“What will it take to get the Nova Scotia Government to obey its own Environmental Laws?” 29Nov2020

Nova Scotia Forest Protectors show up in numbers to stand in solidarity with the Moose Country Blockade.

“What will it take for the Ministry of Lands and Forests to acknowledge our presence and respond to our requests for a meeting?

“What will it take to get the NS Government to obey its own Environmental Laws (as was ordered by the NS Supreme Court?)?”

– Rob Bright on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology (Public Facebook Group)

Photos by Betty Wright, shared on Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology (Public Facebook Group)

Betty Wright:

“About 70 Forest Protectors turned up this morning in support of the encampments staked out on crown land in the Tobeatic Wildness area to protect our last remaining Mainland Moose.

“We came to support Nina Newington and other hardy souls who have been camping overnight there for over 6 weeks.

“We are still trying to get our government to grant Newington a meeting to at least talk about how crucial it is to protect this old growth area which the moose and all other living creatures need to survive.

“So far they have not responded so more supporters came out today to stage a walk near the second camp where logging has been going on day and night for the past week.

“We walked for more than a kilometer linked together with bright scarves mindful of keeping 6 feet apart and wearing our masks, while overhead a small plane took pictures for our social media.”


A NSFN perspective

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

I believe L&F/Big Forestry’s actions (or lack of action) since the Lahey Report have caused them to lose the Social License to clearcut on Crown land… so HPF (High Production Forestry) – proposed by Lahey, but like most everything else in the Lahey Recommendations, not yet implemented while logging continues unabated – is not now acceptable to the largest group of stakeholders in our Crown lands.

L&F cannot in turn solve Big Forestry’s ‘supply problem’* by increasing the amount of partial harvesting to meet demand. That would be as destructive as the clearcutting.

If L&F does not ban all clearcutting AND reduce the total take from Crown lands substantially, they will lose the social license to do any logging on Crown land.

It is time for a ‘light touch” on all Crown lands, or none at all. I suspect that most Nova Scotians prefer the former; it’s definitely not the  status quo which L&F has maintained now through two reviews and promises to change over the last 10 years.
*The “need” for big sawmills to cash in on high prices for lumber during Covid times.

Shanni Bee to Iain Rankin 29Nov2020

An excerpt:
“Mr. Rankin, in your recent Cape Breton town hall event, you stated that, as premier, you would seek to strengthen Nova Scotia s protected area network, in large part by increasing connectivity among protected areas. The crown forest between the Tobeatic & Silver River Wilderness Areas (shown in these maps) provides critical connectivity for a number of at-risk species, including the severely endangered mainland moose.

“The first of these Tobeatic/Silver River maps illustrates forestry using the crown harvest plans (2016-2020) alone. In your November 12th email, you stated that, in response to Lahey, you  instituted mandatory preliminary setbacks from clear-cut harvesting of 100m . So, I took a closer look. As you can see, there are a number of clear-cuts in the Crown Harvest Plans that are occurring within 100m of the Silver River Wilderness Reserve. According to the harvest plans, about half of these cuts occurred post-Lahey. I also found a number of clear-cuts within 100m of protected areas in Cape Breton but did not make a map for this area. I am happy to do so if you wish.”

And Something to Think About from People for Ecological Forestry in Southwest Nova Scotia, written back in March 2020:

In 2011 to 2012, the NDP gave $23,750,000 of our tax dollars to Bowater to purchase 25,000 acres or 10,117.15 hectares of Bowater land.

In 2012 to 2013 the Dexter government gave another $117,650,000 of our tax dollars to buy another 555,000 acres or 224,600 hectares of Bowater land.
That’s a total of 580,000 acres or 234,717 hectares for $141,400,000.

In 2014, Jon Porter, who worked for Bowater for 32 years was hired by the Department of Lands and Forestry as Executive Director, Renewable Resources. He is the guy at the top making all the decisions.

In that same year WestFor signed a license to manage Crown land in SWNS on behalf of the department and the people of Nova Scotia for 13 industrial forest companies.

Many Nova Scotians have expressed concern about all the clearcutting that they are witnessing on Crown land to no avail.
In 2017 the Premier asked William Lahey to review forestry.

The study was released in August 2018.

The response to the review was made by Iain Rankin in 2019 stating that a new Forestry Management Guide would be completed by the first week in December 2019.
In the meantime an Interim Retention Guide has been used for the past 15 months allowing contractors to cut and truck 70-90% of the forest on plots of land that are proposed for cutting…even during birding season.

In February 2020, under the recommendations of the Lahey Review, the department plans to give 333,000 hectares or over 822,861 acres to 10 or so private companies to convert to tree plantations (only spruce/softwood).

That is MORE THAN the total Bowater land purchased in 2011 to 2013 which was 234,717 hectares or 580,000 acres costing us $117,650,000. They are in the process of trying to get it for free.

WestFor and the Department have also pushed through 40,000+ acres of clearcuts in the past 18 months while we waited for Lahey to release his report and for the government to make comment.

These large companies still want to be able to cut down hardwood and pine off of the ecological matrix.

Large mill owners lined this up perfectly…but it is like a perfect storm for the forest and wildlife.

They, along with the help of politicians put the right people in the right places and voila – they get access to all this land for free that we paid for – and they can run the show while they have been propped up with grants along the way. Many of these same mills received hundreds of thousands of dollars in land buy backs.

And at the swipe of a pen, the minister of the day can give land all away to these mill owners.
Sweet deal eh?

Then – when the people of Nova Scotia want to know the stumpage – that’s top secret.

We haven’t seen how they plan to grow trees on a 30-45 year rotation on High Production Forestry Land. We have done some research and have not found any science supporting this for a similar area.

When we ask what herbicides are going to be sprayed – we are told by the department that the licensee can decide that.

And biologists have not reviewed this land – the Species at Risk Act has not been implemented – old forests have not been set aside – nor has the old growth criteria been changed.

And people working in the department who care about wildlife or have a different point of view remain silent…because they risk loosing their job like the guy who spoke out in NB.

And those working in the woods who don’t like how things are being done remain silent as well because they sell to these mills. (with the exception of a few brave souls)

Now with Northern Pulp out of the picture, a couple of the larger mills are the real Lands and Forestry Department and are calling the shots…and every move is supported by the politicians in power.

All we want is for forestry practices on Crown land – Public land – to be done in a way that protects the biodiversity of the forest.

No spraying – No massive clearcuts – No pulling the wool over our eyes saying that they can grow trees for harvest in 30 years. That’s not credible.
And no more handouts and grants using our tax dollars.

This is becoming a welfare industry.

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