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Clearcutting Article In Chronicle Herald


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#1 ib_redbeard

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 01:37 PM

I didn't exactly where to put this, but is about doing forestry different, can conserving thousands of acres of woodsland, so..... :)
If it needs to be moved, please feel free to do so.

I also would like to know people thoughts on this. It sounds good, but then again I am not a woodlot owner.

Minister warns woodlot owners

New management plans should rein in clearcutting, MacDonell says

By MARY ELLEN MacINTYRE Truro Bureau

TRURO — Nova Scotia’s new natural resources strategy is not carved in stone, but the natural resources minister warned a gathering of woodlot owners here Saturday that things are definitely going to change.

John MacDonell appeared to be aware some of the 100 members at the annual meeting of the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners were not feeling positive toward an interim report delivered in May.

Proposed enforced management plans on woodlots and perceived interference by government weren’t sitting well with participants.

"One thing I do want to make clear — the status quo isn’t good enough, so if anybody’s thinking we’re backpedalling on the strategy, we’re not. We’re going to try to find the kind of common sense part of this, but there’s going to have to be some changes," said MacDonell.

"I see this specifically in clearcutting. There’s too much of it, and with all respect to the technicians and everybody, we harvest about 100,000 acres a year, and damn near all of it is clearcutting.

"There’s not enough people in this room to convince me that that’s appropriate for 100,000 acres."

MacDonell stressed the importance of a provincial strategy that would consider the health of waterways, wildlife and forestry in the future.

"Some tend to think there are woodlot owners, and then there’s the rest of Nova Scotia and politicians. But we’re all in this together, and there’s lots of woodlot owners who’ve not been too impressed with forestry practices in this province for a long time," he said.

Practices like whole tree harvesting, which consumes all parts of a tree, including limbs, tops and even twigs, will not have a place in this province, MacDonell said.

"Whole tree harvesting is a dead duck," he said.

"My God, after this much time in the 21st century, you’re going to tell me that this is what we’ve come to — we’re going to take the tops and the limbs and whatever is left of a tree."

Not likely, he said.

"Your land is your land, and I’m not trying to throw a monkey wrench into what you would like to do, but there are things that we’re going to say, ‘If you want to do this, you are going to do it this way.’ "

MacDonell said some are hoping the report, titled A Natural Balance, gets shelved.

"Well, not while I’m drawing a breath," he said.

One man in the audience told MacDonell it’s all well and good to put policies in place to help protect the environment, but woodlot owners will take the hit financially.

"We recognize that there’s a lot of intelligence, a lot of knowledge and commitment by people in the industry, and woodlot owners are the owners," MacDonell said.

"So we don’t want to do things that impact above and beyond. But we are going to impact what you do on your land, and if I told you something different then I’d be a liar."

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#2 nexgen

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 03:45 PM

It's all well and good that the gov't is going to stop clearcutting and conserve the forests for wildlife etc etc, however, it's not the gov't that is paying for it, it's the woodlot owners.

Now I'm no fan of all-out clearcutting, but it does have a place in the silviculture world. Some stands just can't have a different treatment carried out on them for a multitude of reasons.

Silviculture funding, from what I understand, is basically no more because of the depressed lumber markets. So woodlot owners have to pay for this stuff themselves.

Not sure what the answer is, but it's kind of disturbing to me that the gov't is willing to force private owners to do certain things that could hurt financially.

Too much more talk of this and we'll see a rash of clear cuts so people get it done before the new rules come down the pipe.
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#3 just_me1962

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 08:53 PM

clearcutting has a place in some circumstances.I clearcut 7 acees because it was all dead but the rest of my stuff will be cut selectively. As for silviculture the government should never have funded silviculture. private land owners should have enough sense to manage their own resources.if private owners had to manage their own lands I suspect you would see more value added forestry practices and likely better wildlif habitat.
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#4 Trapper Gary

