TREPA out­lines dan­ger of clear-cut­ting in re­gion

Gran­ite to­pog­ra­phy means it can take cen­turies for re­place­ment of nu­tri­ents washed away in clearcuts


Mem­bers of the Tus­ket River En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion As­so­ci­a­tion (TREPA) re­main con­cerned about ac­tive and planned clear-cut­ting in this re­gion and other ar­eas of Nova Sco­tia, in­clud­ing large tracts of crown land.

Bar­rie MacGre­gor, a spokesper­son for the or­ga­ni­za­tion, says it’s dis­ap­point­ing con­sid­er­ing the work that was done via Buy Back Nova Sco­tia with the in­ten­tion that the land pur­chased by the Crown will be treated in an en­vi­ron­men­tally sen­si­tive way.

“We have also worked through our MLA Zach Churchill to get clar­i­fi­ca­tion from the min­is­ter of Nat­u­ral Re­sources on what cut­ting is planned for this end of the prov­ince.

“We’re very con­cerned about clear- cut­ting ad­ja­cent to the Tobeatic and Keji. We rarely see par­tial har­vests on Crown land. Some lots are des­ig­nated par­tial cuts but are just first stage of a clear cut. The har­vester comes back in three to 10 years to get the rest,” he said. Soil nu­tri­ents, in­clud­ing cal­cium, ni­tro­gen, phos­pho­rus and potas­sium will wash out of the soil when the for­est is re­moved.

For some time TREPA has been a part­ner with the Healthy For­est Coali­tion, the group that re­cently staged the Fu­neral for Nova Sco­tia Forests in Hal­i­fax.

Clear-cut­ting has a neg­a­tive im­pact on much flora and fauna. Some plant species can dis­ap­pear en­tirely and wildlife has to move to other ter­ri­tory that may be al­ready oc­cu­pied by the same species.

MacGre­gor says that some species, like white tail deer, are happy in a clear cut but they need shel­ter in the win­ter or will not sur­vive. Main­land moose prefers for­est, along with gray jays and bob­cats.

“Lots of small birds de­pend on seeds and if the trees are gone there is no feed. They can’t switch to eat­ing out of a clear cut so a lot of wildlife will sim­ply starve,” he said.

In ad­di­tion to the di­rect im­pact that clear-cut­ting has on wildlife, soil nu­tri­ents, in­clud­ing cal­cium, ni­tro­gen, phos­pho­rus and potas­sium will wash out of the soil when the for­est is re­moved.

Soil gets ex­posed to di­rect sun­light, re­sult­ing in fur­ther degra­da­tion, says MacGre­gor.

“Be­cause we are sit­ting on gran­ite in south­west Nova Sco­tia it can take cen­turies for those nu­tri­ents to come back. Some tree species that thrive in sun­light will come back, but with har­vest­ing in 30 to 50 years they will not have time to pro­vide the canopy for shade-lov­ing trees.”

Shade lovers in­clude red spruce, yel­low birch, hem­lock, beech and sugar maple, some of the high­est val­ued trees.

“We’re sim­ply not grow­ing old forests any more,” he said.

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