On a naturalist’s ongoing effort to alert Forestry Maps to the presence of a Species-at-Risk at a proposed Crown land logging site
UPDATE: News brief: Province continues to ignore AG recommendations on endangered species
By Brooklyn Connolly in NS Advocate July 14, 2021
From post on American Bird Association News (enter List type: Standard; State/province: Nova Scotia; List: Nova Scotia; Date Jul 13 2021):
1. MM HPMV submission June 22, 2021
Sent: June 22, 2021 9:16 AM
Cc: Forestry Maps <ForestryMaps@novascotia.ca>
Subject: Harvest Plans Map – Comments for BlockID #GW215638A
User Information: Name: MM Email: MM
Heads-Up possible species at risk in here – heard and recorded what sounds like SARS protected Olive-sided flycatcher June 6, 2021. Posted to iNaturalist. Other birds heard along this strip of proposed cuts include: Yellow-bellied flycatcher, ruby-crowned kinglet, and american redstart. Not being a birder, an expert should be sent out there to reassess before any cutting at all is done. I also posted flora to iNaturalist. Nothing endangered but there is Old growth up at the top end of the strip which is currently going to be clearcut to 10% retention and dwarf ginseng is growing nicely under healthy regenerating beech just south of Lookout Hill in the 30% retention block. Hope this helps with your planning. I am only going to post this once on behalf of myself and NSWFS. These comments should be taken as made for GW 215638 A,B,C & D
2. NS Forestry Maps Replies Jul 12, 2021,
Department of Lands and Forestry resource management professionals review every proposed harvest plan as part of the Integrated Resource Management (IRM) review process and determine if the plan is appropriate and meets all requirements for operating on Crown lands. The IRM team considers many things including (but not limited to): the provincial strategic forest management plan, property lines and land ownerships, adjacency to protected areas, wildlife habitat, wetlands, forest maturity and old growth, geological information, known recreational activities, areas of significance to Mi’kmaq, and requirements for Special Management Practices (SMP).
In 2017, the department published “A Field Guide to Forest Biodiversity Stewardship” (https://novascotia.ca/natr/library/forestry/reports/Biodiversity-Stewardship-Guide.pdf) which outlines legal requirements and suggests stewardship actions for biodiversity found in our forests. In this guide, specific laws and regulations governing the management of forests and biodiversity, including migratory birds, are provided. The federal Migratory Bird Convention Act is among these laws.
We work closely with our partners at Environment and Climate Change Canada to conserve and protect migratory birds. There is an excellent federal government website summarizing legal requirements and guidelines for minimizing risks to migratory birds (https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/avoiding-harm-migratory-birds/reduce-risk-migratory-birds.html). As such, we recommend that forest resource users minimize risks to migratory bird species by planning forest harvest activities accordingly.
The department uses established seasonal nesting calendars and current occurrence records to inform its decisions on harvests, as a means to avoid and minimize the potential for harm to migratory birds that are species at risk.
Old Growth was not found on this site within any of the proposed harvest areas. Both the Department of Lands and Forestry and the Licensee assess each harvest area to ensure that Old Growth is not part of a planned harvest.
The Old Forest Policy protected lands is available on the Provincial Landscape Viewer (PLV) https://novascotia.ca/natr/landscape/ . Any stands that were scored and identified as old growth forest have been added to the Old Forest Policy protected layer on the PLV which is current as of March 2020. For more information regarding old growth in Nova Scotia and the Departments work protecting old growth I encourage you to visit our old growth story map at: Old Growth Forests of Nova Scotia (arcgis.com) .
Thank you for using the Harvest Plans Map Viewer to comment on crown land proposed harvest plans and for your interest in the management of our natural resources.
3. MM to NS Forestry Maps 13 Jul 2021
I have confirmation that the ID of Olive-Sided Flycatcher living in the forest to be cut next to the little lake is a there. This species habitat is to be protected under both provincial and federal law. Please stop cut. Copying in Nature Nova Scotia.
With kindest regards, MM
To be continued or simply ignored? Stay tuned.
Here is one opinion
Comment on NatureNS July 13, 2021
This is typical of all replies that I have sent to urge no cutting of a forest. Lands and Forestry never replies to your detailed objection but with generalities in their policy. Notice that they don’t respond to a direct observation of a species at risk in a plot but use a ‘calendar’ (supposedly). I have given up responding to their notices since they say the same thing every time. “we do everything according to our book and we are not going to take into account anything you suggest because we are always right”.
Notice also that no one person ever signs the reply letter. So there is no one to respond. I am not sure if there is anyway to get your argument heard. They certainly should be. There should be no cutting of a forest plot if there is an endangered species there. Direct observation is more proof than reading a calendar.
Some related links, posts
– Strategy for Improving Openness, Transparency, Collaboration and Accountability at the Department of Lands and Forestry
Pam Davidson, June 20, 2019 on L&F website “Overall, it is fair to characterize the communication environment between the Department and its stakeholders as being significantly strained. A cross-section of external stakeholders has identified a lack of trust in the department. One example that continuously surfaced in our research related to the online Harvest Map and the inability to obtain information with ease. Stakeholders also noted that approximately six months ago the language used to identify forestry practices on the map was changed in what they believed was an attempt to confuse or hide information. Internally, the map was seen as a positive step toward information sharing and the language change was meant to reflect terms that were actually used within the Department. The Harvest Map example is poignant in that it demonstrates that the while the intent was to make improvements, it had the opposite effect outside of the Department. Had stakeholders been engaged in the development of the map from the beginning, it could have been a more effective, and valued tool.”
– Recovery Plan for the Olivesided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi) in Nova Scotia.
Nova Scotia Department of Lands and Forestry. 2021
– Species at Risk Program Renewal
Project cited on L&F’s Ecological Forestry page. “Updating the management system with our partners to create a framework to ensure the protection of species at risk.”
– Nova Scotia failing species at risk (audio)
Info AM interview July 8, 2021. “Four years after pointing out deficiencies, Nova Scotia’s Auditor General finds the province is still failing to meet its obligations to protect species at risk. That’s no surprise to a team that successfully took the province to court last year.”
– Nova Scotia broke endangered species law, judge rules
Francis Campbell for Saltwire May 29, 2020. ” “The case marked the first time the Endangered Species Act, enacted in the province in 1999, was interpreted by a Nova Scotia court.”
– N.S. naturalists taking province to court
CBC News, Jan 25, 2019: “‘We’re simply asking the government to do what is already required to do legally’”
Nova Scotia Forestry Maps issues directive on submitting comments on harvests 4Jun2021
Post on NSFN June 4, 2021
– Nova Scotia L&F looking for Biodiversity-Species at Risk Biologist
Post on NSFNJan 29, 2019
– Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft and nature organizations launch legal action for Nova Scotia’s species at risk
Post on NSFN Jan 24, 2019
– May 17, 2018: Species at Risk in Forested Wetlands returning to Nova Scotia
Post on NSFN May 18, 2018