Stakeholders vs. the State: Proposed Logging near the Tobeatic Wilderness Area

by birdsandpalmtrees on October 10, 2017 - 10:38pm

The CBC news article “Proposed clearcut near pending expansion of protected wilderness area sparks concern” discusses a proposed 20 hectare logging harvest adjacent to 150 hectares of wilderness area awaiting protected area designation by the Nova Scotia Department of Environment. The stakeholders involved include local residents and recreationalists; environmentalists and environmental organizations; aboriginals and the state. Local residents and recreationalists are concerned about clear-cut logging destroying an area that they frequent and appreciate for aesthetic and recreational purposes. Environmentalists and environmental organizations are concerned about the negative impacts of clear-cutting on of biodiversity and wildlife habitat. The article discusses one environmentalist’s opinion, stating that she believes that because the proposed logging area is in close proximity to the Tobeatic Wilderness Area, it “is too ecologically significant not to protect”. Chris Miller, executive director of the Nova Scotia chapter of The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, questions, “if they’re having to come right up to the boundary of the protected area, is that a broader signal that the amount of harvesting that’s taking place is unsustainable?” The article does not discuss aboriginal interests aside from briefly mentioning the fact that a statement from the Department of Natural Resources includes the Mi’kmaq as a stakeholder who needs to be considered when making a final decision about the logging. The lack of discussion of Mi’kmaq interests weakens the article. Aboriginal interests are an essential factor to consider when discussing resource management decisions in the settler colonial state that is Canada.

The article aims to inform readers of the ecological significance of the wilderness area in question and to discuss the concerns of stakeholders. The article does this by presenting readers with arguments of stakeholders who oppose the proposed logging. The Department of Natural Resources states that the Tobeatic Wilderness Area “is among the most significant and undisturbed places for wildlife, biodiversity conservation, and wilderness recreation in Nova Scotia”. Despite the department’s recognition of the non-utilitarian importance of the area, they are considering logging due to the economic benefits.

Currently, this area is designated as a protected area, meaning that the state recognizes the non-utilitarian importance and inherent right of this wilderness to exist. However, the state also wishes to reduce an area of this wilderness to a commodity. Not only is there conflict between the state and other actors, there is conflict within the state as well. There is a conflict between the Department of Natural Resources, which has an interest in logging, and the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, which seeks to extend the Tobeatic Wilderness Area when mineral rights on adjacent areas expire. This situation exemplifies a value conflict because the different stakeholders in this scenario value the wilderness for different reasons.

Clear-cut logging is ecologically damaging and therefore a poor management practice. Selective logging has ecological pitfalls as well, but it does leave parts of the ecosystem intact, so while its not good for wildlife, it is better than destroying an entire area of forest. If a forest must be logged, it would make more sense to do it in such a way that the forest retains some ability to regenerate itself. If a forest has been clear-cut, it is extremely difficult for that lost habitat to reestablish itself. With such an ecologically important area in question, the best management decision would be to leave it alone. But if this forest must be cut, selective logging (despite the problems is causes) would be a better alternative to clear-cutting.

References:

Smith, E. (2017, October 09). Proposed clearcut near pending expansion of protected wilderness area sparks concern. Retrieved October 10, 2017, from http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/tobeatic-wilderness-area-propo...