I am setting up this website to help me organize information and my thinking about forests and forestry in Nova Scotia. I have spent 10+ years studying the natural history of our forests. Now I want to understand the apparent gulf between what we are told by Nova Scotia Natural Resources (NSDNR) about their prescriptions for forest harvests in Nova Scotia – that they are ecosystem based, designed to simulate natural disturbances and to be sustainable – and what we see around us, which are massive clearcuts. I do not see natural analogues in our Acadian forest to the clearcuts, at least not on the scale and frequency of clearcuts.Does the “Emperor have no Clothes” or am I simply too ill-informed about forests and forestry in Nova Scotia to understand it all? This website reflects my quest to answer that question and my thoughts along the way. I am hardly the first to ask the question.
I also want to celebrate what we still retain of the forests and forest life we “inherited” from the Mi’kmaq. I am hardly the first to do that either, indeed, there is a renewed hunger to learn about and experience the natural world in Nova Scotia, and a new appreciation of the perspectives of our Mi’kmaq peoples.
I do have a bias which is a conservation orientation. I believe that we could manage our forests for economic benefits and conserve biodiversity and ecosystem services at the same time and that we must do so for the sake of all species and for our economic health. I have concluded that as a province, we are not doing that now and perhaps never have, although many individual woodlot owners have done so. Our forests fared best in pre-Columbian times when the Mi’kmaq tread gently on these lands.
Indeed, the evidence indicates that we have simply squandered that legacy. The longer we wait to correct our mis-use, the more painful it will be, but the choice is between a barren industrial landscape benefitting very few and the Acadian Forest in all of its glory and shared by all. Which version do we want to hand off to our grandchildrens’ grandchildren? (It’s already too late to make a choice that would benefit my grandchildren.)
I am a supporter of the fledgling Nova Scotia Healthy Forest Coalition (HFC). I anticipate that some of the materials posted on this website will also be posted on the HFC website.
The Home Page consists of “posts” and is intended to serve as a record of events, news and opinions on the subject of forests and forestry in Nova Scotia as they unfold, beginning on June 21, 2016. They are, of course, filtered through my own biased lens. The others are pages with annotated links to pertinent information and resources, mostly online; they are not intended to be comprehensive but rather to point to some of the materials that I have found particularly pertinent to my quest.
I view participation in social media as equivalent to expressing one’s voice by voting and through choices made as a consumer. If at some point this website proves useful to others who, like myself, are struggling to understand the state of our forests, all well and good.
Visitors are welcome to copy whatever they wish. Photos are my own unless otherwise identified; acknowledgment would be appreciated on photos distributed elsewhere.
Comments are invited. I can certainly be better informed, so don’t hold back! Send comments to davidgpatriquinATgmail.com – please put FOREST NOTES in the subject line. Thanks.
– David Patriquin
June 21, 2016
Postscript (Aug 22, 2016)
I am pretty critical of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR) in these pages, however it is not universal and it is definitely not personal. There is a lot of good work done by this department, and I make a lot of use of resources provided by NSDNR.
My concerns relate overall to (i) the decisions that continue to support a form of industrial forestry that is highly destructive of forest and aquatic biodiversity in Nova Scotia, exploits small woodlot owners, and provides fewer and fewer benefits to the people of Nova Scotia at large; (ii) the science purported to support these decisions or at least the public presentation of the science; and (iii) the veil of secrecy or control of release of pertinent statistics compiled by NSDNR.
I am not the first, by a long shot, to express such concerns either within or outside of government. I do hope these pages will contribute constructively, however incrementally, to debates about such issues and, I would like to think, their resolution.