Industrial Forestry working the spreadsheets following L&F directive to reduce clearcutting on Nova Scotia’s Crown lands, while confusion reigns at L&F about the directive

The optics are not good and a sense of deja vu

Conversion of mixed Acadian forest to industrial softwood forest under past practices on Crown land. (Photos in Nov. 2016) Is that about to change following the Report from the Independent Review?  That’s far from clear right now.

In a CBC post on Sep 17, 2018 – Nova Scotia ‘serious about reducing’ clear cutting: email, Michael Gorman reported that “Work has started behind the scenes in Nova Scotia to reduce clear cutting on Crown land, a month after a review recommended much stricter ecological management of lands owned by the province.”

Contrary to Lands and Forestry (L&F) Minister Iain Rankin’s comments last week which suggested it would take some time for government to begin to act on recommendations from the Independent Review, Gorman reports that “a department email addressed to major players in the industry* on Sept. 11, which CBC News has obtained, shows steps are already being taken that will see reductions in clear cutting.”
*Cited as Port Hawkesbury Paper, Great Northern Timber, Westfor Management Inc., Taylor Lumber and the Medway Community Forest Cooperative.
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A Reminder: 500 days to go until the closure of Boat Harbour

“…and NP still hasn’t filed for their environmental assessment on a new treatment facility”

Some of the Comments on Post

GJH: The industrial approval for Northern Pulp also ends on this date.

TMD: Clean up the Pictou County Pulp Mill. Kathy Cloutier, Bruce Chapman and John Lohr all seem hell bent on making people think that closure date was arbitrary. Nope, it was by design to coincide with the end of this industrial approval.

GJH: Link to NSE Approval EFFECTIVE DATE: March 9, 2015 EXPIRY DATE: January 30, 2020
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Sep 11, 2018: Forest fires on the upswing in Nova Scotia

Our encouragement of softwoods over hardwoods hasn’t helped

Burn restrictions for Sep 11, 2018, 2:00 pm to Sep 12, 8:00 am from novascotia.ca/burnsafe/

Some how or another we have avoided major fires so far this summer, but a few have got out of control recently. They are particularly hazardous after prolonged drought because they will burn deep into the soil. Our encouragement of softwoods over hardwoods hasn’t helped.

Abbreviated transcript  from a CTV news video (Sep 11, 2018):

CTV: Nova Scotia’s Natural Resources department is restricting all travel and activity within its forests. The goal is to reduce the risks of wild fires and its spreading. Listen to this…

Dave Steeves: It was approx 90 ha in size but we did have some growth and now we are at 140 ha in size.
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While we wait for the government response to the Independent Review, clearcuts on Nova Scotia Crown lands continue unabated

Image at right: As expressed on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia.

Here is the Message I received as a subscriber to updates on the Harvest Plan Map Viewer:
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Concerns expressed about cutting into a deer wintering area on Crown land in Upper Vaughan

So… The Review is in. If the recommendations are adopted, this sort of practice would likely end.

View Update from Markus Kehoe/WWNS, Sep 13, 2018

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From a post  on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia (Facebook page):

Time to circle the wagons and rally the troops – again!

This map and update just in from Markus Kehoe:

“They’re back with a new plan….after public outcry, they scrapped the partial cut plan for the deer yard and have decided to spare a small portion at the top and clear cut the rest now.”
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Plourde/EAC offer constructive analysis of The Report from the Independent Review and suggest ten things the government should do immediately

It’s taken some time to digest The Report

Raymond Plourde, Wilderness Coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre has written a lengthy, thoughtful op-ed commenting on the The Report from the Independent Review of Forest Practices in NS. View:

OPINION: Lahey forestry report: The good, the bad & the missing
Raymond Plourde in the Chronicle Herald. published online Sat Sep 8, 2018

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Some reservations about The Report on the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia

I have expressed my basic support for the report as a whole, however is not a “free pass” on the whole report. Sooner or later we will have to deal with the reality that two Pulp Mills (perhaps not even one) AND a viable higher value wood industry AND a minimally adequate level of landscape conservation for wildlife/mixed multi-aged Acadian forest AND providing the land time to recover from severe nutrient loss/acidification over about 60% of the landscape cannot be sustained, nor can forest bioenergy function as a sustainable alternative to pulp mills as a consumer of low value wood.

I have come under a bit of fire for my basic support for the conclusions & recommendations coming out of The Report on the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia as expressed in two posts:
Report from the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia released
Post Aug 21.
All quiet on The Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia for now
Post Aug 30, 2018.
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Questions and comments on WWNS about sustainability of current wood harvesting in Nova Scotia following Report from the Independent Review

For the Record, some recent discussions on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia (Facebook page) are replicated below. These are verbatim copies except that I have replaced full names with initials, which has been my practice when replicating discussions from WWNS. The most recent items by date are posted at the top. I will update this page if more discussion ensues.

About discussions on WWNS, moderator Mike Parker comments (bolding is mine):

W&WNS is committed to being an equal opportunity forum for both sides of the forestry debate. Mistakes happen. Unlike social media where an error can be edited for correction, radio / television doesn’t allow for a do over. Calling someone, anyone, on this page a liar is teetering on the brink of being shown the door. Participation on W&WNS is not an inherent right. For those who missed the memo, there is to be no profanity or character assassination. Decorum will prevail. Otherwise go elsewhere.

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Sep 6, 2018 (more discussion added – Sep 6, 3:40 pm)

More from DW re. yesterday’s forestry contributions [see entries under Sep 5, 2018 below] from DW and TM :

“ I am in agreement with TM – the forests surrounding the Pulp Mills have been heavily cut off over the years . Upon walking through some of these lots one doesn’t see any planted conifers . Where does replanting take place ? Does Northern Pulp only replant on land that Hamm et al have long term title to ? Is that where the plantations have been planted ? That would make sense from a corporate view .
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New documentary on Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in Nova Scotia

An informative, up-to-date documentary on Hemlock Wooly Adelgid in Nova Scotia has just been released by the Blomidon Field Naturalists.

The significance of eastern hemlock in NS and the possible impacts of HWA (aka “hemlock vampires“) are discussed in the YouTube video, followed by  “what you can do to help prevent or slow down this pest in Nova Scotia.”

Nine and half minutes in length, the video documentary was written and directed by Hilary Roberts and Soren Bondrup-Nielson, with special thanks to Ron Neville and the CFIA.

Thx to SBN for forwarding the announcement and to Soren, Hilary and others for producing a high quality, timely and informative documentary.

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All quiet on The Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia for now

Overall, I think the people who have been concerned about the State of Nova Scotia’s forests should be happy, very happy, with the Report, and urge MLAs to support the recommendations. The big questions right now: Will there be a behind-the-scenes effort by Industrial Forestry interests to discredit the Report as there was following the 2010 process? Will the government accept the conclusions and recommendations of the Report overall?

The long awaited Report from the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia was released 9 days ago, and was followed by a brief flurry of comments over the next few days (view Independent Review). Since then it’s been pretty quiet, except for NDP MLA Lisa Roberts’ largely favourable comments in the Cape Breton post on Aug 28th.

In the meantime, “Nova Scotia long-term Crown timber harvest leases [are] still on hold” while the “Forest industry awaits premier’s reaction to forest practices review” (CBC News Aug 24, 2018); and “the Nova Scotia government isn’t ready to say whether they’ll accept the recommendations and are hesitant to give a timeline on when that decision will be made” (Global News Aug 23, 2018).

I can understand the delay. There’s lots to digest from the Report. Continue reading

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