held at Truro on June 25, 2019. I hope L&F will video the forum proceedings and make the video available promptly via the Forest Review website. There are many more than the 156 invitees who would want to be there (and should be there) and likely many who couldn’t make it for one reason or another (myself amongst them).

NSDNR Minister MacDonell at rally in 2010: “There’s gonna be a reduction in clearcutting in Nova Scotia.” View video

An early comment on The Update:

“If they are really doing everything on that update page, that will be a good step forward. It’s too bad that we’ve all reached the point that we’re so jaded that it’s become an “I’ll believe it when I see it” thing.”

That’s pretty much how I feel about it at this point. The ten months since Prof. Lahey submitted his report have been pretty wrenching for many people who were initially encouraged by the report only to see business as usual following it as recorded in too many of the posts on this blog, also under Social Media Posts and In the News.

By the time the Forest Management Guide is in place (“late November or early December”) and, presumably, implemented, that will be 15-16 months after Lahey submitted his report and nine years after a previous Minister of DNR/L&F promised “There’s gonna be a reduction in clearcutting in Nova Scotia.”

That’s a lot of lead time for Big Forestry to adapt. Many species have paid for it.

I am concerned about the Minister’s statement: “”This is going to be a 10-, 20-, 30-year process where you’ll see the actual look of the forest change into a more multi-aged and multi-species forest.”

What worries me about that is the emphasis on the forest improving in the future, surely appropriate, but, what about keeping what’s left that’s “already there”, especially in biodiverse SW Nova Scotia. We don’t hear much about that. How much of those high volume old forests will be appropriated for the Intensive Forestry component of the triad… just when it’s critical to keep as much as we can because of immediately impending losses in biodiversity and climate change?

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