Clearcutting could have negative impacts, says environmental group
Still unknown whether pellet plant operation on the Great Northern Peninsula would use clearcutting
NORTHERN PENINSULA, NL — An environmental group is advising the Canadian government to protect the boreal forest from clearcutting.
And that’s a topic that may be of interest to residents on the Great Northern Peninsula.
The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international non-profit environmental organization headquartered in New York City, with three million members and online activists.
Their analysis has indicated that clearcutting in Canada’s boreal forest worsens climate change.
And one of their analysts has told the Northern Pen it affects local life as well.
The NRDC says clearcutting “unleashes significant emissions of carbon dioxide locked in soil, creating a threat to the global climate crisis.
“Clearcutting degrades and disturbs the boreal forest’s ability to store carbon, by removing most living trees and damaging forest soils and peatlands in the process,” according to an NRDC press release.
The Great Northern Peninsula has a boreal forest like most of Canada. Clearcutting on the peninsula could also have a more localized impact, says
Josh Axelrod, a policy analyst with NRDC’s Canada Project.
“It’s done by heavy machinery, requires building a lot of roads,” he said. “It can be done better than other ways, but the way it’s done in a lot of the boreal that we’ve seen is to disturb a lot of the soils, to disturb the other plant matter besides the trees, and it then takes the forest a very long time to recover.”
Axelrod believes, in many cases, it could take 120 or more years for the forest to recover completely after clearcutting – if it ever comes back, he adds.
He says you can also see negative changes to local wetlands, peatlands, rivers and streams when clearcutting is conducted.
These sentiments echoed those expressed by Leander Pilgrim, a former Main Brook mayor and a resident with a lifetime of experience in the industry, in previous editions of the Northern Pen.
“You’re flattening everything,” said Pilgrim. “The terrain is torn to pieces with this heavy equipment and there’s not a hope in hell for it to repopulate in the time of our children and grandchildren.”