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News Releases

Here you'll find official news releases from CPAWS ns. Clicking on a link will you take to the chapter's website.

Jun 06 11

CPAWS calls for 12 new marine protected areas by 2012: Two sites in Nova Scotia recommended

Apr 27 11

Want to work at CPAWS-NS this summer?

Apr 21 11

Chignecto closer to protection

Apr 12 11

Nova Scotia government set to expand nine protected wilderness areas

Apr 06 11

Where is the candidate boundary for Chignecto?

Mar 30 11

Nova Scotia land purchases welcome news
The Nova Scotia government has just acquired a number of very significant properties important for conservation. These include a large property west of Panuke Lake containing old-growth hemlock forest, a coastal property near Apple Head on the Bay of Fundy containing significant tidal salt marsh and mudflat habitat, a lakeshore property in southwestern Nova Scotia on the upper Tusket River system, and properties along the Eastern Shore adjacent the Ship Harbour Long Lake Wilderness Area.

Mar 11 11

A look ahead

Dec 01 10

CPAWS welcomes Nova Scotia move to reduce clearcutting by 50%

HALIFAX – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) welcomes today’s announcement by the Nova Scotia government that it plans to reduce the allowable amount of clearcutting in Nova Scotia by 50% within 5 years.

“The forests are breathing a little easier today”, says Chris Miller, a senior conservation biologist with CPAWS.  “This is an intelligent decision by the Nova Scotia government”.

"The commitment to reduce clearcutting by 50% in 5 years is hugely significant for Canada. With 85% of forestry still conducted by clearcutting, this is a welcome move towards more sustainable practices,” says Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director.

A report by Global Forest Watch Canada released last week showed that less than 20% of Nova Scotia’s forests remains intact, one of the lowest percentages of any province in Canada. To be considered “intact”, a forest area must be greater than 500 hectares in size.

“Today’s announcement signals that Nova Scotia is prepared to turn the page on bad forest policy and transition towards more sustainable forest practices," adds Miller.

Over a half-million hectares of forest have been clearcut in Nova Scotia since the 1990’s.  The highest rates of disturbance have been in Central Nova Scotia, where 27% of Colchester County and 20% of Pictou County have been cut down over that time period.

The rampant clearcutting that’s occurred in Nova Scotia has caused a shift in the age of its forests to younger and younger stands.  Public outrage over recent biomass harvests has galvanized opposition to unsustainable forest practices.

“We can’t keep clearcutting our forests and expect to have a healthy forest industry in the future. The steps that the government is taking today will help ensure we have healthier forests tomorrow, and more opportunities to produce value-added forest products in the future,” says Miller.

Other strategic policy directions announced by the Nova Scotia government today include a ban on whole-tree harvesting and banning public funds for herbicide applications for forestry.

In the coming weeks and months, CPAWS will be closely monitoring the government plans for achieving its clearcutting target reductionsg.  CPAWS is calling on the province to:

  • Develop an independent and arm’s length system for tracking progress on reducing clearcuts
  • Provide annual progress reports that are publicly available
  • Enshrine the new clearcutting targets in law by adding them to the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act.

Clearcut photos are available.
For more information, contact:
Chris Miller, Ph.D.
National Manager
Wilderness Conservation and Climate Change
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
(902) 446-4155
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Nov 26 10

Intact forests in Nova Scotia disappearing

HALIFAX - A new report released by Global Forest Watch Canada (GFWC) shows that only 17% of the landmass of Nova Scotia remains as intact forest.

"This is an alarming and shocking figure", says Chris Miller, a senior conservation biologist with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society based in Halifax. "The Nova Scotia government needs to act quickly to ensure that the largest remaining intact forests are protected".

The GFWC report shows that protected areas play a key role in ensuring Nova Scotia has intact forest in the future.  In many locations in the province, the only intact forest that remains larger than 500 hectares in size occurs inside the boundaries of protected wilderness areas.

"Protected areas are clearly playing an important role in ensuring Nova Scotia has intact forest in the future", says Miller.  "With the very high rates of forest harvesting occurring in the province, basically if it's not protected, it will be cut.  It's not a matter of if, but when".

The GFWC report shows that the public lands within, and adjacent to, the Chignecto Game Sanctuary are the only cluster of intact forest in Nova Scotia that does not yet have a core protected area.

"The single most important thing that the Nova Scotia government can do right now to protect intact forest in Nova Scotia is to identify a candidate protected area boundary for public lands at Chignecto that includes the significant majority of intact forests", says Miller.

In October 2009, the Nova Scotia government announced its intentions to create a "large" protected wilderness area at Chignecto, but has yet to release a candidate protected area boundary showing which lands will be protected and which lands will be made available to the forest industry.  The government is now five months late in releasing the boundary.

