Environment featured

WestFor’s claims about clearcuts in mainland moose habitat are disingenuous

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On CBC’s Information Morning  on February 11th, Marcus Zwicker, General Manager of WestFor, told us how dedicated this consortium of sawmills is to the kind of forestry that will encourage the growth of multi-aged, multi-species forests. He also told us all about how careful they are to ensure the endangered mainland moose get what they need in the way of habitat.

He discussed the video WestFor has put out about “how forestry can work in harmony with moose management.” This video, he said, was made in a Shelterwood harvest that was underway near Napier Lake, close to where the protestors were.

That must be block DI1068548B since that’s the only Shelterwood harvest proposed for the area on the Province’s Harvest Plan Map Viewer. It looks very nice in the video. Just the sort of ecological forestry we are all looking for. What Marcus Zwicker didn’t mention is that this is a Uniform Shelterwood prescription which is essentially a two stage clearcut. Right now it looks as if they have left lots of mature trees standing but in 4-6 years they will be back for stage 2, the one where they cut all those trees down, leaving yet another even-aged forest in waiting.

Also, they must have been careful not to allow the camera to stray in the direction of the adjoining harvest area, DI099967A. That’s the one you can see in these two photographs, one from the air, one from the ground. 120 acres of clearcut, sorry, Variable Retention 30%, with a moose clump in the middle. Portia Clark tried to ask about that aerial photograph and the moose clump but Marcus Zwicker couldn’t comment.

“WestFor was established in 2016 by the Provincial Government to increase the efficiency of forest management on Crown Land in Nova Scotia.” So says their website. Since that time, for the area of Crown land the blockades were protecting, WestFor has proposed 1318 ha of cuts, 91% of which would result in even age forests. That’s 2,960 acres of clearcuts in what is listed as a ‘Moose Concentration Area.’ But of course they do leave those moose clumps so that’s okay.

These Moose Clumps, like WestFor’s video, have a through the looking glass quality: what moose need are large swathes of forest with an occasional small clearing. What they are getting is a scatter of tree clusters in a vast clearing.

What we need as a province and a planet is just what Marcus Zwicker described, multi-aged, multi-species forests. Such forests are capable of supporting whole ecosystems, including the mainland moose.  What we are getting is the exact opposite.

See also: Notes from court #2: Illusion of consent

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