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Nova Scotia report to examine clear cutting and other forestry practices – CP

by ahnationtalk on August 21, 201819 Views

Source: The Canadian Press
Aug 21, 2018 

HALIFAX _ A long-anticipated independent review of Nova Scotia’s forestry practices is to be released today in Halifax.

University of King’s College president Bill Lahey had been given a broad mandate for the review _ including the ability to examine clear cutting.

About 90 per cent of wood harvested in Nova Scotia is clear cut, according to federal figures.

The controversial practice drew public attention in 2016 when the Liberal government said it was backing away from a previously stated goal of reducing the practice on Crown land by 50 per cent.

The province has said the review is to provide recommendations that balance long-term environmental, social and economic interests in managing the forests.

The review was first promised prior to the 2017 provincial election and became a key part of the Liberals’ environmental platform.

Announced last Aug. 30, Lahey’s review was originally due in February, but extensions were granted in order to complete the report and then to have it reviewed by advisors in international law and forestry economics.

Reducing the amount of land that is clear cut was a goal stated in province’s 10-year natural resources strategy, released in 2011.

However, the industry has indicated its reluctance to accept the setting of targets for various harvesting methods.

In an appearance before the legislature’s resources committee in May, forest industry officials defended clear cutting in particular, saying there are misconceptions about the practice.

Jeff Bishop, the executive director of Forest Nova Scotia, said forestry is more complex than boiling things down to discussions about whether clear cutting is a good or bad practice.

Bishop also said concerns have to be balanced between market demands and the best approaches to harvesting in various areas of forest whether they be on Crown or private lands.

Marcus Zwicker, general manager of Westfor Management Inc., told the committee that decisions regarding clear cutting are based on assessments of individual tree stands. He said considerations include such things as soil, vegetation, and the quality and abundance of certain tree species.

But Zwicker, whose company is owned by a group of 13 mills from across western Nova Scotia, said cost is also a factor. He said clear cutting can be up to 30 per cent cheaper than certain selective cuts.

Raymond Plourde of the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre has said that cost is the “primary reason” for clear cutting.

Plourde called clear cutting the “cheapest way to get the most amount of wood into the mill doors at the lowest possible price.”

He has called for the province to get back to a strong target such as the one abandoned in 2016.

INDEX: FORESTRY NATIONAL ENVIRONMENT BUSINESS ATLANTIC POLITICS

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