CPAWS is calling on the Nova Scotia government to protect the significant majority of public lands within and adjacent to the Chignecto Game Sanctuary as a legally-protected wilderness area.  The Wilderness Areas Protection Act allows for public use, including recreation, hunting, camping, and fishing inside protected wilderness areas, but prohibits industrial activities such as clearcutting, road-building, seismic testing, and open-pit mining.

The GFWC report shows that there are still significant opportunities to protect intact forest in Nova Scotia, but some areas are experiencing steep declines in the amount of intact forests.  Between 2000 and 2007, Annapolis, Guysborough, and Shelburne Counties suffered the greatest loss of intact forests, totalling over 42,000 hectares.

A report released by GFWC in 2009, examining rates of anthropogenic change in Nova Scotia, shows that over a half-million hectares of forests have been cut down in Nova Scotia since the 1990's, with the highest rates of disturbance occurring in Central Nova Scotia.  During that time period, 27% of the forests of Colchester County were cut down and 20% of the forests of Pictou County.

When the Nova Scotia government releases its revised Natural Resources Strategy it needs to make sure that changes to forest practices in Nova Scotia don't push the problem of clearcutting and forest degradation deeper into our last remaining intact forest areas.  Concurrently, the Nova Scotia government also needs to release its proposed expansion of protected areas to achieve its legislative committment of legally-protecting at least 12% of Nova Scotia's landmass by 2015.

In 2009, CPAWS and other conservation organizations, along with the biggest forestry companies operating in Nova Scotia, submitted a proposal to the Nova Scotia government which shows how the government can achieve its protected areas target with minimal impacts on the forest industry while also protecting the most ecologically-significant properties in the province.

High-resolution photos available.

For more information, contact:
Chris Miller, Ph.D.
National Manager
Wilderness Conservation and Climate Change
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
(902) 446-4155
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


Aug 26 10

Bay of Fundy needs stronger protection


This letter originally appeared in the Chronicle Herald (Halifax, NS) on Wednesday, August 25, 2010.

The Bay of Fundy, with its high tides and abundance of wildlife, is a global treasure. There’s no doubt about that. We support the efforts by the Nova Scotia government to advocate for the Bay of Fundy to be included as one of the new seven natural wonders of the world in the global competition currently underway.

But, in asking the world to declare the Bay of Fundy one of the seven natural wonders, our government needs to make sure that it is treating the bay that way, and takes the necessary steps to properly protect its important ecology and ecosystems from degradation. Unquestionably, there’s more that the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada could be doing.

The Bay of Fundy lacks a system of marine protected areas to protect its important and unique natural features, particularly areas where globally significant concentrations of whales occur. This, despite existing commitments from the federal government to establish representative marine protected areas in all regions of the country. There are some small sites protected as whale sanctuaries, but these designations have relatively weak legal teeth.

The province also lacks a comprehensive coastal policy to adequately protect our shorelines, including those along the Bay of Fundy. Some progress has been made in recent years towards developing this policy, but without changes in our coastal land-use policies and help for the municipalities, we’ll continue to see beaches and wetlands being destroyed, and houses built along the shore where they shouldn’t be.

Incompatible industrial development proposals for the Bay of Fundy also pop up from time to time, and some have come within a hair’s breadth of being approved. A few years ago, a proposal surfaced to establish a huge mega-quarry and marine terminal on the shores of Digby Neck to provide aggregate to the northeastern United States. Fortunately, that proposal never received the required environmental approvals, but since then, the Nova Scotia government has failed to develop policies to prioritize our coastline into areas where development makes sense, and areas where it doesn’t. Without better policies in place, coastal mega-quarry proposals for the Bay of Fundy will continue to pop up near important whale areas, and aquaculture sites near important fishing grounds.

The province also does not yet have a final "no net loss" policy for wetlands to prohibit any development from occurring on the tidal salt marshes of the Bay of Fundy. Only a fraction of these important salt marshes remain to support the large populations of migratory birds travelling up and down the Atlantic flyway. A clear policy is needed from the government that will ensure the tidal salt marshes along the bay will be protected and restored.

Not all is doom and gloom. Some important steps have been made recently to protect the ecology of the Bay of Fundy and there’s definitely some world-class research and conservation efforts taking place there. The movement of the shipping lanes in the bay seems to be helping to protect the endangered right whales from ship collisions; Parks Canada is conducting a comprehensive study of the Bay of Fundy to identify important marine areas for conservation; and the Nova Scotia government recently acquired long stretches of coastline along the bay for conservation, between Apple Head and Joggins.

These are encouraging steps, but our government needs to do more, and soon. To start, let’s get a system of marine protected areas in place, a coastal land-use plan that protects the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy, and a wetland policy that safeguards its tidal salt marshes. If the Bay of Fundy truly is the global treasure we’re saying it is, let’s treat it that way and show the world that we stand behind our call to have it declared one of the new seven natural wonders of the world.

Chris Miller and Rodrigo Menafra are with the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society in Halifax.


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