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Cumberland foresters respond to clearcutting concerns

Mac Davis, right, and Ian Ripley addressed councillor Lynne Welton’s concerns about clear-cut logging after they gave a presentation on behalf of the 40 forestry workers who packed into the Cumberland County council chambers on May 1.
Mac Davis, right, and Ian Ripley addressed councillor Lynne Welton’s concerns about clear-cut logging after they gave a presentation on behalf of the 40 forestry workers who packed into the Cumberland County council chambers on May 1. - Dave Mathieson

UPPER NAPPAN, N.S. – It’s hard not to notice forest clear-cuts along the side of the road while travelling throughout Cumberland County.

Concerns about clearcutting were raised by county councillor Lynne Welton during the May 1 meeting of county council.

“I don’t like clearcutting at all,” said Welton to the 40 forestry workers gathered inside the council chambers. “A few years ago we owned a woodlot, we were members of the Athol Forestry Co-op, and I think we managed it reasonably proficiently but now we drive around and see all this clear cutting.”

Mac Davis and Ian Ripley gave a presentation on behalf of the forestry workers who packed into the Cumberland County council chambers.

Ripley, general manager of Athol Forestry Co-op, responded to Welton’s concern by saying the industry uses many tools in their toolbox, and that toolbox includes clearcutting and selective cutting, along with tree planting and the natural regeneration of trees.

“If you have a dead fir stand it’s time to clear-cut that. You can replant that or let it come back naturally. There’s many things you can do.”

During the presentation, it was pointed out that the forestry industry harvests .78 per cent of Nova Scotia forested land annually.

“Every time you clear-cut you’ve got that much less for next year,” said Welton.

Ripley says the industry is cutting far below what is considered sustainable.

“Most people would argue that somewhere between five and six million cubic metres a year could be harvested in Nova Scotia, and we’ve repeatedly, in the last ten years, harvested three to four million,” said Ripley. “We consistently cut half or two thirds of that, so we’re well under what the most science argues is sustainable.”

Percentage of Wood harvested in Nova Scotia by county (statistics from Forest Nova Scotia)

15 per cent – Cumberland County

11 per cent – Halifax County

9 per cent (for each county) – Pictou, and Guysborough Counties

8 per cent – Colchester County

6 per cent (for each county) – Annapolis, Digby, and Lunenburg Counties

5 per cent – Hants County

4 per cent (for each county) – Queens, Inverness, and Cape Breton Counties

3 per cent (for each county) – Kings, Antigonish, and Richmond Counties

2 per cent (for each county) – Yarmouth, and Victoria Counties

1 per cent – Shelburne County

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