#SaveTheMainlandMoose - May 2022 On-Location Reports + Good to Know . . . Links from Camp
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Forest in Mi'kma'ki Nova Scotia Forest in Mi'kma'ki Nova Scotia

Day 180 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 30, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Whenever ATVers stop to chat, their response when we say we are there to stop the cutting of a forest is disbelief. The conversation goes like this:

"What's left to cut? They've taken it all."
"Not quite. This forest is still standing. We want them to leave it alone."
"No shit. Good luck."

Earlier in the day we explored the area with the biggest oaks. Although red oak are not the longest-lived climax species, this part of the proposed cut block is the closest thing to old growth that wildlife are going to find, short of the old forests west of McEwan Lake. That big decaying oak trunk on the ground is the kind of place Martens need for their dens. In all our lichen searching, this is the only part of the forest where we have found the scat of American marten and/or Fisher. They need whatever is left of old forests to survive.

There was also some quite fresh bear scat — a mama bear and two cubs was seen 10 minutes from camp. Yes, we're being careful. Exclaiming at the beauty of all the lady slippers in bloom now and otherwise making noise.

Extinction Rebellion Mi'kma'ki Nova Scotia

Day 179 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 29, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Our message is quite simple: it is time to save what we can. The destruction of nature for profit threatens our existence on this planet. The time for talk and log is over. Cut now, protect later won't wash. Get in the way of what damages the earth in whatever non-violent way you can.

One promise: action feels far better than sitting at home despairing.

Good to Know . . . Links from Camp
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Day 176 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 26, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Camp with sign: Stop Ecocide Everywhere

The scale of the clearcutting that has taken place on this part of the South Mountain is hard to believe until you see it. Gone are the sheltering forests. Gone the nesting sites, the hollow trees for wildlife, the shaded trunks for lichens, the ferny floor. In their place a sun-beaten, wind-scoured, fire-prone expanse of short-lived trees scrabbling for existence on soil that has given up its carbon to the atmosphere.

The days have been beautiful, immersed in the flow of the season as new birds arrive — hello, Red-eyed vireo — and the plants of the forest floor leaf out and bloom. The Golden seal are done, Painted trillium in full fig. The first Lady slipper we've seen in flower was the less common white form.

Idyllic so far, but then we took a trip up the road to check there were no signs of cutting about to happen on the parcels by Cranberry Lake. Thirty hectares were approved for clear cutting there but, according to the government, if the cut isn't started by June 1st, the harvest prescription will be changed from full on clearcut to something more ecological, based on the new Silvicultural Guide to the Ecological Matrix. So far the prescription shown on the Harvest Plan Map Viewer for AP068502A and B is still Variable retention 10 and 30%. It will be interesting to see what it is changed to.

The thing is, when you see those remaining patches of standing forest in context, it is hard to imagine any prescription that takes ecological health into account allowing for any further tree removal. The scale of the clearcutting that has taken place on this part of the South Mountain is hard to believe until you see it. Gone are the sheltering forests. Gone the nesting sites, the hollow trees for wildlife, the shaded trunks for lichens, the ferny floor. In their place a sun-beaten, wind-scoured, fire-prone expanse of short-lived trees scrabbling for existence on soil that has given up its carbon to the atmosphere.

It is time to save what we can. Sure, celebrate the progress represented by implementing one small element of Lahey's recommendations, but don't for a minute forget the big one: protecting and enhancing ecosystem health must from now on be the "overarching priority" in how this province manages its forests. We need landscape level planning now, before any further damage is done.

Day 174 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 24, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

two women smiling

Might DNRR biologists leave their desks and come and check out what we're finding? Will their supervisors let them? It is probably not the actual biologists' fault that DNRR does such a poor job of identifying Species At Risk habitat. More likely there is a Don't Ask, Don't Tell practice in place so those pesky endangered species don't get in the way of logging as usual. We'll be asking DNRR anyway to send someone out to look.

A sunny morning at camp, waiting for the kettle to boil, listening to the birds. Feels good to be here, doing what we can.

Over the long weekend, licheneers went into the woods again and found two more occurrences of the Black-foam lichen, Anzia colpodes. These have been duly reported to biodiversity@novascotia.ca.

This is the response from the Manager of Biodiversity at DNRR:

"Thank you for passing along your lichen occurrence record. I will have your ID confirmed by one of our lichen surveyors and then will add it to the lichen database. It will also be passed along to the management team that deals with the harvest plans."

