NSWOOA Update, November 2007

Hello woodlot owners:

Last month’s Update brought you news that Flora Johnson is now providing the NSWOOA with membership services. This gives us pause to consider questions about membership. Who is a member and who can become a member? Why would anyone want to be a member of the NSWOOA? What services do the members need?

The NSWOOA website gives us an interesting place to begin. On its home page there are two bits of information in the description of our organization. First is the fact that “the NSWOOA is the oldest independent woodlot owners’ organization in the Province.” While having been around for a long time, since 1969 or so, is a remarkable feat, that in itself is not a sufficient reason to belong to it. That many years of promoting woodlot owner causes does earn some credit, however, and the experience and knowledge that has been handed down to the present organization is of great value.

That word independent in the above quote is also significant. As the Association receives no government or industry funds, we are more free to voice our own opinions, suggest new options, and even promote alternative practices in the forests--for example, low-impact forestry, sustainability, Acadian Forest restoration, and uneven-aged management.

These terms remind us of the second part of that description of what we promote: a view of woodlots that is “environmentally centered, socially responsible, and economically balanced." Yes, the social issues are of great concern to us, but so are the economic issues. A balanced approach. It is our role to represent membership views on these topics to the public, to the media, to government, and even to other organizations.

Through group action, these ideas and concerns are carried forward more effectively than individuals acting alone.

Still On the Topic

You will have noticed that the question on membership services is not fully answered above. Certainly representing our members to boards, committees, hearings, etc. is a membership service. So are field days, the AGM , etc. Yet the nature of all of the things we do for our member is constantly evolving. You can help with this, by communicating with us. Email us, call or talk to a director. What services do we need to provide?

The question of who can be a member is more straightforward. There are three categories of members. The first is the regular member, which means a person who is a woodlot owner or a person who operates a woodlot. Nowadays “operating” a woodlot may mean more than being a harvesting or silviculture contractor or being the person who looks after Uncle Jim’s woodlot. What do you think? The second category is affiliated memberships. These memberships are usually for other groups or organizations that wish to support the Association and do so by paying for a membership. Although there could be hundreds of people represented through this one membership, there is only one vote. The third category is associate membership, and it is available to members of the public who wish to support our values, actions, and efforts but are not woodlot owners or operators.

Incidentally, membership is not automatic upon payment of dues. Bylaws require the Board of Directors to accept or reject each applicant through a duly passed or rejected motion.

Acadian Forest Conference

We are pleased to hear that the Conference was a success, and are pleased with the amount of NSWOOA participation. NSWOOA members attending included members Dan Pittman and Matthew Miller; board members Minga O’Brien (an event organizer) and Austin Parsons; Past Presidents Wade Prest and Tom Miller; and President Lorne Burrows. Austin Parsons presented a paper on carbon credits, and Wade Prest was a panel member. And there may have been more that we do not know about right now.

Below is one participant’s reaction to the conference:

The Acadian Forest Science Conference was held in Fredericton, NB, at the Hugh John Fleming Forestry Center on October 10-13 and was a well-attended affair with an announced attendance of about 165. For someone who thinks a lot about the Acadian Forest these days, it was interesting to see the level of research going on in the woods around us. I was surprised at the number people that must be out, during the summer field season probably, not doing the type of work that a woodlot owner and operator often takes for granted as the only "woods work" to be done. No log brows for these folks and a lot of talk about climate change and its effects on our forests.

I was worried that "The Science" of it all might be a little much for me to absorb and I was right. Lots of information was over my head and as I don't know the Latin names for the various tree species, it was frustrating. Many others, however, did get the data and there was some good discussion, particularly the panel on the final afternoon which included our Past President, Wade Prest, providing woodlot owner perspectives of concern to all of us.

It was a full two days with some field trips on Saturday which sounded interesting, but I headed for home in the early AM. More work has to be done, I feel, around the topic of restoration of this long lived Forest type. The good examples are few and far between and many people are interested on how to get headed in the right direction on their woodlots. A whole new bunch of Science!

Tom Miller

Who’s calling, please?

Ring! Ring! Ring!


“Hello. I got your name from someone who said that you sell wood. Got any firewood for sale?”

“What are you looking for?”

“I don’t think I have enough firewood for the winter. I need another two cords. Dry. Cut and split. Can you deliver?”

“Sorry, but I don’t have any wood now. Dry wood is scarce. Anyway, I sell in 8’ lengths. I will have some later in the winter. I suppose that is too late for you?”

“It’s awful hard to find wood anywhere right now. Know anyone else who has any?”

This phone call and many like it are typical of woodlot owner communications with the community every Autumn, usually just after the first few nights of below zero weather or the first snowstorm. Perhaps this is why one local man refers to all humans as ants or grasshoppers. It is ironic, if not disappointing, to hear the surprise in some voices when they learn that the price for seasoned firewood is more than the some firewood purchased green or freshly cut. Somebody has to finance the woodland operations and the curing process though, and it seems a hard pill for some buyers to take.

Subsidies and Such

Everyone will have seen or heard of the Provincial Government plan to help the forest industry survive the “perfect storm” of a rising Canadian Dollar and slumping American housing market. The NSWOOA will be closely following the new Forestry Transition Program announced by the Department of Natural Resources on Oct. 12. As part of the new program, the province will be absorbing the full cost of private woodlot silviculture under the Forest Sustainability Regulations. This means an additional $6 million per year for 2007-08 and 2008-09. Public consultations and surveys have consistently shown that the public supports uneve-aged multi-species forest management. If the public is assuming the burden of the silviculture programs, perhaps the program should reflect public preferences. The NSWOOA believes that some of this new funding should be directed toward an expanded program to promote, train, and educate woodlot owners to carry out more uneven-aged management.

Category 7 Materials Now Available

Materials for the Category 7 Quality Improvement Silviculture Program have just been released and are now available for download at the website of the Association for Sustainable Forestry. Under this program, $443,000 will be made available over the next two years to help Nova Scotia woodlot owners practice uneven-aged management using associated silviculture techniques: crop tree release, crop tree pruning, and selection management. The package includes (each in a separate PDF file) a cover letter, application form, claim form, signing authority form, and criteria for crop tree release, crop tree pruning, and selection management. For additional information, please see the ASF website.

How To Find FSC-Certified Wood

The Standing Tall Campaign for Environmentally Responsible Forestry is maintaining a list of woodlot owners supplying FSC-certified wood. See their website for more information.


By now all members should have received a copy of our new newsletter. If you haven’t, please let us know at nswooa@gmail.com We’re interested in hearing your comments.

This site is being updated regularly. Look around for the latest news, copies of previous email updates, an article with photos about last fall’s field day, a history of the NSWOOA, and other interesting stuff.

We want to hear from you. Please contact us through our email address, by phone, or by mail. Keep us informed of what is going on in your woodlot and in your community or area. Let us know what you’re thinking.

Many thanks to Flora J. who contributed items for this Update.