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:35 PM

The money for the silvicultural has noting to do with the government. It all comes from the private mills who must do silvicultural based on the amount of wood they buy .So if there is no buying of wood, there is no silvicultural money.
I dont know if they know it, but there is supposed to be a court case in 1958 where the owner was charged for clear cutting under the small tree act. It was thrown out because the department could not prove that there would be any more wood at the end of 80 years rotation, then if it was clear cut. That will be interesting to see how that works out.
Then there are the tax issues with revenue Canada. You can leave your wood lot to your son or daughter, and the capital gains is deferred onto them. But if you give your woodlot to some one else, your estate has to settle the taxes you owe. So if your a broke pensioner who never set enough a side to pay the taxes for the person you want to give it to, then that will leave two options if the new owner does not have enough either to pay the taxes to keep the land. Since the land can not be cut to sell the wood, the wood lot will go for sale Most locals do not have enough to buy the land, so that leaves only non Canada ownership, or it gets sold to a local pulp mill or saw mill. Either way the land is gone.
On the positive side when I worked in Germany 15 years ago building wooden houses, people drove for up to 1000 km away to come and watch us build a wood house, as it was a novelty to see one. At that time 2x4 over there was selling for just over $10.00 each. So if your going to build a shed or camp, you better get it done this year.
Since most of the chater has come from non owners about the cutting owners, this might also be a good time to make every one take a course, and then buy a habitat stamp if they do not own the land or work there, before they can enter a forested area. This would put close to $1 000 000 in to the fund each year, the fund could be expanded to include silvicultural funding directed through the local forestry co-ops run by the wood lot owners.
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#5 Trapper Gary

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Posted 06 June 2010 - 10:46 PM

I think the minister means what he says, and he seems to have a way to get things done. I read most of the stragety reports, which is where the info came from I think. This government often spoke before becoming elected that they wanted someting done about the harvesting practices, and the reports give the tools to do this.
It also said in the reports that trapping and hunting where important. that was a good thing as far as I am concerned.
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#6 Bob LeBlanc

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 07:00 AM

Leave it to a politician to put the 'moron' in 'oxymoron'...

Didn't they just approve Newpage's biomass harvesting?
Isn't 'biomass' nothing other than the clearcutting of non-traditional forest industry tree species to be burnt for power generation?

'Do as we say...not as we do.'

Newpage , alone, is going from 250,000 tonnes per year, to 650,000 tonnes...a 2 1/2 times increase...and it's ALL going to be clearcutting! (and WITH government approval)

MacDonell's tongue is so forked he could lick the wax out of his ears...both at the same time!

Bob
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#7 nexgen

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Posted 07 June 2010 - 02:19 PM

Very true Bob, the NDP was a leading critic of the forest industry when they were in the opposition, but now they can approve a monsterous project like the biomass plant.

As for the government not being involved with silviculture, I agree and like CT said, they weren't involved in our current program other than overseeing it to make sure the mills were paying in appropriately and that the work was being done and done properly. The mills were responsible for setting aside approximately $6 per cord that they purchased to put back into silviculture. With the depressed markets mills have shut their doors or reduced purchasing so not as much money going back in. Also they were allowed to stockpile credits for silviculture work done in years past if they exceeded their annual obligations and so they have enough to "float" for a bit without doing too much work.

I've said all along that the forest industry would change it's practices in a heartbeat if the consumer demand was there.

A 2x4 from a woodlot incorporating selection management has additional costs associated with. If it is certified as "green" lumber than that means the owner had a management plan (up 2500 bucks), a properly trained/experienced contractor and an auditor/inspector to ensure that the harvest meets the requirements laid out in the management plan and meets the standards for the certification scheme.

All of this adds up to extra cost to the landowner, but when you, as a consumer, are faced with paying 2.99 for a stud that has unknown origins or 3.49 for a stud that has a certified stamp on it. Chances are you'll pick the cheap one, guess what, you just set forest policy for Nova Scotia.
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#8 Hawkeye

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 09:43 AM

Excellent post NexGen...many folks screaming for changes to forest harvesting don't seem to realize the costs associated with the "Better" harvesting options.

One clarification I'd like to make is that with NewPage's biomass project, it isn't a 2.5 times increase. NewPage currently process around a 1,000,000 tonnes of roundwood a year in their paper process, not 250,000. Also, of the 650,000 tonnes of biomass required, 250,000 of that would be mill residues already available.

