Discussion of HPF post

On Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology

Initial Post Feb 21, 2020: DGP: We need to be concerned about this one; there is a lot of detail in this document which reveals much about priorities and planning at L&F; and there is a lot that is NOT amongst the criteria that one might expect for high production forestry zones. http://nsforestnotes.ca/2020/02/21/nova-scotia-high-production-forestry-discussion-paper-now-available-march-13-is-deadline-for-public-comment-21feb-2020/#more-28667

BW to DGP: – Thanks for posting about this. I will try to get up to speed on it this weekend.

GF: I’m totally against including any plantation on abandon agricultural land . Being tied up in this complex matrix would make it very difficult to return it to agriculture. We see just how vulnerable we are with the recent rail blockades. Its predicted g…

DGP: Perhaps they mean land abandoned early to mid 20th century that has now gone mostly to white spruce, that’s not clear. My two big concerns are no reference to carbon sequestration, and no reference to Landscape Level Planning for Biodiversity Conservation. L&F is still in denial of fundamental environmental issues and still believes it can maintain the same or higher levels of harvesting.

GF to DGP: valued concerns , but if you look at 75 year old black and white aerial photos you will see we had vast areas cleared for agriculture. If you want to maintain the values you quoted you will have to find other areas to make them up. Those areas exist, as I mentioned much tighter control on recreational land development . I dont believe those ideas should be used on agricultural areas now growing planted tree crops . We will always have the ability to revert planted fields back to agriculture based crops at a much lower expense then trying to convert wild forest land . Like I mentioned we have the ability to pull field plantation stumps at the rate of 4 1/2 acres per hour . We have the ability to cut and process trees road side at very low cost, actually at no cost to the owner . Its vital that its hands off these agricultural plantations to insure food sustainably. In the end food will still cost , but it will be in tune with the increased cost of buying wood which is on the way . The basic fact that a recreational development would have to go through an elogicall assement will discourage development, or at least cheap ones .

GF: Like I said , and will be responding to the consultation, I’m totally against the planted crown fields being included. It was not to long ago they offered up a bunch of crown land for blueberry development. They were not successful because of the time frame required to develop such lands to real time production. Why the native community has not picked up on this, because they certainly would not have the time restrictions placed in the normal lease agreement they offered. Plantation agricultural land can be very quickly converted back to growing agricultural crops .

GF: If they mean white spruce growing back wild on agricultural land, they will very soon have to something with it . Once it hits 60 years old it’s going back fast .

DGP to GF: Valid points, thanks for raising them. I am still a bit unclear though. As I understand it, you are saying those “35 to 40 year old plantations” on abandoned agricultural lands should not be included amongst the acreage for HPF, because of the possibility that we might have a desperate need for them as agricultural land, and they can be cleared quickly. OK. Couldnt the argument likewise be made that, because they can be cleared quickly if need-be, that is why they should use abandoned agricultural lands for some of the HPF?

GF to DGP: if they use them and include them they will get included into the general over all scheme of the triad system. After watching what has transpired over forestry, I cant imagine the difficulty one would have if I wanted to clear an acreage of planted crown agricultural land. The way were going , even though its plantation , and planted the public consultation process would end it. They simply can identify natural wild forest sites to the qualifiers they need and do the high production forestry there. Agriculture lands 100 % off limits to inclusion. Trees from these areas will reduce the requirements to take wild wood so to speak simply because of quality, uniformity and harvesting cost . But being included in the high production forestry acreage is a no go . They will have to find other ways to balance out the triad on wild growing areas that also contain high production sites.

DGP: I am still not quite following the rationale for your overall argument.. On another issue: “that also contain high production sites”, so the best forested land goes into the triad system. There are some environmental consequences. Better to take rundown forest land and improve it…but they want a bang for their buck now,

