May 12th, 2010
The Ecology Action Centre applauds several of the forestry recommendations put forward by the Natural Resources Policy Review Steering Panel last week, and is urging the Province to act on them. The panel, headed by retired Justice Constance Glube, is calling for clearcutting regulations, mandatory management plans to guide all forestry operations, and a ban on whole-tree harvesting. They stated their recommendations stem from the advice of forestry experts and the public’s “resounding call for change” in how Nova Scotia manages its natural resources. EAC agrees with the panel that the new direction will help restore healthy forests, and a healthy, more diversified forest economy.
While the panel raised several cautions over forest harvesting for biomass, the Centre is disappointed that they fell short of recommending against a massive biomass energy plant proposed for the NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill.
“Several of the panel’s recommendations clearly articulate the changes required to ensure we conserve our natural heritage for the future, and manage our working forest for its high ecological, social and economic value,” says Jamie Simpson, forester with the Ecology Action Centre. “This is a watershed moment for Nova Scotia; it’s a chance for fundamental improvement.”
“The recommendations are constructive and forward-thinking. They clearly reflect the changes people called for during Voluntary Planning’s public consultations,” continues Simpson. “As well they will be a boon to the more progressive forestry companies and better contractors who already practice sensible forestry; these recommendations will help level the playing field for them.”
“Clearcutting remains extremely unpopular and the science doesn’t support its widespread use. Successive governments have waffled for years on doing anything about it. This government now has both a duty and an historic opportunity to put our forests and forest industry on a sane course,” says Kermit deGooyer, the Centre’s land conservation coordinator. “People will be expecting them to follow through.”
“It’s a good day for Nova Scotia’s wildlife, for our moose, our trout, our song birds,” says Raymond Plourde, wilderness coordinator with the Centre. “Government now has the opportunity to shift the focus away from intensive industrial use of our forests, and place more emphasis on wildlife habitat and growing healthy, valuable forests.”
The Centre lauds the government for releasing these reports directly to the public.