One last thing to consider is that even with the additional 400,000 tonnes of roundwood required (yes roundwood...no limbs, tops or stumps will be permitted) that puts the roundwood harvest for NewPage to about what it was twenty years ago.

Not saying it great or anything...you can make up your own minds on that...just clarifying some numbers. 8^)
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#9 upland

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 10:38 AM

It seems at time everything gets in the way of a private woodlot owner. One example that sticks in my craw is that now because of a change in municipal law/ building code the mill I purchased to add value to my harvest is now sitting idle as is three others in my community because we cannot sell our milled lumber without a stamp. This mill has sawed the lumber for two houses and a lodge in Labrador, not counting small purchases. When asked why, the response I got was to prevent cull wood being used in structures. Hell, if I wanted to use cull lumber I would go to Kent, Home Depot, Home Hardwear and pick it up, and yes it would be stamped. End of rant!! lol
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#10 Bob LeBlanc

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 02:38 PM

Sorry if I had the numbers wrong, hawkeye...they were the numbers that the Newpage media rep gave to us during her presentation at the NSFAH AGM.

Bob :)
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#11 Hawkeye

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 03:12 PM

Well I guess she got her facts mixed up too. They produce approximately 550,000 tonne of paper per year. Can't do that with 250,000 tonne of wood...

I've seen that 250,000 tonne consumption number before from other sources...like EAC. I think there is some mix up as that's approximately what they source from Crown. But a million tonne is about what they consume...
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#12 laurie

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 05:47 PM

Bob, excellant point about the MacDonnell and biomass harvesting.

About the intial newspaper article, i'm a little confused are they seeking a large scale reduction in clearcutting, end to it all together (replace it wil selective cutting) or what? I used to have a pretty low opinion of it myself (bought into too many environmentalist arguements maybe). However me personally i think if they want to really want to help the environment they should prehaps focus on things like larger riparian buffers, better weland protection, maintaining cavities for critters that like them ect.. I mean you definitly don't want the whole forest clearcut or anything like that (its valuable for food, shelter ect.), even animals that like the younger forest need some shelter. i personally don't think we need to ban clearcutting or phase it out or anything like that.Quite a few animals actually benefit from forestry. Deer, mooose, hares and other browsing mammals ect. like the leafy hebaceaius plant growth which springs up afterwards. Provides open hunting areas for things like redtailed hawks, harriers ect.Berries and nuts in regenerating clearcuts for rodents, sparrows ect.To name a few examples. Many animals which like the older forests like the tree cavities in them so maintaining these or nest boxes ect. can keep them happy.One thing about banning clearcutting is you would be replacing it with selective harvesting which isn't without its problems (can lead to size reduction, genetic downgrading ect. as the bigger individuals with the more desirable traits are removed, there was an article about this happening with whitefish in an alberta lake a while back ). Anyway i'm largely an outside observer when it comes to this stuff but i think wildlife needs a kind of balance of all forest types young,secondary growth, old ect.We probably could and should reduce clearcutting a little bit.You also though definitly have to keep a mind on the landowner whos income will be affected, you don't want to make it impossible for them to earn money from their property.When it comes to biomass harvesting, that just seems like kind of a bad idea to me, removing everything and leaving virtually nothing to return to the soil and keep int enriched. But anyway like i said i am largely an outside observer when it comes to this kind of thing.
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#13 ib_redbeard

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:04 PM

I don't believe that there is a place for the scale of clear cutting we see in NS today and it should be limited or stopped altogether. Yes, some animals benefit from it, but they will survive just like they did before we started raping the land. And maybe I am one of the minority but I would gladly pay $.50 more for a 2x4 if it was certified that it was green. But then again, I think that all paper made from trees should be banned (eventually)as the hemp plant can do it much faster and just as good with less impact on the environment.

Question though, do many people (and I don't mean large companies) still actually make a living off of cutting their land? I mean JUST cutting their land, not supplementing because they are a teacher, janitor, etc. Would eliminating some of these practices really drive people to the poor house?
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#14 nexgen

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:30 PM

ib, there are landowners with a significant chunk of land that they make a large portion of their income off of. Also many people use it as a retirement income or an investment property to make use of down the road.

