Environment featured

Clearcutting in Nova Scotia on the increase?

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – in 2011 the NDP government committed to reduce clearcutting over five years to no more than 50 per cent of all harvests.


Critics were skeptical at the time, arguing that the definition of a clearcut used by the government does not reflect sound forest management practices, nor common sense.

Regardless, in May 2015 then Natural Resources minister Zach Churchill publicly reiterated the government’s commitment to that target.

A year later the new natural resources minister Lloyd Hines said that target is no longer in play.

Today we found out that if anything we may be moving in the wrong direction.

During question period today Sterling Belliveau, NDP House leader, mentioned that through a Freedom of Information submission he has learned that 64 percent of harvests on crown land were clearcuts in 2013. In 2014 the figure had increased to 71 percent.

“Of course the honourable member will understand that there are individual variations on the road to success that occur on an annual basis and our objective remains unchanged,” said Hines.

Not everybody is convinced.

“The figures speak for themselves. So does the fact that an MLA had to go through a Freedom of Information (FOIPOP) request to get statistics that should be readily available to everyone,” writes David Patriquin in a post about Belliveau’s questions for his blog Nova Scotia Forest Notes.

The province also no longer plans to ban whole-tree harvesting or implement a province-wide annual allowable cut.

If you can, please support the Nova Scotia Advocate so that it can continue to cover issues such as poverty, racism, exclusion, workers’ rights and the environment in Nova Scotia.