Digby County and the surrounding region will have a new voice regarding forestry practices in the area.
Jimmy MacAlpine, the Warden of the Municipality of Digby, was recently appointed to a seat on the Western Region Crown Land Stakeholder Interaction Committee, an advisory committee to the Department of Lands and Forestry. A request had been sent to the Digby council to have someone sit on the committee to represent the area.
“After the request to the council to have someone sit on the committee, I decided that I would go and observe and see what it was about. There were other representatives from the Annapolis Valley, Shelburne, Queens, and Chester, and so we were asked to have a member sit on it. I thought it would be good to know what’s happening with forestry practices in the area,” says MacAlpine.
And, he adds, that information will be valuable to council.
“Having a seat on the committee gives the Digby council more information regarding provincial forestry initiatives and practices and gives the council and community a voice on the committee if concerns arise regarding the area,” he says.
READ ALSO: The Municipality of Digby is joining with local residents and the Acacia Valley Trails Association to request an expanded buffer to protect the trails from possible clear-cutting or limited forestry cutting where and when cuts of trees are proposed.
MacAlpine believes having a seat on the committee will be especially helpful for the council and community to be cognizant of the plans for the implementation of the recently-released Lahey Report.
“The report was done by the province regarding forestry practice,” he explains. “The provincial government has endorsed the recommendations and DNR will implement them. I feel it will be good to know how that’s being rolled out.”
The Independent Review of Forestry Practices in Nova Scotia, commonly known as the Lahey Report, was delivered in August 2018 by Bill Lahey, president and vice-chancellor of the University of King’s College. The report addressed forestry practices in the province and, in particular, the public concern regarding clearcutting on Crown land.
A major recommendation of the report called for reducing clear cutting on Crown land from 65 per cent to between 20 and 25 per cent. The report recommended the use of a "triad model" which would see some areas protected from all forestry and commercial activity; other areas used for intensive commercial forestry; and some designated for less intensive forestry with little to no clearcutting.
Other important recommendations included protecting and enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity, placing more emphasis on ecological values in the decision-making process and increasing the focus on wildlife and species at risk with a focus on health and recovery plans.
STORY WRITTEN BY ANITA FLOWERS
Go online: The Lahey report is available to the public at https://novascotia.ca/natr/forestry/Forest_Review/Lahey_FP_Review_Report_ExecSummary.pdf