Quoted from an article reporting on a public
opinion survey on forest issues released by the federally-funded Nova
Forest Alliance which suggests Nova Scotians want the Province to take
action to protect the environment from forestry:
What's your Opinion on Clearcutting?
Earlier this summer, a group has erected billboards to convey concern over clearcutting of Nova Scotia forest lands. The messages urge the government to honour its declared mandate and become stewards of lands they still control.
TIANS, an association representing a majority of Nova Scotia tourism operators has added its voice to the effort and has urged the government to stop clearcutting and to place a moritorium as a first step, on all crown lands.
A recent Press Release from the Ecology Action Center outlines the issue and expresses concerns of the effect of clearcutting on nature, Tourism and vistas.
Three conservation groups are using billboards to remind motorists and tourists entering Halifax about the loss of Nova Scotia's forests.
The Ecology Action Centre, Margaree Environmental Association, and the Sierra Club of Canada have erected two anti-clearcutting billboards, at the north ends of Barrington Street and Robie Street. Both boards are near the MacKay bridge and face south-bound traffic.
The billboards depict clearcut images with the caption "Going, Going, Gone...The Nova Scotia We Love. Call the Premier (902) 424-6600". One board also reads "Help Stop Clearcutting", while the other cites a 1999 public opinion survey, stating, "85% say no to clearcutting".
The groups are appealing to the Premier because the provincial government, while making it appear that Federal action is needed, has in fact a huge influence on forestry. The Tories' 1999 "blue book" election platform acknowledges that many Nova Scotians feel that "the future of our forests is in jeopardy", but the Province has done virtually nothing to reduce clearcutting. ( view the current position on this issue )
The groups say the Province has many options including immediately eliminating clearcutting on Crown lands, introducing regulations to curtail the practice on private lands, abolishing subsidies for companies that clearcut, and encouraging selection harvesting through education and tax incentives.
Provincial regulations proposed for this fall do not aim to limit clearcutting. This baffles Neal Livingston, a woodlot owner and Chair of the Margaree Environmental Association. "Clearcutting is the number one problem in forestry today. The Nova Scotia woods as most of us know it are disappearing," he says. "People are fed up with clearcutting, the time to act is now. This is a crisis and the Province is in hiding."
Opponents of clearcutting say the practice ruins fish and wildlife habitat as well as recreation and tourism opportunities, degrades water quality, and threatens the future of forestry itself.
"Clearcuts aren't good for much, except anti-clearcutting billboards," says Kermit deGooyer, Wilderness Coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre.
A 1999 public opinion survey in central Nova Scotia conducted by the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (*) found that 85% of respondents disagreed with the use of clearcutting as a harvesting method. According to the National Forestry Database Program (NFDP) nearly two square kilometres of Nova Scotia forest were clearcut each day in 1997, the latest year for which figures are available. NFDP figures also show that clearcutting accounted for 98.9% of harvesting in 1997.
Rural Research Centre, Nova Scotia Agricultural College. 1999. Public Perceptions and Attitudes Towards Forestry Issues: Public Opinion Survey in Central Nova Scotia. A summary of the survey is posted at http://www.publicland.ca under "Other Wilderness Topics"
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