Comments on NOVA SCOTIA OLD GROWTH FOREST POLICY (NSOGFP)
Submission by Tom Rogers to : email@example.com
Due by December 8, 2021
1. LEADERSHIP -- You currently have many things working for you as you develop the Old Growth Policy
- an independent group has scored Nova Scotia as the second best province in Nova Scotia for conservation efforts
- Nova Scotia has committed
- there is a big push from the Federal Government to increase our conservation lands
- independent groups such as the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust as aggressively expanding their holdings
- Indigenous people across the country are stepping up
- a once in a hundred year pandemic has resulted in more Nova Scotians using forested areas
- the Leahy Report provides a framework, and its largely supported
Now is the time to forge a visionary policy. Think big. Believe you can do it. Act.
2. DEFINITION OF 'OLD GROWTH'
- a lot has been written about groups trying to define what is/isn't "Old Growth"
- if the goal is long term conservation, does it really matter if something is "Old Growth" or a "Mature Forest"? Eventually the Mature Forest will become "Old Growth"
- I would suggest the general public does not distinguish between "Old Growth" and "Mature" forests (see #3)
Give yourself room to deal with the spectrum of forests that are part of your conservation lands.
3. AUDIENCE -- who is the Old Growth Policy for? (and perhaps more importantly, who should it be for?)
- the stakeholders you consulted all tend to be larger groups and are well represented by industry
- from my experience, forestry people tend to at best acknowledge that 'old growth' is significant because it has made it to an old growth stage and at the worst see it as wasted opportunity
- I would suggest a large (largest?) audience is the general public who use the forest every day
- the current version of the NSOGFP is difficult to understand for a person not familiar with forestry
a. The policy should have a version understandable by the general public
b. Get the word out ... tell everyone involved with forest about the NSOGFP (Woodland Conferences, Woodlot Owner of the Year, presentations at the AGMs of the Stakeholders, articles in Atlantic Forestry, etc.)
4. PROTECTION -- from invasive species
- hemlock currently are an important part of our old growth forests
- the hemlock woolly adelgid is slaughtering them
- it is rapidly moving eastward across the province
- without hemlock, our Old Growth forests are very different
a. Immediate action is required
b. Show leadership. Tell (and show) Private woodlot owners how you will deal with HWA on Public Lands. Be specific. Take action.
5. PROTECTION - from people
- my wife and I have been driving many sketchy dirt roads in SW Nova Scotia over the last three years
- so many clearcuts
- what's growing back is not high value Red Spruce forests
- all those forests you are rolling into Protected Places ... at some point there will be pressure to remove them from conservation for development or forestry. Intense pressure.
Hire the best lawyer you can afford so the final NSOGFP makes it very difficult to allow development of Old Growth Forests
- with over 60% of Nova Scotia's forested land owned by private individuals, there has to be some overlap with public land policy
- private lands will likely be part of future candidates for Protected Places
- I don't think it is unfair to say some (many?) private woodlot owners question government policy
Be consistent, set the bar high and stay above it. And be patient, this is going to take a while