GF to DGP: its not easy to improve run down forest land, one reason why sites had to be at least class four or better to work on . It makes sense because the more volume you can grow on an area, the less foot print we have on the rest . We have not explored yet the full potential of high production sites . Our marketing ability has been narrow . For example I’m looking at importing this machine from Finland. www.logbullet.com. As material comes up showing its uses, low and behold one such buyer in France is going into cuts and cutting grey birch , wrapping it like christmas trees and selling in the cities as xmas decorations. At the same time there cutting the grey birch there creating the site for planting . Is it possible to sell bundled grey birch in north America ? I dont know , but if its possible , with proper trail layout , and biyearly visits to the same sites , a crop might actually be harvested until the plantation stock is large enough to grow alone with out suppression. Fire wood machines are being developed that allows for higher production of smaller stems like maple. Another species that grows freely and quickly , that may have value until the plantation is established. Being able to do this if possible certainly puts a new spin on management techniques.
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FG: While I applaud the latest announcement on developing new markets with a grant incentive, we do need some incentives for those who don’t spend 1 000 000 to qualify. I know why there doing it and understand. But we need something a little more down scale to allow a broader range of people to perciptate. Iv already contacted a committee rep about this . There is I believe no matter how old you are , that have been involved in forestry all there lives and still want to do something , not because they have to , just because they want to. It’s not just people that have cut wood, there are people with sitting cash that will get involved simply because when they die they know they left something behind that will continue to have value other then there assets. I’m 61 years old working the oil patch , and there’s lots here older , were all making near or over $400 a day , yet live on $50. Its easy to tell the ones that dont .

DGP to GF: Thx. Informative. I suggest to beware a little bit of the “It makes sense because the more volume you can grow on an area, the less foot print we have on the rest” argument. It’s the same argument applied to industrial agriculture; the problem- a colossal environmental footprint. I am pretty well expecting the same here. The complete focus on Crown land with no reference to how private lands come into the equation – and no effort to include them – is, disturbing. And who is going to pay for these treatments?

GF to DGP: there is a reason. Put the private wood lot owner in a position of no authority, they say the heck with it and sell out to forigien buyers at twice what locals pay . That’s a very real senioro . The love of the land binds the owner to the property, break that love and its the best escape route . We see it now the distrust. The crown can lead by example and after a while it will be the norm. I get those arguments about my habitat stamp and required course proposal . It’s a long term project that if implicated will just be seen as the normal. How ever those in the position to change it dont want to rock the boat on there watch .
Having said that Sweden did bring in a strong forestry act that’s been 100 years in the making . A long came with that the wood lot owner got prosperity. The government made sure of that . Things like biomass heating are supported there . That’s were the private push in NS came from . What does the wood lot owner get here ? Every one on CBC who they think can shoot holes in it . Want the private land owners in NS to come along, get on board with there ideas. Iv been around the world quite a bit . There is willing buyers if you turn them loose out side the country , and there willing to pay people like me just to drive around once a month to check on there property. Let’s see some movement towards collaboration, or be prepared for one nature walk to be in a box store parking lot.

GF: There is so much distrust right now there whacking off the 40 to 45 year old spruce plantations faster then you can have your hair cut . Our future saw logs are disappearing before our eyes .

BW: I had my farm in Ontario for 35 years. It used to be mostly family farms. There were 29 dairy farms in our part of the county. By the time I sold our farm, my in-laws were one of only 3 remaining family dairy farms. A couple of families had bought up a lot of land and were running huge dairy operations. A lot of the largest dairy farms in eastern Ontario are run by families who come from Europe. To them, even land in eastern Ontario seemed cheap. There are real estate agents who specialize in finding farms for European clients. That’s probably happening here too. The other thing that was happening was that European buyers have bought up a lot of farm land around Ottawa and they lease it to cash croppers — by the thousands of acres. One of my neighbours was a cropper who had a big fleet of tractors and combines and worked land all around the edges of the city. Every so often, a farm would be turned into a new housing development. So much for the regulations that were supposed to stop that from happening.

DGP to GF Under the HPF, they seem to be talking about 10-12″ max

GF to DGP: i see that . Interesting that much of the planted Norway spruce likely already meets the diameter measurement. They will likely replace that species with more white spruce since the sites iv seen would seem to support WS. The trend in mechanization of the mills seems to be going towards diameter they have listed. Last house I worked on the heavy carry beams needed were all glue laminated, and not solid wood . It seems the engineering has shifted more in line with what is aviable and can be used. You likely find larger spruce in the limited entry portion of the triad . I’m saying this because I believe you will need the size to off set the harvest cost . The question will be is it saleable at that size ? Not far from me a guy I know and his wife had a turn down mill. He had Irving cut and plant his property. What I found interesting they hired him to saw the bigger logs every now and then .

DGP: “The trend in mechanization of the mills seems to be going towards diameter they have listed.” This is an issue for NS because we need big old trees for wildlife.

