Margaret Miller new Minister of Nova Scotia Dept. of Natural Resources

Margaret MillerWell, I guess I won my bet (although no one took me up on it) that Lloyd Hines would not be reappointed Minister of Natural Resources in Stephen McNeil’s freshly re-elected government.

The Premier announced the new cabinet today and the DNR post goes to Margaret Miller who served as Minister of Environment in the last 16 months of the first McNeil government (Oct 8, 2013 to May 30, 2017).
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Environmentalists see Liberals’ promised Biodiversity Act for Nova Scotia as a venue to moderate clearcutting

Could a Biodiversity Act help to rein in clearcutting in Nova Scotia?

Freelance journalist Chris Benjamin has written extensively on environmental issues in Nova Scotia. In The Coast for June 8, he looks at the prospect that the new Liberal government will follow though on “decisive new actions” on environmental policy promised during the campaign, citing discussions with Brendan Haley (a Dalhousie University clean-energy economics researcher) and Mark Butler (a director of the Ecology Action Centre), and writings of Meinhard Doelle, a Dalhousie law professor specializing in climate change.

On emissions: the Nova Scotia carbon price is too low and emissions cap too high; Doelle and Haley suggest that N.S. should let the federal government put their tax in place and absorb the accompanying administrative cost until a proper system can be designed. Continue reading

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Clearcut on Nova Scotia’s eastern shore: “A relic from an uninformed time”

Even in Protected Areas: Clearcut in lands designated for the Raven Head Protected Area, 2011 (“To negotiate a price within the province’s budget, Wagner Forestry [was] allowed to harvest about one quarter of the Apple Head area”)

In the print edition of the South Shore Breaker, also available via the CH online, Zak Metcalfe writes about “a piece of public land a short distance outside Sheet Harbour, leased by our Department of Natural Resources to Northern Pulp”:

I had to remind myself that I wasn’t trespassing, that in fact this was my land, and yours, which these harvesters are only now borrowing. With that context I can be forgiven for my turmoil, developing, as it did, the deeper into this devastation I dared trek.
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Who is appointed Minister of Natural Resources will provide the first sign of what’s up post election for forestry and forests in Nova Scotia

The Liberals mustered a narrow majority in the May 30, 2017 election, so they will again be in the driver’s seat.

My immediate question: who will be the Minister of Natural Resources? The answer will provide the first sign of where forests and forestry could be headed in Nova Scotia and whether the Liberals’ commitment to an independent review is genuine. If Lloyd Hines, the Minister of Natural Resources for most of the Liberals’ first term, is reappointed, it will be difficult to take that commitment seriously. Here’s why.

The future of forestry in Nova Scotia?

Hines narrowly regained his seat in Guysborough Co but wasted no time in expressing his view of what’s up in Natural Resources: “I think we are poised to do exactly what we’re saying and to unleash the province’s natural value and unlock that value for Nova Scotians.” Hines did not mention the Liberals’ commitment to hold off critical decisions until an independent review of forestry is conducted and why such a review was considered necessary.
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Annapolis Co. Crown lands getting hit hard in latest round of proposed cuts

A lot of Annapolis Co. looked like this in late May, 2017 and there’s more on the way.

Just in: “[Have a look at the] latest update on the Harvest Plan Map Viewer. Lots of clearcutting proposed in Annapolis County – 35 parcels are posted, 399 Ha of cuts in total (partial and clearcut), 264 ha proposed for clearcutting. Most of it is in two areas: (1) up on the south mountain behind Lawrencetown and (2) just off the #10 near Cloud Lake Wilderness Area.

“Whatever happened to the resolution by the Annapolis County Council?”

Good question.

Thx, CR

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The Rhodora

On Being Asked, Whence Is the Flower?

In May, when sea-winds pierced our solitudes,
I found the fresh Rhodora in the woods,
Spreading its leafless blooms in a damp nook,
To please the desert and the sluggish brook.
The purple petals fallen in the pool
Made the black water with their beauty gay;
Here might the red-bird come his plumes to cool,
And court the flower that cheapens his array.
Rhodora! if the sages ask thee why
This charm is wasted on the earth and sky,
Tell them, dear, that, if eyes were made for seeing,
Then beauty is its own excuse for Being;
Why thou wert there, O rival of the rose!
I never thought to ask; I never knew;
But in my simple ignorance suppose
The self-same power that brought me there, brought you.

–The Rhodora by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1834
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Thursday June 1: Nova Scotia wildlife advocate to talk on forestry 2 days post election

UPDATE (June 3, 2017) I missed this just pre-election Letters and Editorials item in the CH May 30, 2017: an Op-ed by Dale Smith (“The environment shell game“) in which he expresses skepticism about the environmental commitments made by the three major parties during the election campaign.

About the commitment in the Liberal platform “to appoint an independent expert to review our forestry practices to ensure we strike the right balance” he says:

Is the expectation that the proposed independent expert will rule upon and perhaps set aside the opinion and will of Nova Scotians as conveyed through the most extensive resources consultation and review process ever undertaken in Nova Scotia?

And who might be selected as an independent expert? Should he or she be a highly-credentialled forester? If so, and based on past experience, the effective outcome most likely would be carefully crafted recommendations advanced by a wily fox determined to ensure continued access to the henhouse, all in the name of balance.
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Gully Lake error & correction clarified, but not completely fixed?

Source Forest Harvest Allocation Maps 24 May 2017;
red arrow inserted to highlight blocks near the Gully Lake Wilderness Area for which clearcuts were proposed initially.
(Click on image to enlarge it.)

Three blocks close to the Gully Lake Wilderness Area were initially identified as proposed clearcuts when they were posted on the Harvest Map Viwer on May 12, 2017. This caught the attention of Chris Miller, a national conservation biologist with Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), as reported by Jonathan Riley in the Truro Daily News for May 23, 2017. The following day, the proposed cuts were the topic of discussion on CBC Mainstreet. CBC host Bob Murphy commented after the interview that at some point during the day, NSDNR had changed the proposed clearcuts on the map to proposed partial cuts, also noted and followed up by the Truro Daily News (May 24, 2017).

On Friday May 26, this explanation was sent out to subscribers to notices from the Harvest Plant Map Viewer: Continue reading

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Protected Areas in Nova Scotia help to mitigate climate change, clearcuts do not.

A modelling study shows that Protected Areas increase carbon storage, clearcuts reduce carbon storage

Decisions about cutting or not cutting and about how to cut affect carbon storage on our forested landscape.

A paper by Robert Cameron of NSE and Peter Bush of NSDNR, published last year, suggests 112 million tonnes of carbon is sequestered (stored) in existing Protected Areas and in areas proposed for protection in 2012*; if protected, they would increase their carbon storage over the next 130 years. *In 2012, 514,980 ha were protected (approx. 9% of the land area); it was anticipated that another 253,000 ha would be added bringing the area protected to just over 13% of the landmass; today it stands at 12.4%.

If the existing and proposed protected areas were managed for forestry they would become a carbon source for the next 130 years for both maximum yield and forestry management with environmental considerations scenarios.

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Sadness in the voices of Nova Scotians commenting on clearcutting

“It’s all around us and it breaks my heart…”

CBC Mainstreet NS aired some of many comments received following Bob Murphy’s interviews with Raymond Plourde and Karen Beazley concerning proposed clearcuts close to the Gully Lake Wilderness Area.

I was particularly struck by the profound sense of sadness conveyed in the voices of two people who conveyed their comments in telephone messages.

Below are transcripts from those messages.

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