We have added 9 more occurrences to the 7 confirmed by DNRR's lichen surveyor on February 13th. Do you suppose that one of these days DNRR will admit they made a mistake making this area available for logging? Isn't that what a department that took its responsibility to protect biodiversity and, in particular, Species At Risk would do?

After a while we took a break from lichen hunting and went to visit the big old oaks. Your eyes do get tired from scanning tree trunks for one particular lichen — it's like looking for a familiar face in a crowd. Along the way we saw so many Painted trillium in bloom, Twisted stalk budding up, Bunchberry just opening green flowers that will soon turn to creamy-white, and in the largest forested swamp a huge area of Three-leafed false Solomon's seal.

And then there was poop. Scat, that is. In quantity in the area of the oldest trees where oaks tower over spruce and the air is cool and damp. Two different kinds. iNaturalist suggests American marten for one. We know they are in the area. One was sighted on the second little bridge by camp about three weeks ago.

American marten (aka Pine marten) live in old forests and, just like the bird species that nest in old forests, they are in trouble. In fact they are about to be added to the list of Endangered Species for the whole of Nova Scotia, not just Cape Breton. Another reason, you might think, to cancel the proposed harvest of this little forest.

Day 172 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 22, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

group in the woods birding

Destruction of nesting birds, nests, eggs, babies is against the law. The Migratory Bird Convention Act covers pretty much all the birds nesting right now in the Maritimes. The silent season is accepted practice in Europe. But not in Canada. It doesn't fit well with 24/7 harvesting using huge expensive machines and few workers. But business as usual is destroying our planet.

So please, take a moment to write to mindnr@novascotia.ca and tell Minister Rushton we want his department to ENFORCE THE LAW.

We are told it is most effective make your email a brief cover note with your letter attached. Please bcc xrns [at] riseup.net so we can keep track of how many letters are sent in.

Birding by ear is fun, especially with an excellent teacher, and the "Merlin" app on your phone.

To the excitement of a couple of expert birders among us, we watched 12 Red crossbills using their specially adapted beaks to extract seed from spruce cones. Speaking of food; it's a good thing the black flies were out in force to sustain the many returning Warblers. We heard: Magnolia, Blackburnian, Chestnut sided, Common yellow throat, Black and white, Palm, Black throated blue and Black throated green warblers.

And then there were: Hermit thrush, Northern waterthrush, White breasted nuthatch, Ovenbird, Blue headed vireo, Northern Parula,

Catbird, White throated sparrow, Chickadee, Junco, Least flycatcher, Crow, Raven and Turkey vulture!

Many of these birds need mature forests. The Northern Parula, for example, makes its nest out of Old Man's Beard lichen.

It is a delight to hear and learn about all these birds, many of whom migrate thousands of kilometres to nest in Nova Scotia's forests. It is also agonizing. Bird populations have declined catastrophically since 1970. A recent study shows that the worst declines in the Maritimes have been in birds that live in old forests. Why?

Because logging in the Maritimes over the study period 1985 to 2020 has decimated old forests.

Homelessness is no better for birds than for people. It is agonizing and it is infuriating. The destruction of nesting birds, nests, eggs, babies is against the law. The Migratory Bird Convention Act covers pretty much all the birds nesting right now in the Maritimes.

The general manager of WestFor admitted on CBC in 2019, that it is inevitable that logging activity carried out in the woods during breeding season kills nesting birds. This is not a surprise. How can a harvester avoid crushing a tiny Ovenbird determinedly sitting on her nest on the forest floor?

The province is trumpeting the arrival of ecological forestry on "Crown Land" as of June 1st. But true ecological forestry includes a silent season in the woods during peak breeding season. That's what the Medway Community Forest does.

The silent season is accepted practice in Europe. But not in Canada. It doesn't fit well with 24/7 harvesting using huge expensive machines and few workers. But business as usual is destroying our planet.

If we and our non-human kin want a future, we have to start doing things differently, and we have to start NOW. So please, take a moment to write to Minister Rushton mindnr@novascotia.ca and tell him we want his department to ENFORCE THE LAW.

Birds needs protection. We need a silent season in the woods from mid-May to the end of July annually. That means no logging and no road building during that time.

Day 171 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 21, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

man setting up drone

If the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables respected local knowledge, they would have halted the proposed cut of the forest by Beal's Brook back in November. If they did real consultations as opposed to hiding their plans on an obscure website, the plan to cut here would never have been approved in the first place. But then perhaps that is why they don't have an open and transparent process. They know people are sick of the wholesale destruction of the forests of Mi'kma'ki.

