CAPEBRETONPOST.COM — Nova Scotia’s new premier-designate Iain Rankin has indicated strong support for forestry management and for green policies. He is developing an economic recovery policy model framed around the environment.


Rankin has promised to implement the recommendations of the Lahey Report on forestry practices, which advocates among other things, a drastic reduction in clear-cutting practices in forest management.

The McNeil government had been slow to implement the recommendations in the Lahey report, which called to protect some 17 percent of the land in the province. But Nova Scotia will be able to meet only a 13 percent protection target of the province’s land.

Pressure to do so has come from the United Nations as well as from the United States, where President Joe Biden has ambitiously pledged to protect some 30 percent of U.S. land.


Protecting land involves protecting trees, which are essential for curbing global warming as well as for preventing mass animal extinction. Our forests are vital environments for protecting endangered species such as the pine marten and certain bird species, such as eagles.

But the forests are not top of mind for Nova Scotians. Yet, wildlife issues are as significant to us economically as they are environmentally in the province.

We don’t distinguish “crown lands from private lands,” at least not visually. And most people can’t tell you what “clearcutting” is, where it takes place and what the effects of it might be on animals and in the environment.

The public’s knowledge about forestry is not very sophisticated, especially in matters involving conservation. We need to pay more attention and get better informed.


A lot of clearcutting happens insidiously out of public view or government supervision. And a lot of it is happening in the Cape Breton Highlands. That makes it all politically significant for us because it is our precious natural resource. Who is looking after it and do enough of us care?

One of the ways to protect the forest is to know about it through the lens of science. Science explains the complex role of forests on an environmentally challenged planet.

Hats off to Adam Malcolm, a local high school teacher who runs the Stop Clearcutting Unama’ki Facebook page. Malcolm makes the important connection between the role of the forest and the survival of all creatures, great and small. For him, the forest is a highly integrated life-sustaining ecosystem, made up of flora, fauna and animals – all very dependent on each other for survival.

Forests in Cape Breton belong to a larger group known as the Acadian Forest Region. They extend all the way from Newfoundland to the New England states. Made up principally of (softwood) and (hardwood) trees, they were overcut in past generations. This has made old forests a rarity on the island.


Malcolm is concerned with the direct impact clearcutting has on wildlife habitats. We should all be! The province of Nova Scotia is adopting its new triad model of ecological forestry on crown lands. It’s a forest management model with three components: conservation zones, high production zones, and mixed-use zones. No timber harvest will occur in the province’s conservation zones, except in emergencies.

See more HERE.