Old Forest/Old Growth Presentation/Discussions, MODL 2023

JULY 25, 2023

Agenda for Municipal Council Meeting Tuesday, July 25, 2023

From the Minutes for Municipality of the District of Lunenburg,
Meeting of Municipal Council Tuesday, July 25, 2023

8.1 Save Our Old Forests Campaign
George Buranyi was in attendance and gave a presentation on “Save Our Old Forests (SOOF)” (circulated with the agenda) providing details on the loss of old forest cover on public lands in Lunenburg County and the importance of protecting these lands.

It was asked that the Municipality write to the Premier asking that harvesting and roadbuilding activities be paused in forests over 80 years old that are on Crown land until 20% of lands in Nova Scotia are permanently protected.
Mayor Bolivar-Getson advised that the matter would be brought forward to the Policy & Strategy Committee for further discussion.

Slides from July 25, 2023 Presentation by George Buranyi on the Save Our Old Forests Campaign 
Audio. Presentation by George Buranyi followed by Discussion begins at 18:00,
Ends at 36:18

NOV 21, 2023

–  Agenda for Policy & Strategy Committee Meeting (Tuesday, November 21, 2023 – 9:00 a.m. MODL Council Chambers, 10 Allée Champlain Drive Cookville NS

Item 10.1.1 Protect MODL’s Old Growth Forests
From Page 7:

This recommendation arises from Mr. George Buranyi’s presentation during the Municipal Council meeting on July 25, 2023. Mr. Buranyi highlighted key aspects concerning Lunenburg County’s old growth forests and the environmental commitments of the Nova Scotia Government:
• In October 2021, the Nova Scotia Government passed the Environmental Goals and Climate Change Reduction Act, aiming to conserve at least 20% of the province’s land and water by 2030.
• Mr. Buranyi emphasized the importance of protecting specific forests, such as Public Land Minamkeak Lake and Public Land with multi-aged old forest and mature old forest in Lunenburg County.
• He highlighted the decline in forests aged over 80 years old, significant forest cover loss due to clearcutting practices in Lunenburg County, and the ecological importance of old forests in various aspects such as carbon sequestration, biodiversity support, water purification, and wildfire resilience.
• He presented the “Save our Old Forests (S.O.O.F.)’s Petition to the Premier” to MODL’s Municipal Council to request Premier to pause all harvesting and roadbuilding activities in old growth forests until the 20% conservation target is met.

Provincial Action towards Old Growth Forests Protection
The Province introduced an Interim Old Forest Policy in 1999 to conserve old-growth forests across all eco-districts on Crown land in Nova Scotia. The province further expanded its conservation efforts with Old Forest Policy in 2012. Since it’s implementation, the policy has helped to conserve thousands of hectares of maturing old forests and old-growth forests across provincial Crown land. However, with increasing pressures from private land development and climate change, this policy wasn’t enough to protect old growth forests.

Responding to recommendations by Dr. William Lahey, the Province developed a new OldGrowth Forest Policy in August 2022. This policy aims to enhance old growth forest protection on crown land, defining “old growth” as forests with at least 20% of the tree stand being 100 years or older. The new policy protects designated old-growth forest areas from logging or commercial activities and estimates protection for approximately 32,000 hectares of old growth forests on crown land.

Staff Recommendation
In the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, approximately 19,170 hectares of crown land exist, with only 645 hectares currently protected under the new Old-Growth Forest Policy (2022). The memorandum includes a map that highlights the crown land in MODL with green color. The Province plans to continuously update its mapping to identify more old growth forests for protection. Given the critical importance of preserving these old growth forests, staff recommends that the Policy and Strategy Committee recommend the Municipal Council to write a letter to the Nova Scotia Premier to request to expedite the identification of all old growth forests on crown land in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. This action will automatically protect the newly identified old growth forests on crown land from harvesting and commercial activities. Additionally, this recommendation aligns with the Municipality’s commitment in its Local Climate Change Action Plan 2030 to protect 20% of the Municipality’s land and water mass by 2030. For reference, Mr. Buranyi’s presentation from the Council meeting is attached below.

Audio of 21 Nov 2024 presentation by Abhimanyu Jain, Climate Change and Sustainability Manager begins at 11:24 min

From the Minutes for Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Meeting of the Policy & Strategy Committee, November 21, 2023

10.1.1 Protect MODL’s Old Growth Forests
Abhi Jain, Climate Change & Sustainability Manager, reviewed the report entitled, “Letter to the Premier of Nova Scotia to Protect MODL’s Old Growth Forests” (circulated in the agenda). As a background, Mr. Jain explained that in July, George Buranyi presented to Council where he highlighted key aspects concerning Lunenburg County’s old growth forests and the environmental commitment of the Nova Scotia government were discussed.

There was discussion regarding what impact this would have on lumber mill operations, what definition is being used by the province, 80 or 100-year-old forests, and the installation of dry hydrants.

Moved by Councillor Bell, seconded by Councillor Whynot that the Policy and Strategy Committee recommend that Municipal Council write a letter to the Provincial Minister responsible for Natural Resources and Renewables, Tory Rushton, with copies to Premier Houston and local MLAs Becky Druhan and Susan Corkum-Greek, requesting expedited identification of all Old Growth Forests on Crown Land in the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg. Motion carried. Opposed: Councillor Moore.