Lessons for Nova Scotia from private land forestry in Finland

(Augmented Aug 8, 2017)

finlandgoogleDigby County forester Harold Alexander has provided a report on his investigatory trip to Finland last fall, conducted with a view to “learn why that country’s forestry well outpaces the performance of ours, yet remains sustainable and preserves healthy forests, all with a fairly similar split between private and public land.”

From Nova Scotia woodlot report looks beyond ‘mining our forests (CBC, Aug 7, 2017)

A final report on the trip was completed last month and highlights a variety of issues. It found two of the biggest differences between Finland and Nova Scotia are the amount of power small private woodlot owners have in the Scandinavian country and how intensely that country monitors its forests.

“In Finland they know very accurately how much wood the forest is growing on an annual basis,” said Alexander. “And if you’re going to sustainably harvest the forest, that’s very important information to know.”

View Report

Small Private Forestry in Finland 2016 Learning Tour Summary Report
By H. Alexander, Dr. M. Hobbs, P. Burchill, J. Crooker, J. MacDougall.
Sponsors: The Forestry Lab (A joint project of NS Woodlot Owners & Operators Association [NSWOOA] & ACOA), Port Hawkesbury Paper (PHP), Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners (FNSWO) NS Landowners & Forest Fibre Producers Association (NSLFFPA).

There is a lot of very useful info (e.g. view Table 9. Comparing the small private forest sectors of Finland and Nova Scotia) and a lot to think about in this 38 page, referenced, report about forestry in Finland AND in Nova Scotia. We owe a lot to Harold Alexander for his thoughtfulness, persistence and outspokenness.

I am somewhat concerned that Finland’s energy production from forest biomass will be taken by some as the main message; that is not without controversy* and I hope we tread carefully as we explore those paths, especially on Nova Scotia’s most nutrient- and acid-stressed landscapes.

*View Choosing the right path – EU’s Energy Future Needs Strong Safeguards for Biomass by Hanna Aho, in ReVolve May 16, 2017 and Finland’s plan to increase logging is a danger to the climate in Climate Change News, July 10, 2017, by the same author.

ADDENDUM, Aug 14, 2017.
A piece in the CH on Aug 14, provides more summary of the report; view Finnish forestry tour reveals Nova Scotia’s untapped potential.

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