NSWOOA Update, August 2007

Hello, woodlot owners:

Johnny Cash
Johnny Cash may not be with us anymore, but his signature song " I'll Walk The Line" still is. Perhaps we woodlot owners identify with this song, or at least the title, more than most other songs, as it seems we are always walking the line. Sure there is the literal line, the boundary line that always needs cleaning and remarking, but also the line between harvesting it all now or doing what is truly sustainable and good for the planet by leaving some for tomorrow. Also that line between drudgery and renewal, between back breaking work and the peace of the woodland. You get the picture. It seems woodlot owners are faced with many trade-offs, or lines. Good luck as you walk the lines on you woodlot.

Director George Johnson refers to walking the line in his woodlot this way: "I feel the decision to clear cut versus selection management is akin to the young man who believes he will not live to be forty so he spends every cent he makes now. Later he realizes he is not only past forty, he is past his working years, and he has set nothing aside. When his friends are going south for the winter, he bemoans his hard luck and expresses jealousy to compensate for his lack of foresight and planning."

A Global Forest Convention?
One of our directors has forwarded an article which is drumming up support to oppose a proposed global forest convention. He recommends that we study the article, and the issue. At a time when "global" has come to mean "lowest common denominator," we should be cautious of what covenants our government signs us up for. It's a long article so we do not include it here, but please check it out at this website. We would like to know what you think of it.

Seminar News
Wade Prest informs us that his crop tree management seminar is a go. He is finalizing details, and we will get them out ASAP. Meanwhile, if interested contact us at nswooa@gmail.ca. There will be a registration fee, and a limited number of participants. We have some names already.

Acadian Forest Seminar
The first Acadian Forest Science Conference will be held October 10-13, 2007, in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The main goal of the conference is to showcase scientific research on the Acadian Forest, increasing awareness of its character and potential. The conference will also provide a regional forum for the exchange of ideas among scientists, forestry professionals, land stewards, environmentalists, policy makers, aboriginal peoples, and others interested in our forests. Online registration and abstract submission are preferred. Seating is limited so please register early. For more information, please click on the following to visit the web site.

We need to recommend a variety of people to sit on the Voluntary Planning Natural Resources Strategy task force. NSWOOA members should consider themselves and/or ask neighbours and friends. Names should be passed along to Voluntary Planning staff. The selection of individuals will be crucial.

A Piece of Your Mind
The NSWOOA is a member of the FSC Maritime Steering Committee of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). We have supported this movement, and some of our members have certified their woodlots. Is it time to promote FSC products in some organized manner, either among our members or to the population at large? If so, how should this be done? Give us a piece of your mind. Email your views.

Herbicide Spraying*
In our July Update (#4) woodlot owners were encouraged to spend time with family members in their woodlots. Before doing so in August and September, you may want to check this website to see if herbicide spraying applications are under review in your area. Applications to spray thousands of hectares of NS forests have been received. Information such as the area (in hectares) to be sprayed, the communities where the spraying is being proposed, the type of application (aerial or ground), the type of product to be applied, and the approximate start date for the spraying will be provided.

The Department of Environment and Labour informed Director Barbara Gallagher that it is a requirement for applicators to provide pre-notification when it is requested. This should make it easier to avoid spray sites if you have concerns about health impacts from accidental exposure to herbicides. For example, if family members have medical conditions (such as asthma, or other respiratory problems, chemical sensitivities, receiving cancer treatments, etc), or include children or pregnant women, you will be contacted before the spraying takes place if it is requested. Others may want pre-notification if worried about drift near FSC certified woodlots, or organic crops, so that they can monitor buffer zones and wind conditions.

To request pre-notification, you are advised to contact the Approval holders once the Approval is issued and a pdf copy is placed on the website. If you are unable to access this information on a computer, updated information should be available from your closest Department of Environment and Labour office.

* The NSWOOA endorses truly sustainable forestry management, which includes diversity of species, a multi-generational forest, low impact forestry, and ecodiversity that make the application of herbicides unnecessary.

A Contractor's Views
A local forestry contractor was contacted for his views of the state of the industry in Nova Scotia just now. There is more than a hint of irony/sarcasm in his summary of what contractors are facing, and his own involvement. Sometimes humor is the best way to deal with serious topics.

This is his report:

Not much to report on in the forest industry. Prices for studs and logs are down to where you should leave them standing if you can. Low grade pulp prices have picked up to almost a break even place. The bugs are eating well, so wood quality is down Expenses are up, making it hard to make a living. On the positive side, work is picking up with many of the other contractors going out of business.

What Holidays?
Sure, it is the dog days of summer, but that does not mean your interests and concerns have been ignored. Yes, things do come to life again in September, stirred no doubt by lower temperatures and the return of children to schools. In the meantime, meetings go on, councils meet, working sessions are called, and so on. President Lorne Burrows has represented us on the Stora FSC certification hearings. Particularly active on our behalf has been Ken MacRury, VP, who has been temporarily representing us on the Sustainable Forest oversight committee for the new dedicated funds for Section 7(c) silviculture work. We thank Ken and the other Board members who work for us over the summer when it would be easier to wait until September.

Here is Ken's report:

Someone wants to spend money on your woodlot!
There have been two meetings of the Category 7 ad hoc steering committee so far. The primary objective has been to finalize the process to get the new category (7) funding in place by completing a contract between DNR and ASF (Association for Sustainable Forestry) and secondly to complete development of a job description for the Outreach Coordinator that will be hired to promote and oversee the new program. Both of these documents are now finalized and will be presented to the ASF Board on Aug. 7 for their approval. The budget for the program is $570k for this year and next. Of this, $443k is allocated for actual silviculture treatments. This is a very large amount when you consider that based on best available records only $84k was spent on category 7 treatments over the last three years. The Outreach Coordinator position is critical to the success of this program and woodlot owners will have to be made aware that funds are available to assist them in upgrading their woodlots.

I also attended my first meeting of the FTAC on July 26 at the DNR Training Centre in Shubenacadie. There were a number of items on the agenda, most of which will take some time to become familiar with. The one item that was of most interest was a report by DNR on the Category 7 changes and the new program with dedicated funding that will be coming on stream this year. It appears to me there is a significant trend to encourage uneven aged management on the part of DNR and while clearcuts remain at 91% of all areas harvested this is down from 98% ten years ago. The new emphasis on category 7 will hopefully move these figures even further in favor in uneven aged harvest practices.

Participation on the FTAC, with the appointment of several new members, has become more diverse and over time I expect the committee will change the emphasis of the technical standards to favor more uneven aged management of the forests. We can all hope and work to better the health of the forests.

Want to know how to access these funds? Contact Ken at nswooa@gmail.com

Lines of Communication (more lines for woodlot owners)
Members are encouraged to contact the Board of Directors, the Executive and other members through our email address ( nswooa@gmail.com) or by phone (902-633-2108). Please feel free to use these methods to keep us informed of what is going on in your woodlot, in your community or area. We try to keep you informed through these updates, through newsletters and mail outs, our column in Atlantic Forestry Review, the Annual General Meeting, and this website.

Paul Brison
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