The colonial mindset rules at DNRR. Whose "resources" are these? "Why, it's our right to exploit them," says industrial forestry. "Get out of the way, people who care about the needs of nature." And the government? Well, DNRR has decided that WestFor should decide whether the cut at Last Hope is cancelled or not. That makes it pretty clear who runs the show, doesn't it?

Day 169: Today a team from the Applied Geomatics Research Group at the Nova Scotia Community College in Middleton came out to conduct a preliminary drone survey of the McEwan Lake and Beal's Brook area.

It's going to be interesting to see what Lidar reveals about possible habitats for rare lichens and other species at risk.

woman smiling

Eleanor Wynn: "I'm happy to spend a few days and nights at The Last Hope Camp, where friends have been camping for 169 days, to protect important habitat (on so-called Crown Land) for endangered species from being cut. (approved by our provincial government)

"This forest is mostly 80 years old — not very old, but sadly, one of the oldest left, in a sea of clear cuts. "Today, the birds are singing, the clouds fluffy and white, blue sky and a babbling brook — trees swaying in the breeze. It's a beautiful place. Tomorrow we have a birding by ear workshop happening, where people will join us to learn, and help identify birds in the area.

"We are in a climate and biodiversity crisis and these places are worth protecting. The best thing you can do is put yourself in the way of destruction. It hurts to watch and sit quietly."

Day 166 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 16, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

woman hugging a very large tree

Women at home in nature. Queer, straight, binary, non-binary, whoever you are, whoever you love, days spent in the woods exploring and learning are days well spent. And when what you are doing is all part of the effort to protect the little that remains of the mature mixed species forests of Mi'kma'ki, well that's even better.

Between the bioblitz and the Tree Identification workshop, we roamed the further reaches of the Last Hope forest in the company of some very knowledgeable women this weekend. Yesterday, following what WestFor's contractor no doubt flagged as an extraction route, we passed through a clearcut then, crossing into the area proposed for cutting, dry knolls and swamps undisturbed for the past 70-80 years, coming at last to an area of larger, older red oaks with spruce and fir growing up between.

The oaks are magnificent (and we are not embarrassed to hug them) but what is striking too is the amount of scat in this area, including some none of us recognized. With a little research it seems probable that it belongs to one of the midsized members of the weasel family, most likely a Fisher but just possibly the American Marten. Both need old forests and there are precious few of those around. Yet another reason to protect this forest.

Day 163 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 13, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

6 people with Mi'kma'ki flag 6 people with Mi'kma'ki flag

Met a turtle on the road, a tiny painted turtle making their way up the logging road from the bridge towards camp. Tiny but forceful. I definitely got the hairy eyeball. But then who wants to be turned upside down and photographed?

An endangered wood turtle would have had black blotches along the edges of the underside. A painted turtle is all gorgeous orange and yellow. There is so much to learn about and from all our relations.

M'sit nokoma.

In this forest we are finding trees we think are older than any living human. Trees that escaped the fire that burned so much of this forest 80 years ago (or so). Trees that escaped an even bigger fire that raged through the area in 1903. Trees that have so far escaped chainsaws and harvesters.

Dying it supports life. The oldest trees are not necessarily the biggest or the most magnificent. They are often, though, home to the most other forms of life. Look at all the lichens and mosses growing on that one oak in the last three photographs. Consider the insects, birds, small mammals that have found shelter in this battered old tree.

This is what biodiversity looks like. A six syllable word for the variety of life. A precious, interconnected web that spans from the baby turtle on a gritty road to an ancient oak on a hardwood ridge. We need to protect this web of life from the harsh blades of resource extraction. And we need to protect it from a government that leaves the fate of a forest like Last Hope — a forest where so many Species At Risk have been found — to the tender mercies of Westfor, a consortium of logging mills.

163-old-tree-700x466.png 6 people with Mi'kma'ki flag
Identifying lichen in the forest Man with carved owl by the woods

Day 161 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 11, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Frances Anderson returned to teach our second Lichen Identification session.
Some of us have definitely got the lichen hunting bug.

New Species-at-Risk Lichen!
When this band of licheneers went into the proposed cut block on Saturday they discovered yet another Species At Risk lichen. An occurrence, DNRR calls it. The Manager of Biodiversity at the Department assures us that, "Pending confirmation of ID by a qualified lichenologist, department staff will plot the new occurrences and apply the special management practice buffers. After that is complete, they will hand over a revised harvest polygon to Westfor."