I have a big problem with the gov't cutting out options for landowners. Clearcuts ARE a part of normal forest management, just not on the scale and scope that is occurring now.

Clearcuts do provide habitat and feed for wildlife but those same conditions could be met with a selection harvest system.

Terminoligy is important here. Someone mentioned taking the biggest and the best and the genetic degradation of the forest over time because poor trees are left for seed stock. This is called high-grading and/or SELECTIVE harvesting.

SELECTION harvesting is removing mature and poorer quality trees with an eye toward quality future growth and better species compositions. Young, healthy trees of the better long term species are left and tended over the years. Generally this type of system would maintain a continuous tree cover on the lot, ideally with a number of different age classes.

The trouble is that most folks that own woodlots don't have an intimate knowledge of forest management and I've seen it time and again where someone was going to do a partial harvest, took the good, left the trash and pulled out. Contractors need more skill/experience/training to carry out selection management and have it succeed and woodlot owners need to know the questions to ask and what to look for on the ground to see that it's carried out properly.

gotta run a kid through the shower, but I've got more in my head for later.
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#15 ib_redbeard

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:44 PM

Thanks for the reply nexgen, I was worried someone would think I was being rude where I am simply a city slicker that doesn;t know many people with more then a couple of acres.

I always thought the nest egg that land provided was simply selling it off completely, not cutting it. I never really gave that much thought.
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#16 nexgen

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 06:57 PM

Upland, that's very true about the building codes and the small independant sawyer. I was told that the very last product that could be made out Hurricane Juan wood, even following hog fuel, was pressure treated lumber. Rotten on the outside, but good enough in the heartwood.

ib,

back to the income of off their land thingy, I buy a piece of land and I pay the taxes on it, I maintain my boundaries, have a management plan (either formal or an outline), I hire out or carry out work myself, build roads etc. I am expected to maintain wildlife habitat, watercourse integrity and now wetland integrity, certainly all of which benefit me as a woodlot owner, but do remove sections of land from active management and therefore economic benefits. At the same time I am providing other people that don't own land a spot for recreation, be it hunting, fishing, trapping, bird watching or whatever. So everyone else gets the benefits for free, while I foot the bill. Now the government is taking another tool out of my toolbox that I can't use, telling me that I must have a management plan drawn up which generally must be done by a forestry professional and isn't free. Might be easier to just flatten it and take my cheque before the new regs came in.

This plan is scary in the same way that I heard industry reps speaking at the voluntary planning commission meeting about making it compulsory for landowners to allow harvesting on their land whether they want it or not to ensure there is a steady wood supply for the provinces' industry.
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#17 nexgen

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 07:01 PM

No problem ib, I've worked for folks that had a definite plan in mind and wanted a certain amount of income over x number of years, or to start now so that they have quality timber to sell in 15, 20 years.

How do you like YK, my sister-in-law is there and loves it, my cousin and her boyfriend just moved up a few weeks ago.
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#18 Hawkeye

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Posted 08 June 2010 - 08:49 PM

But then again, I think that all paper made from trees should be banned (eventually)as the hemp plant can do it much faster and just as good with less impact on the environment.

Can't agree with you there. Trees are renewable and forest are much more natural than plantations of hemp. Convert forest into plantations of hemp for paper...that makes no sense.
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#19 ib_redbeard

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 12:43 AM

Hemp grows back in a season and with crop rotation you could get more paper per square acre then you ever could with trees over a certain period (like when the trees grow back and are ready to cut again). You would have less clearcutting and more forest IMHO.
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#20 Hawkeye

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Posted 09 June 2010 - 11:17 AM

Hemp grows back in a season and with crop rotation you could get more paper per square acre then you ever could with trees over a certain period (like when the trees grow back and are ready to cut again). You would have less clearcutting and more forest IMHO.


Regardless of how well hemp grows (and there's quite a few hobby growers around :rolleyes: ), the public today do not even like plantations of trees, let alone hemp. We don't have the available agricultural area to produce the require volume of hemp to supply our industry...not even close. A natural forest with some haresting is better than a plantation of a non-native plant.

You will see less clearcutting in the future...you read the minister's comment's right?
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