Monday, November 30, 2009

What does bioenergy forest harvesting look like to you?

The following is a guest blog post from Jamie Simpson, Ecology Action Centre

Forest biomass is being touted as a renewable and green energy source in Nova Scotia. It's also being championed by some as a way to help meet the province's renewable energy target of 25% by 2015.

But how green is it? I recently toured a biomass harvest carried out by Northern Pulp in central Nova Scotia. It was the worst 'harvesting' I've seen in my time as a forester, and a blatant transgression of the NS Watercourse and Wildlife Habitat Protection Regulations. Is this the future of "green" energy in Nova Scotia?

I have posted photos of the harvest site so you can see for yourself.

Northern Pulp is an affiliate of Atlas Holdings LLC and Blue Wolf Capital Management LLC. (Atlas Holdings LLC • One Sound Shore Drive, Suite 203 • Greenwich, CT, USA 06830; Phone: (203) 622-9138 • Fax: (203) 622-0151). The Chief Operating Officer for Northern Pulp is Mr. Wayne Gosse, tel: 902 752 9167. On March 26th, 2009, the NS Government loaned Northern Pulp $15 million, and called it a good investment.

Northern Pulp has a license to 80,000 hectares of Nova Scotia's Crown land, and has an agreement to manage Neenah Paper's 195,000 hectares of private land. The harvest in these photos was carried out on Neenah's private land.

This operation by Northern Pulp is certified as "green" by SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative). The 2008 SFI audit report stated that "The audit found that Northern Pulp Nova Scotia Corporation’s SFM system: (1) was in full conformance with the requirements of the ISO 14001 and SFI standards included within the scope of the audit, except where noted otherwise in this report...". The minor issues the audit team had with Northern Pulp had nothing to do with poor harvesting practices. The report does note, however, that "Northern Pulp has significantly increased the amount of on-site chipping that it undertakes."

Please feel free to pass these photos on; they are an embarrassment to Nova Scotia, but need to be widely seen.

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