Celebrating National Forest Week in Nova Scotia

Above: A piece of largely undisturbed mixed, multi-aged Acadian forest on a Halifax area drumlin – we still have some to celebrate!

Also to celebrate: private woodlot owners who value and nurture these forests while harvesting trees from them. To its credit, that (rather than industrial forestry) is what NSDNR is choosing to celebrate for National Forest Week: Continue reading

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Big guys versus the rest in Nova Scotia forestry

Atlantic Forestry Review (Sep 2017) provides a pretty unbiased perspective of forestry in Atlantic Canada, allowing different players or journalists writing about those players to express their perspectives and otherwise reporting on good news, bad news, human-interest news and just interesting news and facts about forests and forestry in our region.

The various articles and reports in the current issue, the “2017 Trucking Issue”, illustrate some of the tensions between the big and smaller players.
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Clearcutting is putting tourism at risk says President of Nova Scotia Tourism Industry Association

Photo courtesy of Raymond Plourde

“Nova Scotia is blessed with incredible natural beauty…[but] in many areas, there has been a total abdication of responsibility around clearcutting targets and forestry management practices, including herbicide and pesticide spraying. As people seek out authentic and nature-based experiences, why are we putting at risk both our healthy and sustainable forests and Nova Scotia’s tourism”.

So asks Darlene Grant Fiander, president, Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia in an Op-ed in the Chronicle Herald (Sep 21, 2017).

Good question, and hardly the first time it has been asked. Continue reading

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Northern Pulp Pictou mill still polluting the air

“Nova Scotia’s Environment Department has begun an investigation into Northern Pulp operations after the Pictou County mill exceeded air contaminant emissions limits by nearly 50 per cent in June…the third year in a row emissions from the power boiler at the Northern Pulp mill exceeded the limits set down by the Environment Department.”

Local mill watchdog Matt Gunning wants NSE to post results of emmissions tests on its website.

Read more at CBC news (Sep 19, 2017)

View also cleanthemill.com
“People of Pictou County have been concerned about the pollution produced by the pulp mill since it began operations in 1967, but the desire to maintain jobs had historically overpowered the voices of the concerned.” The pollution includes harmful air emissions, and use of Boat Harbour to treat pulp mill effluents, both notorious.

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Zack M on Old Growth forest in Nova Scotia

Old growth hemlock

Just a few days back, I made a post about Zack Metcalfe’s walk through clearcut Crown land. His Guide talked about the declines of once common birds inhabiting mature forest, and how forestry on Crown land is removing the last vestiges of suitable habitat. It is a melancholy story that struck a lot of chords, as evidenced by the discussion about it on Woods and Waters Nova Scotia (some the comments are appended to the post on this website).

Now Zack M writes about the few remnants of the forest that covered much of our land when the first Europeans arrived, the fabled “Old Growth”.

It’s easy to lose yourself in old growth in the forest, your neck craned back to admire the towering canopy and your voice kept low as to not disturb the silence. Stepping into one is like entering a cathedral, and having its defining features pointed out is like an initiation into some exclusive club. And the more you see, the more lofty your membership.

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Hefler Forest Products to restart sawmill

heffler300 Since its rebirth following bankruptcy of the once family owned, 150 year old operation in Lower Sackville, N.S., Hefler Forest products has been running on the profitable biomass energy operation alone. (View post, Aug 3, 2017).

Now, according to an article by James Risdon in the Chronicle Herald (Sep 15, 2017) , they will be restarting the sawmill, beginning with “production of specialty wood products, including 12-foot and 16-foot lengths and deck boards”, and will add 25 sawmill jobs for a total of 40 employees.

As well, they will direct wastes, in place of a portion of purchased biomass, to the biomass energy operation thereby reducing a portion of the carbon emissions associated with any use of primary forest biomass. (“Hefler Forest Products has been buying the biomass needed to keep its power plant in operation through Wagner Forest Nova Scotia.” – CH, July 27, 2017)

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Bob Bancroft concerned about attention to forest ecology in the Independent Review of Nova Scotia forestry

Bob Bancroft talking about cavity dwellers in a talk to the Friends of Redtail Society in 2013

CBC Information Morning’s Don Connelly interviewed Bob Bancroft on Aug 31, 2017, one day after the NS Government announced the start of the Independent Review of Forestry. An audio of the 8 minute interview is available on the CBC website.

In late June/early July, CBC Information Morning conducted four interviews related to Western Crown lands issues which had precipitated the Independent Review (see links).

Below is an ‘abbreviated transcript’ of the interview with Bob Bancroft.

Intro: Stephen McNeil announced a review of the provinces forestry practices during the election campaign in May. He said it would be completed by September. Yesterday DNR Minister Margaret Miller announced that the review will be headed by former Deputy Environment Minister Bill Lehey and it will be completed by the spring. Bob Bancroft is a wildlife biologist and was one of the authors of the provinces last forestry review in 2011

DC: Good morning Bob, what do you think of the choice of Bill Lehey to run this review?
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If we run into some good woods, we must be off of Crown land

    So writes Zack Metcalfe, citing a not-so-funny joke told to him by a guide taking him through a slice of Halifax County.

    Practicing forestry as if there were a tomorrow. This old logging road is on land now owned by Halifax Regional Municipality land. As private land it was logged up until about 20 years ago, but there are still lots of trees over 2 ft diameter, and snags and coarse woody debris.

    A Quiet Word on Forestry, published in the September issue of Rural Delivery, begins with “There are no names in this story”, a line by Ernest Hemingway. Writes ZM:

    I’ve followed this topic [NS forestry] in earnest for several months now, and everywhere it’s the same, from people in government, industry and even conservation; no one wants to talk openly about it – some for political reasons, some citing job security, and some because they don’t want to burn important bridges. So while visiting a slice of Crown land in Halifax County with yet another person in-the-know, I decided to indulge my source in anonymity. Otherwise, this story wouldn’t exist.

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Softwood lumber update: sales to U.S. still high

In the business section of the Chronicle Herald, James Risdon looks at the market for N.S. softwood lumber south of the border. “Booming softwood lumber prices are letting Canadian producers carry on business as usual…South of the border, lumber prices have gone up by almost exactly the same amount this year as the countervailing duties, says Joel MacLaggan, sales manager at Waverley-based lumber broker Eacan Timber.”

There are still concerns about a possible downturn in the U.S. housing and the exclusion of N.S., P.E.I. and N&L from the countervailing duties still has to be finalized.

View Business as usual for lumber producers (CH, Sep 5, 2017).

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Northern Pulp to build a replacement for Boat Harbour treatment facility

“While the province moves forward with their promise to clean up Boat Harbour and to shut down the controversial Boat Harbour treatment facility by January 2020, Northern Pulp is taking steps to replace it…There are still many aspects of the project that have to be determined including who pays for it and owns it once it is complete.” Read more in ngnews.ca, Sep 1, 2017

UPDATE (Sep 7, 2017): View also Details of Boat Harbour waste water plant murky (Francis Campbell in the Chronicle Herald, Sep 6. 2017)

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