Explains so much
It turns out that is not all the Department is handing over to WestFor. The Minister for Natural Resources and Renewables recently informed our MLA, Carman Kerr that it would be WestFor, not DNRR, that would decide the fate of this forest.

Why? DNRR is responsible for protecting endangered species. It is part of their mandate. If they don't want to do the job then the responsibility should be handed over to the Department of Environment and Climate Change, not to a consortium of mills.

Corporate Captured department
This transfer of responsibility is long overdue, judging by DNRR's ongoing and devastating failure to protect the habitat of the endangered Mainland moose. DNRR has a long history of doing the bidding of industrial forestry. Forestry industry interests still trump the needs of the moose at every turn. Clearly the culture change William Lahey calls for in the department has not happened.

As the moose go, so go we. Our health and survival depend upon restoring and protecting ecosystems. Whose responsibility is it to protect the health of the natural world?

WestFor's, according to Minister Rushton. Will a consortium of mills prove more responsive to citizen concerns and numerous discoveries of Species At Risk than DNRR? It's worth asking.

What could possibly go wrong?
The Minister for Natural Resources and Renewables recently informed our MLA, Carman Kerr that it would be WestFor [a consortium of logging mills],
not DNRR, that would decide the fate of this forest.

Day 159 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 9, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

6 people with Mi'kma'ki flag

District Chief of Kespukwitk, Marilynn Leigh Francis, presented us with this flag representing the 7 traditional districts of Mi'kma'ki, inviting us to be on territory and thanking us for our sacrifices.

5 women ready to go into the woods

Bioblitzing Lichen Hunters

About Last Hope Camp
In 1958, a quarter of all the forests in Nova Scotia were 80 years old or older. Now that figure is between 1 and 5%.

Sometimes you have to decide, this is where you will stand, this small place, this place that in itself stands for all the places people love enough to protect, this last hope that we will together protect the land; care for each other; right the wrongs of the past; look to the future, not of the next election cycle, but the next seven generations.

We have been camped out by a logging road in Annapolis County since December 2nd. We lived in tents through a harsh winter. Some of us are members of Extinction Rebellion, all of us are Forest Protectors. It hasn't been easy and it's not over yet. Why are we here? Why do this to ourselves?

There are as many answers as there are people working to keep the camp going. That's 45 people who have camped, some for a night or two, others for much longer, plus another 50 or so visitors and then the handful of people who schedule and coordinate and communicate. Without them the camp would founder.

Nobody is getting paid to do any of this. People are stepping up because we are sick to death of the destruction of our natural world at the hands of industrial forestry. Most of us live in southwest Nova Scotia, home to some of the best remaining habitat for wildlife. These older forests are also what the consortium of mills known as WestFor has its sights set on.

Rural Nova Scotians are saying "No." You can't have the little that's left. We are sick of promises and no action. Sick of talk and log. Sick of seeing the forests that we regarded as our backyards being clearcut. Places people knew like the back of their hand become unrecognizable moonscapes with a few pathetic clumps left for wildlife. Then the government has the nerve to claim we consented to this destruction because we failed to make a comment on an obscure website where harvest plans nobody has been told about are posted.

We do not consent. That is the message of the Last Hope camp. We do not consent to the ongoing destruction of our forests.

Framed Last Hope poster

And, just to be clear, the Mi'kmaw people never consented. They never signed any treaty handing over the lands of Mi'kma'ki to the Crown. These are stolen lands. Before colonisation, best estimates are that over half of the forests here were old growth, meaning at least 125 years old. Now that figure is 0.15%. To put it mildly, provincial management of so-called "crown land" has been disastrous. It is past time for a change.

This government has pledged to protect 20% of the province's lands and waters in the next eight years. That's great. But neither they nor the previous administration acted on William Lahey's recommendation that there should be landscape level planning for "crown land." Instead harvests continue to be approved piecemeal. The result is "Cut now, Protect later." What will be left to protect?

It's not rocket science. Stop cutting until we decide what areas should not be cut at all. In every corner of this province, people who have known the woods around them their whole lives can identify areas that are most important to wildlife. That is what has happened here around Beal's Brook in Annapolis County. Local people whose families have hunted and trapped and fished here for generations sounded the alarm when they saw flagging go up. They knew this 24 hectare 80 year old forest should be protected. They tried to stop the harvest. Government told them it was too late. But it's not. The forest is still here and so are we.

