May you have a joyous and peaceful Christmas, and may you be richly blessed in the New Year.
Nontimber Forest Products
By Dave Parker, Director NSWOOA
Many forest landowners have a growing interest in ways to diversify income from their lands without resorting to the now traditional clearcut even-aged model of forestry. The decades that are required to convert damaged stands to their Acadian Forest roots may mean a long period between paydays. Here are a few possibilities for producing income that do not require significant timber harvesting.
The options available to generate income can be divided into two categories: goods and services. Goods are the more traditional items and generally have established markets and pricing. They also will likely have more competition in the marketplace. These include fir brush for Christmas wreaths , swags, etc., and of course maple products if your holdings have suitable stands. Rustic furniture made from excess young growth is in growing demand and really is only limited by one's imagination and talents. Stout walking sticks for hikers and gardeners as well as the traditional rustic canes also have some market. An unusual forest "product" that has enjoyed some past success is the sale of chanterelle mushrooms which grow abundantly in some forest types in wet seasons like 2007. For those more agriculturally inclined, there are several types of fungi that cannot be grown domestically. They must be grown on decaying hardwood stumps or logs. I suspect this would be both an interesting and challenging way to market low-grade poplar logs being remove from regenerating sites. Finally, if you live near an urban center, there is some market for tree and shrub seedlings. These may be transplanted to containers as wildlings or they may be grown from seed. The increasing awareness of climate change and all things natural bodes well for the future of this market.
The sale of services by landowners is certainly less well established and yet may now offer more potential than the sale of goods. As our society becomes more urbanized and ever busier the peace and solitude that many of us treasure in our woodlands are becoming a marketable service. Possibilities here include the leasing of camp lots to other users or the construction and monthly rental of facilities. Facilities can range from the most rustic camps to elaborate chalets. Potential clients include snowmobilers, hikers, birdwatchers, hunters, cross country skiers, and people who just want to get away from it all. One can tailor their business to the nature of the property as well as the type of clientele they wish to do business with.
Several landowners in my area are awaiting the development of wind energy turbines on their lands. These turbines involve an access road and a relatively small footprint for the tower while leaving the remaining area free to grow forest. This idea, however, is not compatible with the one discussed in the previous paragraph!
Finally, although our woodlands provide the essential services of purifying our air and filtering our water, we cannot yet sell this service. In the near future, however, landowners who commit their forests to long term sustainable Acadian Forests may get paid for sequestering carbon. This will be a vital component in the battle against global warming. I suspect that small landowners will need to band together to provide a larger unit to interest large corporations who need to purchase carbon credits. Yet another good reason to belong to NSWOOA.Breaking News
- ASF: Association for Sustainable Forestry (the agency that administers forest sustainability funds for registered buyers who do not have their own programs)
- EAC: Ecology Action Center
- FPANS: Forest Products Association of Nova Scotia
- GPS: Global Positioning System (used in plotting woodlot treatments)
- FSC: Forest Stewardship Council (the agency that certifies forest-management practices)
- rS: Red Spruce, our provincial tree
- AFR: Atlantic Forestry Review
- Neenah: the pulp mill at Abercrombie
- CFS: Canadian Forest Service, a Federal agency
- RPFANS: Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia (credentials)
- PCT: precommercial thinning
- NFA: Nova Forest Alliance (Nova Scotia's Model Forest)
- CPAWS: Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
- NSSA: Nova Scotia Salmon Association (woodlot owners are not the only ones concerned with the forest's health)
- VP: Voluntary Planning (the organization which will conduct the forest strategy review in Nova Scotia)
- CWSD: Central Wood Supply Division (the now dormant division of the NSWOOA that marketed pulp in Central Nova Scotia)
- CFIA: Canadian Food Inspection Agency ( the federal agency behind the brown longhorn bark beetle exclusion zone)
- Nagaya: Bill McKay's company that through Smartwood provides FSC certification to woodlot owners.
- AAC: Annual Allowable Cut
- NSDNR: Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources
12-15: You're up on your lingo.
8-11: A brush up would be a good idea.
0-8: Better shut off the chain saw and study the literature.
Check This Out
Some points made can be quite disturbing; for example, the author writes, "Content for decades to send low-value-added lumber and paper products to a hungry U.S. market, and encouraged by government policy to maximize jobs in far-flung mill towns, our companies long ignored the need to innovate and modernize. We are now left with the most unproductive forest products sector in the developed world, unprepared to contend with either new competition from developing countries or a weak U.S. dollar."