Friends of Redtail Society AGM will look at the bio-mess of biomass

 

The Friends of Redtail AGM will shine a spotlight on biomass and its impact on the forests of Northern Nova Scotia.

In a presentation entitled “From annihilation to value added: putting forward a new vision for Nova Scotia’s forests”, keynote speaker Danny George will talk about what he is witnessing in the woods that he has earned his living from for years.

From Guysborough, Nova Scotia, George has spent the past 40 years actively involved in the forest industry, largely in Nova Scotia but also working in the forests of British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

George started working early in life, at age 12 he was dragging Christmas trees then trapping and skinning furs for a local fur buyer. He bought his first chain saw at age 15, and by age 18 he had achieved a daily production level of 10 cord cut and stacked.

“This was the beginning of a production mentality based upon high production of bottom-end products,” says George.

By the late 1980s, he was fully invested in the industry. “I owed a quarter of a million dollars at 17% interest.” He soon realized that he had traded his freedom and had become a slave to debt. A familiar cycle that others in the industry know all too well.

By the mid 90s, when the mill cut quota and wood prices, George decided it was time to sell off. He headed out west and took a job hand falling trees at a remote camp. Here he had more time to think, something he hadn’t had much of working 100 hour weeks to keep the bills paid. He began to believe that the only opportunity in Nova Scotia’s forests was hardwood. The following spring he drove to the Northeast U.S. and began his introduction to selection harvesting of tolerant hardwoods.

“I knew I had two objectives; to ensure sustainability of the stand I was cutting and secondly to maximize the value of the trees harvested. My career as a logger had taken a new direction and my heart was in it. ”

This is a philosophy that stands in contrast to the industry-driven practices of Nova Scotia’s Department of Natural Resources. Today, George speaks out courageously about an industry he relies upon to earn his living.

“We have the largest biomass plant in all of North America and it’s on an island that’s being fed by forests that are already overcut.”

“The biomass plant was sold to us as using wood waste but it is taking top quality stands and I believe that should be the basis of a lawsuit,” asserts George.

In addition to his own select harvesting work and firewood business, he consults with clients focused on high-value hardwood production. Other consulting work has brought him into direct contact with the state of the privately owned forest land in north eastern Nova Scotia. Something that gives him great concern.

George’s presentation will discuss the current processes that are at work in actively devaluing Nova Scotia’s forests and, in fact, annihilating them, to talking about his own contrarian vision for a value-added forest industry in Nova Scotia and how we might attain this.

The Friends of Redtail Society Annual General Meeting will be held Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 1:00 pm at the Gammon Centre in the village of Scotsburn. The keynote address will take place at approximately 2:00 pm. The Society welcomes and encourages all to attend. For more information contact info@friendsofredtail.ca.