Healthy Forests – Finding Info

Donna Crossland gave a TREPA presentation on November 25th in Yarmouth. This is some additional information springing from that event.

3.3b Easy Instructions on Obtaining Satellite Imagery for One’s Own Area

By Donna Crossland, Healthy Forest Coalition Email / 22 June 2016

[Those that can create these for other areas of the Maritimes for Healthy Forest Coalition http://www.healthyforestcoalition.ca/ are encouraged to email them to info@healthyforestcoalition.ca. Please name the digital as to place and period of time, and, if so desired, by your name.]

 Instructions were given by Donna Crossland after an email of 30 May 2016 which Donna wrote could  be shared which contained the following:

 Crossland, Donna 2016 Images of Gaspereau Lake, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia shared 30 May 2016.  Left picture is for 2001 and the bottom one is accumulative from 2001 to 2015.

image  image

Crossland, Donna 2016 Images of Cloud Lake, Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia shared 30 May 2016.  Top picture is for 2001 and the bottom one is accumulative from 2001 to 2015.

For those previous aerial pictures, blue indicates recent clearcuts just before 2001 and pink indicates clearing for the given years or years span.

“Here’s how I obtained images:

 1. Go to Global Forest Watch http:      //www.globalforestwatch.org/   (*Note, don’t go to the Canadian site for the interactive map, though there are lots of interesting documents there that are worth downloading and reading carefully.  But the interactive map is on the international website.)

2. Choose GFW Interactive Map

3. On the map legend called “Forest Change”, click “tree cover loss” only.  (It’s too confusing to include “tree cover gain”, and besides we know in NS this would constitute the pathetic shrubby forest growth that covers the landscape after a clearcut and does not provide the same ecosystem services as do the intact/mature forests that were removed.)  You can also play with canopy density in the legend.  I haven’t decided on what is the best percentage to show.  The default is 30 %.

4. Zoom to the area you want to see.  (Choose Canada as Country data on the right hand legend that pops up.)

5. The sliding time scale bar can be stopped and you can take a screen shot anywhere.

6. You can also play with base map layers on the right hand legend.  I’d encourage this.

7. When you have images you like simply choose the “print screen command” on your key board.  (Most keyboards have a key somewhere in the very top row of your keyboard that says “print screen” or “PrtScn”.  Press it with “shift” key or “control” key.  There you go!  Paste it into your power point!  Choose two different time periods and you have a nifty comparison.

Obtaining images this way runs the risk of losing some resolution, so try to zoom in as close as you can to what you want to show.  You can always crop the photo a little afterwards to clean up the image.

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Keep Idling to a Minimum

Winter is coming, and it’s worth repeating some advice I shared last spring.

Want to save a little money and reduce unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants?

Turn off your car’s engine when parked, and leave it off until it’s time to move.

These days, very and increasingly few engines need time to warm up. Warming engines longer than necessary wastes fuel and in most modern cars, excessive idling can actually harm the engine. Even diesel engines don’t need the warming-up they used to need. If in doubt, check your owner’s manual.

In winter, windshields may need to warm up, but scrapers can do most, if not all of the needed work on accumulated frost, snow, and ice, and the use of these implements provides a little exercise!

Cars can get cold in the winter, but for most of us, especially here in the banana belt, the cold is tolerable. Do the right thing for the planet and put on a warmer jacket, instead.

Come summer, air conditioning becomes a temptation for some folks on hot days. Use it as a last resort. The air vents in my Echo have always been enough for me, and opening the windows a crack when the car is parked makes temperatures tolerable at take-off time.

Afraid your car will stall if you turn the engine off? Maybe it’s time for a trip to the garage.

Do you idle outside a hospital entrance? A lot of the gases and particles spewed out by a running engine are colourless, odourless, and tasteless. Consider killing your engine , as there is limited air circulation at the hospital entrance and the health of many of the folks inside is fragile.

Then there are the drive-throughs at many of our fast food establishments. When the line gets long, the time-saving purpose of the drive-throughs gets defeated. Sometimes, the lineup can even impede outside traffic. Try parking the car and walking in to make your order. You may end up saving your time and that of others!

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Some of you may have noticed signs like the above in the area. They are the initiative of the Yarmouth Environmental Think Tank (YETT), an informal group of environmentally-concerned citizens whose membership broadly overlaps that of TREPA. YETT and TREPA would like to thank the Town of Yarmouth, Coastal Financial Credit Union, Tricounty Regional School Board, les Ecoles CSAP, Access Nova Scotia, and Yarmouth Regional Hospital for their participation in this initiative.

Unnecessary idling wastes money and pollutes. That adversely affects public health and accelerates global warming. So please turn your car engine off and idle your car only when you have no choice. The global community will thank you for it; your wallet will love you for it!

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Discussion on the past and future of Nova Scotia’s Forests

Join us for an evening of discussions about our Nova Scotia forests, their past and their future!

When? Thursday, Nov. 24 at 7 P.M.

Where? Beacon United Church Parlour

Speaker:  Donna Crossland, Parks Canada

Donna will be giving a presentation on Nova Scotia Forests: How they once were, and how they should be managed, based on natural disturbances and a desire for an ecologically sustainable future. She will also share a message recently provided to the Premier.

Have you been concerned, or are you questioning Nova Scotia’s forest management practices? Do clearcuts seem inherently ‘wrong’ to you? Explore the Acadian forest through the eyes of a forest ecologist; share the perspective of forest-dwelling songbirds and salamanders, while reflecting on better harvest practices for the Acadian forest.

Donna has an M.Sc. in Forestry from U.N.B., and has researched Acadian forest ecology since 1995, with a focus on historical forest composition and natural disturbance regimes, including fire history. Her research concluded that natural fires were rare in the Acadian forest, but repeated European-caused fires altered vast areas of our forests beginning as early as about 1790.

