Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia concerned about recent report
The Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia (FPANS) is very concerned about a report released yesterday by Global Forest Watch Canada. The Association is more concerned that the report will generate misinformation for the public, rather than helping to answer any questions about the future of the forests in our province.
“While studying the report, we are finding it to be quite misleading,” comments Steve Talbot, Executive Director of FPANS. “And that’s already happening, with people viewing the topic of this report as clearcutting – and this report is not on clearcutting, it’s a report on man-made changes to resource land.” FPANS does not dispute that harvesting is a part of the ‘change’ measured in the report, but it certainly is not the only cause of change.
The report refers to measuring a 12% ‘change’ in the forest land of Nova Scotia over a 17 year period, but does not make clear what these ‘changes’ are. FPANS is concerned that the report leads a reader to believe the ‘change’ that is measured is based solely on the harvesting of trees. There is no mention of the measure of deforestation (i.e., land that is developed and will never return to forest land, for example a parking lot) or of forest land that is currently re-growing after harvesting and how either of those situations are measured.
It is interesting to note that if this 12% change was due only to forest management activity, this would be similar to managing our forests on a 126 year rotation. For example, if a person cut trees in their wood lot at the rate given in the report, it would take the land owner 150 years before they would have to return to the area cut in the first year – promoting a sustainable, uneven aged forest in Nova Scotia.
The report does clarify one measure of change – the effects of Hurricane Juan on our forests. Because a great number of sites across the province were cleaned by harvesting crews after that devastating storm in 2003, the report considers this a man-made change to the forests. The report actually cites Halifax’s Point Pleasant Park as an example of this unique measure. Talbot’s comments to that were, “I don’t see how any person in Nova Scotia caused that hurricane damage, nor was it a responsible act to leave the forests in the mess they were, so to include it in this report just makes no sense.”
FPANS is also concerned how some data has clearly been left out of this report. The report uses data from a 1912 report by B.E.Fernow and a 2008 State of the Forests report by the NS Department of Natural Resources, showing that agricultural use of land in Nova Scotia has declined substantially from the turn of the last century. What is missing from the Global Forest Watch report is that comparing the forest land base in 1912 and 2008 reports would show that there is more forested land today in Nova Scotia then there was in the 1912 report.
“It will come as no great shock that we are not supporting this report. We can’t support it, as we feel this report is of no help to Nova Scotians with respect to discussions about our forests,” says Talbot. “It provides no direction, and I’m a little surprised the folks from Canada Parks and Wilderness would be a part of this report.”
The Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia (FPANS) is the largest organization of forest interests in the province. Since 1934, the association has served as “the voice” of the forest industry. The association, through a volunteer Board of Directors and numerous technical committees, cooperates with industry, federal, provincial and municipal governments and other interested stakeholders to ensure that forest management and stewardship policies are adhered to.
Source: Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia Press Release