NSWOOA Update, October 2007

Hello, woodlot owners:

This past summer provided an opportunity to visit Newfoundland, and of course a woodlot owner would be expected to check out the forests!

Ninety-two percent of that island's forests are Crown Lands, so there is no real woodlot owner culture there. Grey and dying spruce was noted scattered all along the Trans Canada, virtually from ferry terminal to St. John's. It seems they may have some of the same insect and climate challenges we have.

History books describe Newfoundland's forests as dominated by pines, and many stories recorded in the variety of books on Newfoundland verify this observation. However, today's visitors would have a difficult time spotting any pine that were not in obvious small plantations. Near Glenwood, Central Newfoundland, a Bowater Company Road permitted access deeper into the forests. There between kilometer 14 and kilometer 16 (distances are posted) a few medium sized pines were noted. Smaller pines and seedlings clustered around the larger pines. Obviously these trees had been spared when the surrounding area had been harvested. Why? Around Nova Scotia it is common to see pine left on acreage that has been otherwise clear cut, but the situation was different there. A local man who runs a processor in the woods near this area explained that they, harvester operators and contractors, were forbidden to cut pine. "If Forestry checks the worksite and finds a pine tree cut, you get a $500 fine," he explained. Those contractors and their operators have to be commended, as does the province's protection policy, for their efforts to protect such a valuable tree species. Whether we here in Nova Scotia would be as successful protecting a tree species miles deep in the woods is a question to ponder.

Here at Home

Speaking of grey and dying spruce, NSWOOA President Lorne Burrows has been noticing that there are dead and dying spruce in many places throughout the province. Some areas are affected more than others.

Is this an issue we should be following? How are woodlot owners dealing with this problem on their lands? We would like to start gathering information on this issue. Talk to a director, call us, or use our email address.

Acadian Forest Science Conference

Minga O'Brien, one of the organizers, tells us that there are a number of spaces available for the big conference slated for Oct. 10-13 in Fredericton. Especially she warns us not to be put off by that word science, as the idea of the conference is to bring us practical and useful information that we--ordinary woodlot owners--can use on our land. The public forum and field trips should make this a useful conference. For more information visit the website.

Category 7 Silviculture

Director Austin Parsons is now our representative on the oversight committee that administers the new dedicated funding for Category 7, Forest Quality Improvement, silviculture treatments. This category includes crop tree release, crop tree pruning, and selection management for tolerant softwood, mixed wood, or hardwood stands. It is more or less up to woodlot owners and the contractors who work suitable lands to make sure that these funds are used, and used effectively. High demand for these funds will show that a permanent and growing fund is needed. The NSWOOA supports woodlot owners who wish to avail themselves of these funds and is taking steps to familiarize members with the process and regulations. Stay tuned, or contact us directly.

A Rose is a Rose?

Shakespeare asked the question "What's in a name?" At its Sept. 20 meeting, the Board of Directors wrestled briefly with this question.

For some time, it has been apparent that using our full name on a crest, badge, or other item is difficult because the name is so long.Some members thought we should use only "NSWOOA," while others proposed adopting the brand name "NS WOODS" as a short way of designating our Association. In the end it was decided to consult you, our members, for input and reactions. What are the arguments for and against? (Shakespeare's answer, of course, was that "a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.") Let any of our directors know your thoughts; inform us by telephone or email. Perhaps you have a logo or emblem idea that we should consider.

Stora Sale

Like everybody else, the NSWOOA is waiting to see whether the sale of the local Stora mill is going to be a good thing. The concern for jobs at the mill is a very real worry, but our concerns do not end there. Not only has the contracting industry already suffered a major hit, but there is also great concern for the woodlot owner. In any event, there is at present every reason to view the sale in a favorable light, and to hope for the best.

Tax Changes for Firewood Suppliers

As of June 21, 2007, any wood vendor that is HST registered is required to provide the customer with a rebate of 8% of the purchase price of firewood delivered to a qualified residential property.

This is because of recent changes in the Point of Sale Rebate portion of the Nova Scotia Government's Your Energy Rebate Program. Since Dec. 1, 2006, the program has given a rebate to residential energy customers equal to the provincial portion of the HST charged on their home energy purchases. Until recently, purchasers of home-delivered firewood had to fill out an application form and send it along with their receipts into Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations to receive their rebate.

With changes to the program made on June 21, vendors are now responsible for providing the 8% rebate directly to qualified purchasers. Once the rebate has been issued, the vendor has up to 24 months from the date of sale to file a claim for reimbursement from the government. A vendor may file up to four claims per month. As part of the program, any HST-registered vendor who delivers firewood to qualified residential customers must register with Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. If you have questions about the program you can call (902) 424-5200 in the metro area or 1-888-928-8080 (toll free).

Improving Membership Services

The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Flora Johnson has decided to help us with membership services. Her job will involve preparing and circulating newsletters and notices for meetings, acknowledging membership applications (providing new members with by laws and memoranda of association), tracking membership and other such duties. If you have questions about your membership, please contact Flora at 902-673-2278 or by email at the NSWOOA email address. Thank you, Flora, for accepting this challenge and bringing your skills and abilities to our cause.

Can You Hear Us?

Thanks to the diligent work of Flora Johnson we are adding new email addresses to our mail out list. Some members may have received this update via email for the first time this month. If you are not receiving it by email and would like to join them, please let Flora know. We will not give your email address to anyone outside of the Association.

Good News

We received word last week that Bill MacKay has come through his surgery and is on the way to feeling better. So far he admits to being well enough to work on his computer, but he is not yet up to walks in the woods.

Pam Langille writes that they have caught her cancer in its earliest stage, and her prognosis is good. She very much appreciates all the support her friends and acquaintances give her. We look forward to further positive reports.

Lines of Communication

Members are encouraged to contact the Board of Directors, the Executive and other members through our email address 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, community, or area. We try to keep you informed through these updates, newsletters and mail outs, our column in Atlantic Forestry Review, the annual general meeting, and this website.