She contributed to vegetation management planning in PEI and Kouchibouguac National Parks, and has more recently focused on the role of hurricanes in NS forests, as well as forest songbird monitoring as indicators of forest health.

During 2009-10, she served on the NS Forest Panel of Expertise, and co-authored with Bob Bancroft: Forests: Restoring the Health of Nova Scotia’s Forests (available on-line).

Donna currently works at Kejimkujik National Park & National Historic Site as a Resource Management Officer.

All welcome, especially if you are concerned about encouraging sustainable forestry practices!

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Bob Bancroft in Mahone Bay

TREPA is forwarding this announcement.

Bob has been invited by the South Shore chapter of the Council of Canadians to take part in a panel on biomass harvesting. The panel discussion will take place on Nov. 18, 7 p.m. at the Mahone Bay Centre, 45 School St., Mahone Bay.

In addition to taking part in the panel discussion Bob has agreed to be available for a session with South Shore HFC supporters. I have booked the ‘Small Conference Room’ (2nd floor, Left Wing of the MB Centre) from 2:30 to 4:30 on the afternoon of the 18th for an informal discussion with Bob. We have not developed a formal agenda, but are interested in discussing what we have been able to do in the HFC and what we would like to do over the next few months.

Following the afternoon discussion, Bob will probably be invited to join the CoC executive for supper. If you are interested in staying for the panel discussion, we could go to the Mug and Anchor for a pub supper. Let me know if you plan to stay for supper, and I will make a reservation for us.

I am sending this to South Shore supporters because you happen to be within fairly easy driving distance of Mahone Bay, but if you know of other supporters who would like to join us, please feel free to invite them (or ask me to invite them).

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Time to Take Water Management More Seriously

After our water situation returns to normal, we’d better remember and learn from the Drought of 2016, because we can expect more of the same in future.  Climate forecasts for southwestern Nova Scotia call for warmer, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers.  Doing our best to cut our carbon emissions is still the ethical thing to do, but we also need to start adapting to the likely future.

That translates into assuring that we have a continuously adequate supply of water of suitable quality, while we still can.  This column will share some thoughts, in that regard, but a complete list of ways of adapting to climate change hasn’t been written yet.

Dried up deep ponds and streams were a common sight late this summer.  We’ll see them more often …

Dried up deep ponds and streams were a common sight late this summer. We’ll see them more often …

 “Waste not, want not” will always make sense.  Turn off faucets when you aren’t using the water, even during tasks like brushing teeth and washing dishes.  Get leaks repaired.   If your toilet flush uses more water than needed, put a rock or a brick in the tank.  Re-use waste water, when possible.   Use automatic appliances like washing machines and dishwashers sparingly, and if you are buying such an item, let level of water consumption influence your purchase.  Think about how your showering and bathing habits can use less water, and reduce your consumption accordingly.  During the summer, consider swimming, instead; however, if you do use a lake or river for your bathing, go easy on the soap and shampoo, because such stuff can pollute.  Limit or stop nonessential use of water, particularly when water shortages look likely. 

Start saving rain water.  It’s free, and can be put to many uses, other than drinking.  Think ahead, and start collecting as early in the spring as is safe. 

Rain barrels put under eaves are an easy way to collect water.  The runoff can then be put to various good uses, rather than contributing to flooded basements and undesirable runoff.   

Too many bait barrels get used once, then tossed.  Some end up at the Transfer Station on Hardscratch Road, where they get turned into garbage or recycled plastic. They make excellent rain barrels, and are common near many wharves and fish plants.  Just ask for permission before you remove them! Otherwise, Waste Check can sometimes advise of availability of barrels on its Facebook page.     

You could go big-time and have a cistern installed.  That is a more expensive proposition, and installation would need to follow local by-laws and provincial regulations.  However, a well-installed cistern could look after all your water needs, aside from drinking. 

One caution:  the asphalt in shingles contains chemicals which are not good for the health.  It is probably prudent not to water vegetable gardens with the water off a new roof with asphalt shingles.

Drilled wells tap deeper, older water sources, and are less vulnerable to short-term weather fluctuations.  A couple of cautions are in order, though.  As some folks have discovered, the quality of ground water is greatly affected by the rock layer in and next to which it lies.  In particular in Nova Scotia, arsenic levels in some ground water is above safe drinkable levels, and less frequently, nasty stuff like lead and cadmium can make problems.  So testing of water from newly-drilled wells is prudent.  If unacceptable levels of such things occur, treatment is possible, but it costs.

Otherwise, the relative stability of deep ground water can mislead us into thinking that water supplies are infinite.  They aren’t and if we use ground water at a rate greater than it is being recharged, we are looking at future trouble.  Many studies have been done on ground water in various parts of Nova Scotia, but gaps exist, and as our climate changes, some findings from older studies may no longer apply.   We in the Tri-County region are still in good shape, but we need to stay that way.  We should not begrudge some of our tax dollars going to support ground water monitoring and the publication of easily-understood documents which can give us a more concrete idea of how we should be managing our ground water.

Looking after our ground water also means using our land and our resources in ways which retain water and keep it unpolluted.  We need our roads, towns, farms, and industries, but they need to be managed with good water stewardship in mind.  Forests and wetlands keep water supplies stable and pure. We need to reduce our addiction to clear cutting.  Farms should follow voluntary relevant guidelines as well as mandatory regulations, and should be encouraged and supported to do so, as appropriate.   We need to value all land and give maintaining and re-using buildings greater priority and building new ones less.   Lake, stream, and river shorelines should be left as undisturbed as possible.   

In light of the likely changes coming to our climate, we all need to give water management greater priority, and encourage our elected representatives to do the same.

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