Nova Scotia forests & forestry: birds, mosses and biophilia

As well as in op-eds and letters to the editor, more voices expressing concern about the state of Nova Scotia forests or simply a love of the Acadian forest are appearing in the social media. A few that I have come across recently are highlighted below.

Blackburnian Warbler photographed by Angela Granchelli

Of wood and warblers: musings on my upcoming 3rd spring migration season as a birder in Nova Scotia
Angela Granchelli writes her blog Atlantic Canada Birding as an “independent travelling sales representative with a large geographical area [who finds] birding a great way to unwind after a day of sales calls”.

She was inspired to write about wood warblers after attending Donna Crossland’s presentation to the Nova Scotia Bird Society on March 23. She compiled a list of the 22 wood warblers that breed in Nova Scotia and their preferred vegetation; she also lists “vagrant” visitors. Continue reading

Posted in Biophilia, clearcuts, Climate Change, Conservation, Ecosystem Services, Letters&Editorials, Natural History, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Call of the Forest documentary screens in Halifax tonight (Mar 24, 2017)

“Call of the Forest comments on the state of the world’s old growth forests and reminds us that trees provide emotional and physical benefits to those ever in its presence.

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Posted in Acadian Forest, Biomass, Biophilia, Conservation, Old Growth | Leave a comment

Softwood lumber woes

“Still left out in the dark, however, are Nova Scotia’s private wood lots owners”

Well before the American election, our softwood lumber trade with the U.S. (worth circa $85M to Nova Scotia, and $4.6 billion to Canada at large) was on shaky grounds. The last softwood lumber agreement ran out Oct 12, 2015, and the subsequent one-year litigation standstill period ran out a year later. Already the U.S. International Trade Commission has said that Canadian lumber is “subsidized and sold in the United States at less than fair value”, causing harm and the U.S. Commerce Department is conducting anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations. (CBC, Jan 6, 2017).

With Trump’s America First policies, the old arguments of the benefits of trade for both sides hold much less weight; Canadians will have to demonstrate that U.S. imports of Canadian lumber increase jobs in the U.S., e.g. by lowering costs and stimulating U.S. housing and showing that those benefits exceed losses in competing (but more expensive) U.S. lumber suppliers. Continue reading

Posted in Economics, Letters&Editorials, Lumber, Private Woodlots, WestFor | Leave a comment

LighthouseNOW article provides a little more clarity on pending WestFor Agreement

Negotiations with the Mi’kmaq community are required and appropriate.

Western Crown lands, modified from CPAWS map (2012)

An article by Brittany Wentzell in LighthouseNOW, a Bridgewater and Lunenburg-based newspaper, provides some new info about the pending Forest Utilization Licence Agreement (FULA) that would give a consortium of 13 mills (“with WestFor”) access and a lot of management control over the Western Crown Lands for the next 10 years.

The online version opens with an image of the letter sent by the County of Annapolis to Premier McNeil on March 3 (view post Mar 8, 2017).
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“We cannot log and burn our way out of climate change”

So says Dr. Bill Moomaw, Professor of International Environmental Policy at Tufts University and an author of The Great American Stand: US Forests & The Climate Emergency. “Logging forests and burning trees to generate electricity in place of coal while not counting the emissions may help governments meet their emission goals, but the atmosphere and climate is where the real accounting takes place.” He was cited in a MongaBay article by Mike Gaworecki, Mar 21, 2017.

View The Great American Stand: US Forests & The Climate Emergency” by Bill Moomaw and Danna Smith, Dogwood Alliance Media Release, Mar 21, 2017. The report was released on the International Day of Forests.
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Nova Scotia increases max height for wooden residential buildings

Are tall structures made of wood in our future?

“Nova Scotia is adopting changes to the National Building Code, which include increasing the maximum height of wooden residential buildings from four to six storeys. The Fire Safety Act and Regulations will also be changed to enhance safety requirements for the taller wood buildings.” View Press Release (Mar 17, 2017)

Also view:
Good news story on wood products, Nova Scotia
(Post Mar 18, 2017)

New wood construction opportunities for Atlantic Canada (Post Mar 6, 2017)

From molecules and cells to trees, forests, and tall buildings made of wood (Post Dec 22, 2016)

ADDED April 4, 2017: Tristan Cleveland: Why six-storey wooden buildings are good news for Halifax
Halifax Metro News, Apr 3, 2017.

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Resolute suit related to PHP still underway

Montreal based Resolute Forest Products’ suit related the Dexter government’s deals with the Port Hawksbury Paper (PHP) mill continues. View US paper company claims $52 million under NAFTA (Printing Industry news, March 8, 2017).

With the Trump government wanting to scrap or change NAFTA this has come at an interesting time. Canada has counter claimed that the US company has taken too long to file there for it should be tossed out. It is expected in the current US political environment that more US companies will be paying more attention to the NAFTA deal. What effect this will have on the Canadian printing industry has still to be determined.

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FAO promotes forests and energy for International Day of Forests, Mar 21

“The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 March the International Day of Forests (IDF) in 2012. The Day celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On each International Day of Forests, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees, such as tree planting campaigns. The theme for each International Day of Forests is chosen by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The theme for 2017 is Forests and Energy.” View short video at

A google search failed to reveal much uptake of this celebration in Canada, but I was pleased to see Stanley Park being celebrated by the Stanley Park Ecology Society as a remnant coastal rainforest.

The short FAO video espouses forest bioenergy in all its forms, which made me cringe. It has not gone unnoticed otherwise: Continue reading

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Good news story on wood products, Nova Scotia

Updated Mar 19, 2017
 Dow and Duggan log home“Dow and Duggan Log Homes have created a new process of constructing logs to be used in the building of new log houses” and are seeing “robust and growing revenues.” View Local log home manufacturer shipping closer to home amid EU turbulence (CH, Mar 13, 2017)

“They’re pretty good,” Pure Nature Developments’ president said in an interview Monday. “They’re laminated beams, glued together, so they don’t twist and turn . . . and they’re kiln-dried.” In its manufacturing facility on Prospect Road, Dow & Duggan’s crew of 10 workers combines parts of six logs, using glue and pressure to create each log or beam of 10 inches in diameter. “In Eastern Canada, nobody else does a 10-inch log and you have to have minimum of a 10-inch log to meet the new standards,” said Dow.

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Posted in Economics, Wood Construction | Leave a comment

The way of Nova Scotia forests

Rare, old hardwood forest provides a glimpse of the way it was

In The way things used to be (CH Mar 14, 2017), Zak Metcalfe writes of how his interview with forest ecologist Donna Crossland gave him a glimpse of our pre-Columbian forest and how that changed quickly following European settlement.

Before my conversation with Crossland I couldn’t have realized how fundamental our impacts have actually been, how destructive and long term. The forests I’ve walked through and admired for years are mere infants, disenfranchised of their height, their health and even of their majesty. It would take tremendous forethought on our part for them to recovery and even then it wouldn’t regrow in my lifetime. The line of succession is simply too long.
Oh, what I wouldn’t give to watch it all happen.

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