Letter: Nova Scotia forest management is an abysmal shame
Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 March 2019 14:45
I heard Rankin MacDonald’s report on county council on the CBC. He mentioned that our county council has decided to enter the debate over Northern Pulp. In this David and Goliath struggle, Inverness County Council entered the fray, to support Goliath.
My guess is that this was done without any review of the science showing carcinogens in the mill’s air pollution, or even a sniff test around Boat Harbour. According to Rankin the support for an extension of the mill’s operation was based entirely on the jobs of some county residents in the mechanized destruction of the mainland forests.
Nova Scotia forest management is an abysmal sham. Never in the province’s history have fewer people destroyed the value of the resource, reducing employment opportunities for the future, while destroying wilderness that is irreplaceable, than today. Regardless of who is elected, forest policy remains firmly committed to supplying the industry with fibre, regardless of the ecological and economic costs.
It is hard to imagine, but less than 100 years ago Nova Scoria was in its heyday of schooner construction. By the time Nova Scotia was courting pulp and paper, the saw log industry was in decline, and some forward looking politicians wrote The Small Tree Act, to protect the destruction of immature trees during harvest operations, but this act was unpopular with the pulp industry and it was withdrawn, replaced with the ambitious Forest Improvement Act, which was also unpopular with industry, so never proclaimed, leaving no legislation to stand between the greed of industry and the forest.
We have the Irvings and University of New Brunswick’s School of Forestry to thank for this. UNB graduates go to work for Canadian Forest Service, provincial governments and industry. With a rotating door, forestry officials move between government and industry, is it any wonder that forest policy doesn’t change with government? Is it any wonder that regardless of whether we elect Liberals, Progressive Conservatives, or New Democrats, we get the same bad forest policies? The same support for industry and contempt for public concerns? The same herbicides? The same contempt for ecology? Is it any wonder that the Department of Lands and Forestry treat industry as the client and the owners as interlopers?
I, long ago, gave up any hope that the situation could change, but the closure of Northern Pulp would certainly be a step in the right direction. The decline in the value of the forest for both environment and economy is clear as a bell. The forests that once provided homes, barns, and ships, then pit timbers of pulp, now pulp, chips, and biomass, is obviously the antithesis of sustainable, every generation producing lower valued products. Forests whose harvest took many men many months is now done by a machine in weeks. Doing far more collateral damage, providing fewer jobs today and ensuring even fewer forest jobs in the future, it is really a heartbreaking waste of natures capital, a flat out race to the bottom.
Margaree Harbour, N.S.