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Members of Minister’s Forestry Advisory Committee request clearcut moratorium

Moose country in Digby County. Photo Facebook/Annapolis Royal & Area – Environment & Ecology

KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Seven of the 14 members of the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Forestry (MAC) last year wrote to the Minister of Lands and Forestry to request a moratorium on clearcutting on crown land, according to a Freedom of Information request received by the provincial NDP Caucus. 

The MAC was formed in October 2019 to advise the minister on the policies and priorities related to implementing the model recommended in Prof. Lahey’s independent review of forestry practices. The Lahey report itself was published in August 2018.

“At the MAC meeting on 19 Oct. 2020, Marcus Zwicker reported that mills in Southwest Nova Scotia currently have five years of harvest plan approvals in place. This means the practices that Lahey rejected will remain the dominant treatments on forested Crown lands for many years after Government accepted the recommendations of the Independent Review of Forest Practices in Nova Scotia. This arguably represents a de-facto rejection of Lahey’s findings,” the letter states.  

“It is long past time for Government to take significant action to transform forest policy and management in Nova Scotia. The Premier, Minister and Department of Lands and Forestry did not accept the Lahey review with the caveat that the remaining Crown forests be liquidated before its recommendations were implemented,” the letter continues.

The signatories represent the Ecology Action Centre, but also academia, the Mi’kmaw Conservation Group & Confederacy of Mainland Mi’kmaq, and group such as the Medway Community Forest Co-op, the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association, and North Nova Forest Owners Co-op Ltd. 

The Freedom of Information request was submitted by the provincial NDP, which in October of last year also came out in favour of a moratorium on even-aged harvesting.

See also: NDP calls for province-wide moratorium on clearcutting

“The forestry file is quite complex, and I do my best to understand things, but I am not expert. So seeing this letter from people, some of whom work in the forestry industry, and who are deeply committed to an evolution towards ecological forestry practiced over most of the landscape, for me it’s validation of our call for a moratorium on even-aged harvesting on crown land in October of last year,” Lisa Roberts tells the Nova Scotia Advocate.

“The Lahey report has to be taken as a whole package, you can’t cherry pick the recommendations. I really want to see Premier Rankin and Minister Mombourquette  actually make the difficult decisions that leadership requires,” Roberts says.

Read the committee’s letter here.

See also: “Log the best and leave the rest” – A conversation with David Patriquin about the state of our forests

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