A few things we are waiting on

‘just wondering

In early March, NSDNR’s Bruce Stewart said they were investigating the Old Forest status of stands being cut in the Loon Lake area that Danny George contended were Old Growth, but we have heard nothing further.

Post modified on 11 May 2018

Besides the Report from the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia which we can expect any day now, there are a few items from NSDNR that we might have expected to hear about earlier:

– The Senior forester sought by Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, for which the closing date was 11/30/2017. The not-easy-to-find Forestry Staff Directory currently lists the position as “vacant”. Are they holding any announcement until after the report from the Independent Review is in because it’s another “Company Man“?  Or did they decide to wait on the Report from the Independent Review before filling the position to leave open the possibility of hiring someone more appropriate if the department is told to lessen the influence of big industry?  Or…?

– Some report from NSDNR on their assessment of the Rocky Lake site and others in the Loon Lake area which they presumably conducted in late Feb/early March:

Our planning systems before we started assessing those stands didn’t indicate there was any old growth forest in that area.. after this story came to light, we sent our old forest specialist down to that area with the regional forester and there are certainly mature forests and large trees in that area, so we are going to go down, use our old forest scoring system which we use to evaluate the qualities of Old Growth forests and do an assessment of all of those stands and determine but at this point we don’t have any indication that is in fact old growth. – Bruce Stewart (NSDNR Manager of Forest Research and Planning) in conversation with CBC’s Norma Lee McLeod Mar 2, 2018 on Information Morning (View Post of Mar 4, 2018)

I guess they never formally promised to make a public report on their findings but it was kind of implicit that there would be one.

– What sorts of Interim Agreements or Extensions are being made with WestFor after the 6 month extension made in the fall which I think has ended.

It sure would be nice to see more communication from NSDNR Forestry e.g., in the form of an annual report with info on continuing and new projects, personnel profiles of staff, and perhaps a “What’s new at NSDNR” webpage.

I am also waiting for replies to requests I sent to PHP and NSPI for information on the composition of feedstocks for the NSPI biomass boiler at Port Hawkesbury. My initial request went to the person I thought would know for sure, Mr. Jason Hollet,  Executive Director of Climate Change at Nova Scotia Environment. Remarkably, at least to me, the person who told Peter Ritchie “With respect to emissions from the combustion of biomass, Nova Scotia follows nationally and internationally accepted accounting standards for GHG emissions measurement as well as for the classification of biomass as a renewable energy source” couldn’t tell me.* (He suggested I contact NSPI directly.) I suppose someone at NSDNR is keeping track of such things, but who? NSDNR was, perhaps still is, looking for a carbon modeller who would need such information (view Post, Mar 25, 2018). I guess this sort of information is just too subject to misinterpretation (e.g. it might indicate we are not adhering to the “nationally and internationally accepted accounting standards” cited by Mr. Hollet) to be released to just anybody.
*Mr. Hollet did, however, respond with full details to a separate request for the references (names of documents etc) for the “nationally and internationally accepted accounting standards for GHG emissions measurement as well as for the classification of biomass as a renewable energy source”. It’s probably a reflection on those international standards rather than on Mr. Hollet, that the composition of biomass feedstocks is apparently not needed to confirm (or not) that Nova Scotia is meeting the standards. There is a lot of room for interpretation in the standards which the forest industry and government agencies supporting the forest industry use to ‘have it both ways’, i.e. cut and burn and claim to meet GHG emission standards. So this particular issue (misrepresentation of GHGs generated by forest biomass energy schemes) is not restricted to Nova Scotia. It’s just nice to think we could do better.

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