NSWOOA Update 11: February 2008

Hello Woodlot Owners!

There's No End to It! Responsibility , that is. There is no end to responsibility for woodlot owners. There you have it; it's been said, straight out. Besides all our usual responsibilities, woodlot owners now have an additional one.

The new responsibility is to voice our vision of what forest policy and practices should be in Nova Scotia in the future to the review of natural resources policy being conducted by Voluntary Planning. Previously reviews were conducted by DNR itself, and while there were opportunities for woodlot owners and citizens at large to make presentations and submissions, the knock is that these inputs were then almost completely ignored when DNR consulted industry and made its final policies and regulations.

Under pressure from the NSWOOA and many other groups and individuals, the Government of Nova Scotia has opened up its review by asking a third party, the Voluntary Planning organization, to conduct the review and to be involved in distilling the input from the public, woodlot owners and industry into recommendations for the government to consider.

This is where our responsibility as woodlot owners comes in. Individually and through our organizations, we have the responsibility to make presentations and submissions to this Voluntary Planning panel.

Hearing a vision or recommendation once is not enough for such a panel to think it important, no matter how valid, utile or insightful it is. Hearing a chorus of similar views and concerns does influence the end results. A veritable groundswell of voices repeating and stressing these views and recommendations will demand inclusion in the final product.

The NSWOOA is preparing its vision of the new forestry with the values, policies and regulations that we feel should be in the final recommendations. As individual woodlot owners you have not only the opportunity but—some would say—the duty to make your individual ideas known. They reinforce each other. Hopefully every woodlot owner can have an impact by making a presentation directly or having input to a woodlot owners' group that is making a presentation.

Here is a partial list of topics on which woodlot owners might give advice for policy development:
  • Property rights
  • The need for contractors who will harvest wood by methods other than clearcutting·
  • Herbicide spraying
  • Using wood to generate electricity or bio fuels
  • Hardwood management
  • Whole-tree harvesting
  • The need for value-added industries
  • Niche markets
  • Biodiversity
  • Wildlife protection
  • Changing the structure of the forest industry
  • Riparian zones
  • Rural development
  • Marketing systems
  • Silviculture assistance
  • Availability of seedlings
  • Acadian Forest restoration
  • Management plans
  • Technical standards for silviculture
  • Subsidies to large corporations
  • Clearcutting restrictions
  • Enforcement of environmental protection regulations
  • Carbon credits
  • Dedicating more funds for Category 7 Uneven Age Management
  • Species utilization
  • Exporting raw material

You are encouraged to make every effort to put forward your ideas to the review process.

Annual General Meeting News: Some Changes

The NSWOOA's Annual General Meeting, to be held on April 12 in Great Village, will have the title "Hot Topics of 2008-2009." Among topics to be addressed is the presentation the NSWOOA will be making to Voluntary Plannin, as described above. We are now preparing recommendations that will be presented to our Annual General Meeting for discussion and possible adoption.

In addition, we expect to have presentations and discussion on issues such as biomass and the recent FSC certification of the former StoraEnso mill in Port Hawkesbury, which now belongs to NewPage Corporation. Members will also hear an update on the Uneven-Aged Management Outreach Project, which is described below.

This is an important meeting, and we hope all members will want to attend in order to learn about these topics, join the discussion, and participate in the business meeting as well.

Registration will begin at 8:30 am with the business meeting to start at 9 am. The program will last until 2:30 pm with breaks for coffee and lunch. Registration is $20 per person, which includes lunch. The program will be held in the Masonic Hall, 30 Station Road, Great Village.

Take our survey and have a chance to win a prize

The NSWOOA has begun work on an exciting new campaign to promote uneven-aged management techniques among woodlot owners and contractors. The Uneven-Aged Management Outreach Project now has a telephone number (902-673-2278) and email address (outreach@asforestry.com). We hope all woodlot owners and contractors who are interested in uneven-aged management or the Category 7 Quality Improvement Silviculture Program, which provides funding for treatments associated with uneven-aged management, will call or email us so that you can receive our packet of information materials and be notified of upcoming educational sessions.I

f you call the outreach number, you'll be asked if you want to take a survey. Please help us make sure we collect information from as many woodlot owners and contractors as possible, particularly ones with an interest in uneven-aged management. Everyone who takes the survey will be entered in a prize drawing to be held in September, and we have some great prizes lined up.

Also in the planning stages are workshops and field days to be held all over the province. Be sure to get on our mailing list in order to get an invitation to one of these meetings.

