About Us

We are a group of  citizens of settler lineage concerned about the state of the forests which cover 75% of the Province of Nova Scotia.

We have been frustrated by the general lack, today, of opportunities to carry on constructive debate amongst parties with varying perspectives on the state of our forests and to engage the public in the process. That’s related in part to an overall decline in the quality and availability of regional newspapers, once the place where such matters were raised by citizens and investigative journalists, and discussed with editors ensuring some level of honesty and civility.

Now such discussion occurs mostly on social media but in a highly fragmented form and most often in “echo chambers”.  At the same time our provincial government, which administers most of the public (Crown) lands in Nova Scotia and regulates the management of private lands, has become ever more aloof & largely inaccessible, at least to those who question their administration of forested lands.

The Lahey Review of Forest Practices (2017-2018)1 and the earlier review of forestry practices under the Natural Resources Strategy  (2008-2010)2 arose in response to broad citizen concern about the state of our forests.

Recommendations came out of both processes that addressed these concerns in part or in whole. Essentially, only the recommendations that were acceptable to Big Forestry survived the Natural Resources Strategy.  Massive clearcutting of our forests continued with ever increasing impact and citizens once again organized to raise alarm bells.

Who knows what forces caused the beautiful contortions of this now old red maple?  It seems to express both the beauty and anguish of our natural world – including Homo sapiens – in 2024

Then we had the Lahey Review; completed in 2018, it is still in the process of being fully implemented. Unfortunately, it seems, once again, that only the recommendations that are acceptable to Big Forestry are surviving the process. We are concerned most fundamentally, that Lahey’s overarching recommendation is not being heeded.

“In other words, I have concluded that protecting ecosystems and biodiversity should not be balanced against other objectives and values as if they were of equal weight or importance to those other objectives or values. Instead, protecting and enhancing ecosystems should be the objective (the outcome) of how we balance environmental, social, and economic objectives and values in practising forestry in Nova Scotia.”

Public consciousness of the linked Climate & Biodiversity crises3 and, in Canada especially, recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples4, has arisen largely  ‘post-Lahey’. Our provincial government has begun to address these matters, but independently of the implementation of the Lahey Recommendations.

On this website
In the posts and pages of nsforestaffairs.ca, we will lay out this background and our concerns in detail and with relevant documentation.

We will  invite the various parties with interests in the state of our forests to comment.

A “blog” in the form of “posts” is given on Home Page, with the most recent post at the top. The posts will consist of opinion pieces, short news items and updates on the website itself. There will be options for subscribing (i.e. to receive e-mail notifications of new posts).

The other pages – all pages except the Home Page – will provide related information, links etc. These pages are accessed via the navigation panel. We expect to compile copies of &/or provide links to, a lot of materials currently found on a wide assortment of websites & Facebook pages, including those reflecting perspectives quite different from our own. We want our readers to look critically at our perspectives and those of others.

We are beginning with a core group of three writers  who happen to be those who hatched  the idea of a new website though discussions that followed our meeting at the 2024 Nature NS Celebration of Nature in late May of 2024.  We will keep the Core Group on the small side for the moment to keep it all manageable, but large enough, we think, to ensure we can make fairly regular posts and keep up with ‘what’s going on’. We will also invite individuals or groups to write “guest posts”  on particular topics.

We expect that over time, the size and membership in the core group will change according to experience and our needs and the needs of those individuals we might invite to participate.

We are not providing options to comment directly on this website, at least we will not be doing so initially.  The experience of the ‘webmaster’ (david p) with several organizational sites is that  than 99% of responses would be spam and very time-consuming to process.

We encourage readers to post comments on Facebook Groups and we will try to keep abreast of them and respond as appropriate. At some point perhaps we will host our own Facebook site and encourage such discussion there.

Donna Crossland, Nina Newington, David Patriquin
June 4, 2024


NOTES

1. Natural Resources Strategy
2. Lahey Forest Practices Review
View Ecological Forestry webpage.
Specific documents:
A review of forestry practices in Nova Scotia (2018) (aka “The Lahey Report” of 2018)
(Also view: Addendum (2018)
On Nov 30, 2021, Prof Lahey released a review of progress on the implementation of his recommendations:
Independent Evaluation of Implementation of the Forest Practices Report for Nova Scotia (PDF)
– Attachments to the Independent Evaluation of Implementation of the Forest Practices Report for Nova Scotia
3. Moving Beyond Lahey: can Nova Scotia participate in a “Global Deal for Nature”?Post on NSFN, December 14, 2019 by admin “In the context of the messages coming from COP25, the Lahey Recommendations are too little and their implementation by L&F far too tardy”
4. Canadian residential school graves forced the world to look. What has changed?
Stefan Labbé in biv.com Dec 15, 2021