GF to DGP: for sure a good point . I have a few trees like that on our wood lot

DGP I have started to GPS every “Big Tree” (2-” or 50cm and up) I see…

GF to DGP: a good point you make . I m thinking on a wild natural ground plantation for intense forestry applying the current water coarse and wildlife regulations would apply

BW to DGP: – I’ve been doing that at Corbett Lake and some other locations. Hopefully some of them will still be standing in a few years and I won’t find them cut down and lying in a muddy ditch like the first bunch. >:(

DGP to BW: do you put them on iNaturalist?

BW to DGP I was. I have a bunch I have not done yet.

DGP to BW: Me too (“a bunch I have not done yet”)

BW: I’m in agreement about agricultural land. I thought I’d posted this last night, but it must not have stuck. Anyhow, I agree about food security and sustainability. We cannot count on steady supplies of food for the future. With climate change, we’r…See More…

GF: I think every one is going to have to accept the fact were going to have areas of farmed foresty. It’s not going to look like anything you have seen but it’s all part and parcel of lahey report.

BW to GF: – I already do accept the idea of farmed forestry. I’ve seen it elsewhere and it seems to be an efficient enough way of growing trees for whatever purpose. That’s what forestry wants — basically what is being done in New Brunswick and elsewhere.
That said, from my point as someone interested in wildlife and ecology, I would just like to see a much better job done of identifying critical habitat for various flora and fauna, and a true acceptance that there are certain places that should basically be left undisturbed and doing their own thing so that certain plants and creatures can survive. I’m not saying every forest has to be like that. I walk into plenty of forests and look around and think, yah, maybe give this place 50 to 100 years and things will start to get interesting, but that’s not every forest. Unfortunately, I think there’s this very simplistic view that if there are deer in a place, and some birds – oh, Chickadees and Bluejays – and maybe some Wood frogs croaking in a ditch — that the habitat is pretty good for wildlife and you’ve done a good job of conservation. That’s probably about the level of a lot of people who enter a forest — whether that’s someone out walking their dog, or the Minister of Lands & Forestry going to visit a forest so that he can declare that everything being done is just fine and dandy. However, to people who are accustomed to observing all kinds of flora and fauna – not just one taxon – you realize that these places can’t just be “created” in 20 or 30 years. If they already have organisms there — millipedes, centipedes, beetles, certain plants, the certain moths species whose larvae feed only on certain host plants, the salamanders that require certain acidity of soils and enough decaying logs and vernal pools to survive. Birds that nest beneath hummocks in the duff, or in the lower branches of fir trees, or so many feet up a deciduous tree, or only in the high canopy of a hardwood, or in the cavity or hollow of a very large tree, and bear making dens beneath the root cave of a fallen giant tree. Well, you know I could go on rather indefinitely because this is the way that *I* see a forest — the way that I have learned to see forests or any other habitat from spending decades wandering through them, often in the company of biologists or naturalists who have spent a lifetime getting to know just the spot that an Ovenbird would choose to nest, or just which kind of log one might turn over in September to find a Spotted Salamander, or which kind of jumbled, fern and moss covered rocks in a hardwood forest near water will be the perfect hibernaculum for Ribbon snakes. When I go into a forest and see a certain richness of biodiversity, it makes my stomach turn when those in power walk into the same forests and spout off about how it’s “okay” to cut down 80 percent of what’s there using heavy forestry equipment. From my point of view, I would just like to know that someone who *actually knows something about forest ecology and not just a couple of their favourite taxon* has evaluated the biodiversity value of a forest (for lack of a better way of putting it) before rubber-stamping a proposed shelterwood or other cut. In most cases, I doubt anyone who knows what’s what, has even spent more than a few hours looking at a forest (if even that — and didn’t just look at it on the PLV map from their office). I know this from the whole mess over Corbett-Dalhousie Lake forest — and from other forests that have been cut down. The thing is, these kinds of *mistakes* cannot be fixed by letting things regrow for 30 years. I know that runs counter to everything that Lands and Forestry wants people to believe. I’ve sort of given up and thrown in the towel on even talking to anyone there anymore. When you have the top wildlife bureaucrat saying that birds and bats will just fly away and find other forests to nest in — well, that’s when I just turn and walk away and say, yeah, go ahead and wreck everything. There’s nothing I can do or say that will make you leave an ecological forests alone — you just have to get your hands in there mucking around with what’s already there.

GF to BW: that’s a very fair statement.