The Uneven-Aged Management Outreach Project is being conducted by NSWOOA under a contract with the Association for Sustainable Forestry and is funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. Our partner in delivering services under the contract is Picea Forestry Consulting and Woodlot Management of Bridgewater, NS. Information about the project will be posted both at the NSWOOA website and at the ASF website, http://www.asforestry.com/Category7program.htm

A Membership Benefit

Any NSWOOA member attending the April 12 meeting is encouraged to set up a display booth for any timber or nontimber product or service provided. Of course you can provide business cards and fliers for those in attendance, whether you have a display or not.

Some Thoughts on Forest Biodiversity

The following is an excerpt from Jamie Simpson's new Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide for Woodlot Owners in the Maritimes (p.55). Keep your eyes open for this excellent book when it comes out for sale.

Genetic diversity is not a common topic of discussion of woodlot
management. Nonetheless, its importance to forest health is immense. Sufficient
genetic diversity means there are enough individual differences within a species
that it has a chance to adapt to a constantly changing world, where failure to
adapt means failure to survive. … In making decisions about tree cutting and
planting, woodlot owners collectively help to shape the genetic diversity of the
Acadian Forest system. …

These little differences within each individual are important. Combined
they are a storehouse of 'possibilities' that can allow a population to respond
over many generations, to changes in the environment. So long as there is
sufficient genetic diversity, some individuals will have the traits necessary to
survive environmental changes and will pass these traits onto the next
generation. (Used with permission).

So, what provisions have you made for genetic diversity on your woodlot? Let us know if you have had any interesting and successful projects to encourage genetic diversity.

Changes in Forestry Ownership and Their Possible Impact on Forestry and the Environment

By Director Gerald Romsa

There are some data appearing in the literature that ownership of large blocks of Forest Land (five thousand acres plus) in the NE United States (Northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine) has shifted from forestry oriented owners to non forestry owners. In Maine by 2005 around 40 % of the forest land was owned by enterprises which have short term (10 year) business horizons. Land is treated by a new breed of landowners as a commodity to be sold for the highest price in the real estate or other markets. Forestry and environment groups are becoming quite concerned. Such changes are leading to less predictability in the future of the forest and in biodiversity practices. Many present forestry and related conservation practices are not fully applicable to this shift in ownership patterns. The new owners can argue they are not involved in the forestry sector. The question is, how does one mitigate potential downsides and maintain the forestry and environmental sectors in the face of changing interests of new forestry owners. In the North Eastern forests mentioned above some approaches have been to purchase large tracts of environmentally sensitive and genetically desirable tracts by having the new owners sell the desired parcels at the average selling price to conservation groups.

We need to examine the question of form of land ownership and its impact on Forest Policy.

Is there a pattern of forestry areas being bought up (1000 acres or larger) by owners whose interests are not primarily forestry related? If so are these owners from the Maritimes or elsewhere?
  1. What is their commitment to an environmentally sustainable forestry?
  2. Will present or proposed forestry policies work if forest areas are owned by non forestry interested owners whose desire for income arises from non forestry practices?
  3. What could such changing land ownership practices do to an environmentally sustainable forestry and to environmentally and biologically sensitive, threatened and unique areas?
  4. What could such changes in forest ownership do to the evolution of a carbon neutral society?
  5. How does Nova Scotia protect the Forest, the environment and threatened and unique habitats from changes in forest ownership or land owners philosophy?
Are the following feasible?
  1. Require new owners of larger blocks of forest land to sell to the Province or Conservation groups a portion of the land for the average price they paid?
  2. Is it feasible to use an urban planning approach that requires owners proposing a new land use/management policy to donate a portion of their land to the public (Province/County/Municipality/Conservation-Environment Group)?
Your input and reaction is invited to the email address below.

Invitation to a CAPE Meeting

CAPE (Citizen Action to Protect the Environment) invites the public to a presentation, "Forests for Life", on Thursday, February 28, 7:00 pm, at the Dr. Arthur Hines School in Summerville, Hants County. Concerned about clear-cuts? Worried about more herbicide spraying near your land? Wondering what forest management has to do with climate change and what you can do to help? Come and hear from the Ecology Action Centre's Standing Tall: Forests for Life Campaign. This hardhitting presentation gives you the facts about forestry in Nova Scotia --and suggests how we can achieve real changes that will preserve and protect our woodlands, water, and wildlife. Between April and June of this year, consultations will be held around Nova Scotia through a process called Voluntary Planning to find out what we think should be part of a new 10-year Natural Resources Strategy. Come and learn the different ways that you can have your say at these consultations and help determine what is done about forestry, mining, parks, and biodiversity in N.S. You can have your say about what happens in our forests, and help address the issue of climate change. Refreshments. Storm date is Tues., March 4. For more info, call Barbara at 633-2513, Merton at 633-2086, or Marilyn at 633-2051.

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 or, for member services, 902-673-2278). 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, newsletters and mail outs, our column in Atlantic Forestry Review, the Annual General Meeting and this website.