It is too late for business as usual. It is time to save what we can.

Snowy, sunny, camp site Man and Woman on small wooden bridge

Winter at Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp and a visit by Bob Bancroft and Donna Crossland - can almost hear the rushing of Beal's Brook!

Day 155 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 5, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Woman at an office

At a peaceful sit-in protest at Department of Lands and Forestry in November 2020. Demanding that the Minister of DLF stop ignoring official requests from forest protectors at the Moose Country Blockade at Rocky Point Lake to meet with them.

Nova Scotia Supreme Judge Erodes Right To Protest
On May 4, 2022, in Nova Scotia's Supreme Court, Justice Denise Bourdreau overturned the acquittal of two Extinction Rebellion protesters.

The two, Eleanor Wynn and Kevin Smith, were arrested on November 24, 2020 after they refused to leave the Halifax office of the Department of Lands and Forestry until the Minister agreed to the written request for a meeting made by activists blocking logging roads in New France, Digby County. (The Moose Country Blockade at Rocky Point Lake, in 2020)

They were charged with a summary offence under the Protection of Property Act and fined $237 each. They pleaded "not guilty." On October 13, 2021, their case was heard in Halifax provincial court by Justice Debbi Bowes. They were represented by Jamie Simpson of Juniper Law.

In her November decision, Justice Bowes found the two not guilty. In her decision, she wrote:

"If the legislation was meant to exclude government departments from protest, it should have clearly stated so that the public would have a clear understanding of the law."

"Given my findings and that the act specifically states that there is to be no prosecution for peaceful demonstrations in the vicinity to which the public normally has access, an acquittal shall be entered for both defendants."

Halifax Regional Municipality APPEALED the decision.
(Summary Conviction Appeal #511497).
Justice Boudreau ruled in HRM's favour, finding Justice Bowes made an "error in law" in her earlier decision.

"It is unfortunate that the judge found that Nova Scotians are not permitted to peacefully demonstrate in a public reception area. The issues that Kevin and Eleanor were fighting for are still just as important, and their efforts have helped bring more attention to the plight of our forests and wildlife"
— Jamie Simpson of Juniper Law

"The right to protest is the cornerstone of democracy. Indeed, that is why it was written into the Protection of Property Act. A peaceful sit-in is a respected, age-old way of protesting when citizens feel ignored, betrayed and belittled by their government. When that government is not upholding its lawful duties to Species at Risk, and the world is crumbling in a climate and biodiversity crisis, it is outrageous that our right to meaningful protest is being curtailed."
— Eleanor Wynn of Extinction Rebellion Nova Scotia

PLEASE SUPPORT the campaign to raise funds for legal fees and fines!

Day 153 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 3, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

People walk in Mature Forest

'twas a very good day at Camp . . .
Yellow-bellied sapsucker and Mainland Moose scat and Majestic elder Maples
and Rare Rattlesnake plantain and Fairy puke lichen (kid you not!)

A peaceful frosty morning at camp, yellow-bellied sapsucker tapping away in the distance. Today marks the start of our 6th month here. The forest by Beal's Brook is still intact, undisturbed. Around Mi'kma'ki, people are standing up for nature, refusing to accept plans to log where no logging should happen.

Yesterday we hiked into the area between camp and Lake McEwan, one of those rare areas that is not chopped up by logging roads. The sort of area endangered Mainland moose need if they are to survive and recover. An area, we have learned, where WestFor has plans to build a logging road in from Highway 10.

So, for the last day of the national Bioblitz, we decided to go in and see what was there. Before we even crossed Mary Brown Brook, a small tributary to Beal's Brook, we came across scat from a young moose and, right nearby, tracks in the soft ground. Given the rain we've been having, these were recent.

Continuing through forest recovering from a wildfire 60 or 70 years ago, we climbed to a serene area of old softwoods then emerged into a majestic stand of old maples. Wow was the word of the moment. Sugar and red maples towered above us. The oldest trees were probably around 120 years old. The forest floor showed the classic pit and mound topography typical of old growth forest.

