Halifax Co. clearcutting taking its toll

Boreal Felt LichenA recent media report on NSDNR Minister Lloyd Hines rounds of the province noted that Halifax County (i.e. Halifax Regional Municipality) ranks #2 after Cumberland Co. in forest harvesting in Nova Scotia. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who pokes around outside of the core population areas (view Nov 11, 2016 Post).

Now Linda Pannozzo, who documented the travails of the legally protected boreal felt lichen in the Halifax Examiner (Muzzling the Forest Keepers, Nov 4, 2016) writes about a direct threat to boreal felt lichen from clearcutting in Halifax Co. From the HE: Continue reading

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Hines on “listening tour” of SW Nova Scotia

Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012)

“We were talking about harvest methods, what the WestFor existence means to the area, and generally the state of the industry too” but, according to the article “When asked who approached who regarding the creation of the lease, Hines said he wasn’t sure.” Read more in LighthouseNOW (Mar 8, 2017).

It’s still not clear whether the province has signed the 10-year lease with Westfor. The article refers to it as a done deal “…WestFor Management Inc., the consortium of 13 mills that has a 10-year lease with the province to harvest on over 500,000 hectares of western Crown land…”.
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Editorials and letters about forestry in Nova Scotia, continued..8Mar2017

UPDATE Mar 9, 2017: Also in yesterday’s to and fro: a letter from woodlot owner Tom Miller commenting on NSDNR Minister Lloyd Hines’ talk to the Pictou Chamber of Commerce (see post Mar 6: Looking after Nova Scotia’s Crown land garden, below) an example he says “of our government leading from the top – down….It turns out that a majority of people telling the government very clearly what they want doesn’t carry much weight with our elected officials.” Read more in NGnews
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Mar 8, 2017: Two letters in the CH today respond to Malcolm Barkhouse’s comments of Mar 4, 2017 “More to satellite images than meets the magnifier”. (See Editorials and letters about forestry in Nova Scotia, continued..4Mar2017)
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Annapolis County concerned about impending WestFor agreement

Annapolis Valley Crown lands (dark patches) from NS Crown Lands Viewer; county margins are approximate

In a special session of the Annapolis County council, a motion was approved (unanimously) to request of the Premier the following (partially paraphrased):

– to be informed of the expected date of the signing of the agreement between the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and WestFor involving Crown land some of which is in Annapolis County

– to exclude land within the boundaries of Annapolis County from the agreement for one year so that council and staff can review the agreement and make recommendations.

A letter to this effect was sent on behalf of the council to the Premier on March 3, 2017


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Concerns about clearcutting in Digby Co.

Counties of Nova Scotia, from Wikipedia author Hwy43

I received this message today: In response to mounting public pressure, the Warden for Digby County, Jimmy MacAlpine, has requested letters of concern from citizens of Digby County regarding clearcutting of their public woodlands. E-mails should be sent by Friday March 9, 2017 to Linda Fraser, CAO for Digby, lfraserATmunicipality.digby.ns.ca.

UPDATE Mar 8, 2017: More details are available in an article by Sara Ericsson in the Digby Courier for March 7, 2017: “Digby Warden Jimmy MacAlpine is calling for submissions from the public regarding concerns about clearcutting forestry-methods across the county. This comes after Bear River resident Jay Stone expressed concerns in a meeting with the warden about clearcutting which is advancing increasingly toward private properties.” View County seeks public input on crown land forestry concerns



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New wood construction opportunities for Atlantic Canada

Are tall structures made of wood in our future?

An article by Don Proctor for the Daily Commercial News highlights a new study showing that “the cost of building a six-storey wood building in Halifax is comparable to the tab for a similar structure in B.C”. View article

I was not able to find a link to the specific study by Atlantic Wood WORKS! but I did a related slide presentation:
6 Storey Mid-Rise Cost Comparison between Wood, Steel & Concrete Structures

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Looking after Nova Scotia’s Crown land garden

The Minister’s analogy of sustainable forestry to sustainable production of crops in a garden overlooks the now well established principle that “sustainability” needs to embrace much more than just the annual allowable cut.

Two approaches to forestry in Nova Scotia. One produces high value wood as well as sequestering carbon, providing habitat for wildlife and peace of mind to visitors. Unfortunately, it is the exception, not the rule, for forestry on Crown land in Nova Scotia.

Something is definitely brewing as NSDNR Minister Lloyd Hines continues his rounds of Nova Scotia talking up ways to make more economic use of our forests. NGnews reports on the Minister’s presentation to the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce in New Glascow on Mar 2, 2017, noting that Hines views the five million acres of Crown-owned land in the province as a giant garden about which he says “Like any garden you have to look after it.” The NGnews report continues: “The difference, though, between a vegetable garden and the massive forest the DNR manages is that harvesting isn’t something that’s looked at over a period of a few months but rather on a 40- to 100-year cycle, he said.” View NGnews.
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Editorials and letters about forestry in Nova Scotia, continued..4Mar2017

The back and forth on Forests and Forestry in Nova Scotia was prominent in the Saturday CH.

Mike Parker, who kicked off the Show us the Science series, cautions that we “Don’t listen to industry reassurances”. He “searched out a respected voice who can speak to forestry issues in Nova Scotia. I found it in the person of Dr. Jack Ward Thomas (1934-2016), a renowned American ecologist, Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation in the School of Forestry at the University of Montana, and thirteenth chief of the U.S. Forest Service.” Parker quotes Thomas at length, all of it resonating strongly with the current debates about forestry in Nova Scotia. Continue reading

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NSDNR seeks markets for SW Nova Scotia’s “fibre basket”

Minister Lloyd Hines is making the rounds seeking input from local business people on how to bring back forestry and mineral industries to SW Nova Scotia. He’s encouraging an open discussion: “The best discussions happen when people can bring any opinion, positive or negative, to the table in an open discussion”. Hines describes the area as a “fibre basket” and the goal now is “to find and create new business to keep use of this market…” and says “the burden to improve and create new initiatives within forestry lies with landowners who own a majority of the forested land.” View Digby Courier report (Mar 1, 2017).
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Editorials and letters about forestry in Nova Scotia, continued..24Feb2017

Re-assurances all is OK

In an Op-ed, Kingsley Brown (President of the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association) offers re-assurances that things are humming along just fine in forestry in Nova Scotia, apparently a little more optimistic than he was in a Feb 4 Op-ed (Nova Scotia forestry sector hangs by a thread – “The industry is currently so finely balanced that a decision in Shanghai could shut it down within 30 days, according to government and industry estimates. But there’s no sense of public urgency, not a peep in the legislature, no discussions in party caucuses, no letters to the premier or Department of Natural Resources minister.” Continue reading

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