Are biofuels from Nova Scotia forests good for the environment? Show us the science!

Above: Brazil decimated its Atlantic rainforest to grow sugarcane for ethanol. Below: An old yellow birch left standing in a clearcut in N.S. Will biofuels replace pulp and paper as the final agent of destruction of our native Acadian forest?

A recent opinion piece in the LocalXpress by Rod Badcock of BioApplied Innovation Pathways extols the potential benefits of a high-tech “bioeconomy” for Nova Scotia.

He cites Cellufuel in Brooklyn N.S, as “forging a new innovative path, developing a renewable diesel that can be made from wood chips (a byproduct from sawmills)” and notes that “The province has been supportive of this innovation”. Reducing carbon-emissions associated with petroleum fuels is cited as a major benefit.

Use of genuine by-products from sawmills to produce biofuels could reduce carbon emissions compared to use of petroleum products. However, that’s a slippery slope as we have seen in the case of our larger biomass energy plants which take in primary forest biomass when there are not enough wastes, or just because it’s cheaper.
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Posted in Acadian Forest, Biomass, clearcuts, Climate Change, Economics, Show Us the Science | Leave a comment

Re-commit to the Natural Resources Strategy & regulate clearcutting says EAC

regulate clearcuttingRegulation of clearcutting is one of four Green Priorities the Ecology Action Centre has identified for the next Nova Scotia Government to implement (Nova Scotia will elect a new government on May 30, 2017):

Nova Scotia needs to regulate clearcutting and other destructive forestry practices as per the commitments in the Natural Resources Strategy. Continue reading

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PHP: eyeing diversification as challenges mount

“Bottled water didn’t work. Maybe sea bass will. With the price of its glossy printing paper falling and an ongoing battle against American countervailing duties, the Port Hawkesbury mill continues to try to diversify…” view CH (May 1, 2017)

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This evening (May 2) in New Glascow: Rehabilitation of the Appalachian Deciduous Forest

Intervale forest on Meander River, N.S.
May 19, 2011

‘Just received news about an informative talk this evening (May 2):

Nova Scotia was a mosaic of different forest associations that reflected differences in rock, soil, climate and First Nations management. While a large portion of the landscape was covered with Red Spruce, the Atlantic coastline was boreal with Black and White Spruce, and well-drained uplands of Cape Breton and the Cobequids and fertile floodplains were hardwood associations. These hardwoods are northern extensions of the Appalachian Deciduous Forest and they change with climate change. The fertile floodplain portion of this Forest contains various rare elements and floodplain rehabilitation at a provincial level should be part of a continental plan to facilitate and conserve biodiversity as species distributions change and adapt to new habitats. At a local level, forest rehabilitation along rivers has the added benefits of mitigating flooding, improving water quality and wildlife habitat, and stimulating recreation opportunities

Speaker: Nick Hill, Fern Hill Institute for Plant Conservation
Place: Community room of the New Glasgow Library, 182 Dalhousie St.
Time: 6:30 p.m.

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Do economic woes lead to conservative forest use in Nova Scotia?

Remnant gypsum karst woodland on the Avon Peninsula, Nova Scotia
Click on image for larger version

I recently re-visited a remnant woodland on gypsum karst near Avondale, an area slated in 2008 for expansion of the Miller’s Creek (Fundy Gypsum) mine. The expansion was approved by Nova Scotia Environment in February 2010.

Then the downturn in U.S. housing dampened the market and the mine was closed in early 2011. Now even the Keep Out signs are gone from the entrance to the old mine.
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Posted in Acadian Forest, Biophilia, clearcuts, Conservation, Economics, Natural History, Private Woodlots, Pulp & Paper | Leave a comment

Independent review of forestry announced in Nova Scotia budget address

“Government will also appoint an independent expert to review our forestry practices to ensure we strike the right balance for our forests. This review will get underway as soon as possible, starting first in the western region. No future long-term timber harvesting licences will be awarded on crown land until the work is complete”
From printout of the Budget Address 2017-2018 tabled today (Apr 27, 2017) in the Nova Scotia legislature.

UPDATE MAY 1, 2017: As expected, Premier McNeil dropped the writ on Sunday, April 30, for an election on May 30.
Neal Livingston (Apr 29, 2017) said what a lot of people were thinking: Continue reading

Posted in clearcuts, Conservation, NSDNR, Tree Harvests, WestFor | Leave a comment

Naturalists question the science of sustainable forestry in Nova Scotia

Ovenbird nest with chicks
By Fredlyfish4Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Link
The density of ovenbird territories declines as intensity of forest harvesting increases (BBMP2)

“The Conservation Committee of the Halifax Field Naturalists has prepared a document commenting on the impacts of forestry in Nova Scotia on conservation of biodiversity and asking questions about the underlying science.”


Questions about forestry science forwarded to NSDNR
Post on HFN website Apr 25, 2017

Impacts of forestry in Nova Scotia on conservation of biodiversity: Concerns and Questions
HFN Conservation Committee document (PDF), Apr 26, 2017
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Posted in Acadian Forest, clearcuts, Conservation, Ecosystem Services, NSDNR, Parks & Protected Areas, Selection Harvest, Show Us the Science, Wildlife | Leave a comment

WestFor Interim Agreement extended to Sep. 2017

Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012)

A CBC report this a.m. indicated that the long term agreement being negotiated with WestFor to access and manage the Western Crown Lands has been extended to Sept., thereby placing the final decision until after an election likely to be announced soon.
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Softwood lumber tariff of 19.88% to hit Nova Scotia May 1

“After a day of uncertainty, the Nova Scotia government admitted late Tuesday afternoon it has lost a long-standing exemption from U.S. border taxes on softwood lumber exports from the province, at least for now.” J.D. Irving operating mainly in N.B. was the one Maritime mill singled out for a a much lower countervailing duty of 3%. View CBC News. Irving has one mill in Nova Scotia, which according to a CH report is also subject to only a 3% countervailing duty. Irving also operates mills in Maine.

View also:

U.S. Delays Exclusion Decision on Softwood Lumber Duties
NS Intergovernmental Affairs Press Release Apr 25, 2017

Forestry changes in 2014 made New Brunswick lumber a target in U.S.
CBC Apr 28, 2017

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Liberal MLA asks for review of Nova Scotia forest practices

MLA Joachim Stroink (Halifax Chebucto) posted a letter he wrote to Nova Scotia Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines:

….I have heard from my constituents about the importance of protecting our forests. They have specific concerns about the sustainability of our forests and what can be done to ensure that our decisions are informed by the best available science. Continue reading

Posted in clearcuts, Recreation, Show Us the Science, Wildlife | Leave a comment