Along with the beauty of nature and the fabulous weather yesterday, there was the delight of exploring in the company of extraordinarily knowledgeable people. Donna Crossland (with a bit of prompting) showed us how to read the forest floor. Standing on a mound formed by the rootball of a huge tree when some long ago storm toppled it, she helped us see the gentler slope formed by the skyward side of the rootball and the steeper slope on the side where the roots had ripped free of the earth. We've all seen trees tipped over by a storm. Donna helped us see how huge some of these trees must have been to form mounds this size. Grandmothers of the forest whose like may not come again. An old forest floor like this, never levelled by the plow, formed by the bodies of the forest ancestors, this is irreplaceable. Whether or not this stand would meet the current and highly debatable definition of "Old Growth Forest," anyone with an open mind standing in the midst of this forest would know this is a place that must be protected.

Though few herbaceous plants were visible this early, Frances Anderson's voice was soon heard summoning Lisa Proulx to check out a patch of the rare Rattlesnake plantain, Goodyearea pubescens. Red maples shaggy with lichens were investigated.

Soon enough we needed to head back, but first a quick trip to the western shore of McEwan Lake where, to round off the day, Frances identified a lichen that only grown on very old decaying wood. It's common name? Fairy puke. Kid you not.

Day 152 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 2, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

Yesterday six of us took part in the national bioblitz. We explored another part of the 24 hectare forest WestFor is still planning to cut, with our government's blessing. And yes, we did find more Species At Risk lichens. Plus other cool ones. Some of us have been bitten by the lichen bug. It was a great afternoon in the woods, fanned out, inspecting the trunks of red oaks and red maples and whatever else caught our eyes. Mosses and magnificent erratics. Wet areas with even older trees. No black flies yet. These woods are easy to move through, the way old forests are. The contrast was obvious when we bushwhacked out through a bit of clearcut.

screen capture of tweet

We will duly report the protected lichens we found to the Department of Natural Resources and Renewables via biodiversity@novascotia.ca as well as to the Atlantic Canada Conservation Data Centre.

Dr. Donna Hurlburt, Manager of Biodiversity in the Wildlife Division of DNRR wrote, after we reported the last SAR finds:

"I checked into how things will proceed at this site with respect to new lichen occurrences. Pending confirmation of ID by a qualified lichenologist, department staff will plot the new occurrences and apply the special management practice buffers. After that is complete, they will hand over a revised harvest polygon to Westfor. I understand that Westfor has already been notified that there are likely additional occurrences and to expect a revised polygon."

In light of further finds and a recent sighting of the about-to-be-declared-Endangered American pine marten in this immediate area, wouldn't it be nice if DNRR asked the Department of Environment and Climate Change to place this forest under consideration for protection? Have we not demonstrated that this little patch of older, undisturbed forest is an oasis for biodiversity in a ravaged landscape?

Unfortunately, in light of the catastrophic losses of natural systems that are already upon us, citizens no longer have the luxury of waiting for foot-dragging governments to fulfill their promises. We must save what we can.

Day 151 Last Hope Wildlife Corridor Camp: May 1, 2022
South Mountain, Mi'kma'ki (Nova Scotia)

High-profile scientific paper highlights effects of forest degradation in Canadian Maritimes
Bird habitat & population declines

screen capture of tweet

A quick thought from this important study. The forestry industry claims Nova Scotia has more forest cover than we used to so it's all good. But that is like saying "Hey, I get 2500 calories a day" without asking where those calories come from. Birds that need old forests have been starved of habitat. Their populations are dropping because they can't live on forest fast food — the young forests that regrow or are planted after clearcutting.

"The Acadian Forest, known for its tree species diversity, has shown pervasive signs of degradation over the last three-plus decades," Matthew J. Betts said. Since 1985, more than 3 million hectares of the Acadian Forest have been clearcut, and much of that area is now dominated by single-tree species or a mix of early successional species.

"Old forest declined by 39% over the period we observed," Betts said. "Over the same period, forest cover actually increased by a net 6.5%. That pattern of extensive harvest of old forest, followed by rapid regeneration of young forest and then subsequent harvest before maturity is attained, seems to be common in many forest regions of North America and northern Europe."

"Species experiencing the greatest decreases in habitat were the golden-crowned kinglet and Blackburnian warbler, with seven species in all showing habitat declines of greater than 25%."

"Overall, our findings indicate broad-scale declines in forest birds of the Acadian Forest, and for most species, abundance is strongly associated with habitat amount," he said. "We expect that similar consequences for biodiversity are in place for intensively managed forests in other parts of the world as well. If all you look at is forest cover, you'll miss the more subtle but critically important role of forest age and type in maintaining biodiversity."
More from Nova Scotia Forest Notes

Protect Last Hope Wildlife Corridor