NWOOA Update 19: December 2008

In this issue:

Greetings to new readers
Membership drive and chance to win a prize
Notes on uneven-aged management
Certification news!!!
Nagaya? Yes, Nagaya
Excerpt from Restoring the Acadian Forest
Honor in the Woods
How to reach us

Hello Woodlot Owners!

What Can You Do?

At a public meeting several years ago, Will Martin was asked how big a woodlot one had to own before one had to make some of the hard management decisions that Will had outlined to the audience. As a forester, management plan writer and NSWOOA spokesman, he was considered the expert, and 50 or so listeners expected to hear something profound, something new and exciting. Will, who is of considerable height, seemed to make himself stand even more erect. He paused just a few seconds, then answered, "One tree." When the laughter died down, he explained that basically forest management consists of making a choice about each and every tree. After a while one got better at it, and did not make so many wrong decisions. At any rate he reminded the audience, "There are only four things you can decide to do with a tree: cut it, leave it, girdle it, and prune it."

One can of course make only one decision about the whole woodlot, such as to clearcut or the other extreme, to never touch it. Most of us fall somewhere in the continuum, somewhere on the scale between the two extremes. And as we go along in the forest, we learn that one can cut to harvest, cut to release, cut to convert, cut to encourage regen. Likewise one can leave a tree for future harvest, for standing deadwood or for habitat. Perhaps for biodiversity. The point is, we should take a look at these decisions we make. What kind of a balance are we striking? Are we harvesting enough to make some profit? Are we leaving enough for the soil and the ecosystem? Yes, Will, the concept is simple: Four things we can do to a tree. But as you also added in that presentation, not so simple that one can avoid looking at the larger picture.

Christmas Greetings

The Board of Directors of the NSWOOA extends to you wishes for a blessed and peaceful holiday season. May you spend the holidays with friends and loved ones, and may everyone keep safe and well.

Membership drive and chance to win a prize!

NSWOOA memberships begin and end on January 1 each year, so this is a good time to renew if you are already a member or join if you're not. To encourage you to send in your memberships early this year, we are making a special offer to the first 6 people who send us a cheque for their 2009 memberships. The first person to send us a cheque will receive a copy of Jamie Simpson's new book, Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide for Woodlot Owners in the Maritimes (for an excerpt, see below). The next four people from whom we receive a cheque will receive one of our fine NSWOOA baseball caps, pictured above. Several other caps will be drawn for at the Annual General Meeting in April, from among those who renewed early. Memberships are $30/year. Our address is Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association, Box 823, Truro, NS B2N 5G6. If you contact our member services coordinator, Flora Johnson, at 902-673-2278 or nswooa@gmail.com, she will be happy to send you a form

Please note that our member subscriptions to Atlantic Forestry Review begin and end on May 1. Subscriptions must be paid for no later than the middle of April. Subscriptions are available to NSWOOA members only at the special rate of $15/year.

UAM Notes

Forester Patricia Amero of Picea Forest Consulting was the coordinator of the Uneven-Aged Management Outreach Project that concluded at the end of October 2008. In order to continue the educational effort that began with the Outreach Project, Patricia has very kindly offered to write notes on UAM for our updates. We are very grateful to her for this contribution and for her commitment to good stewardship of the Acadian Forest.

By Patricia Amero, RFP

There are two main approaches to forest management—even-aged management and uneven-aged management (UAM)—although sometimes people practice a mixture of the two. Ultimately the choice of which approach to use will depend on forest condition and management objectives, and can change over time because of circumstances (for instance, devastation caused by hurricane) and/or as management objectives change.

One important difference between UAM and even-aged management is that whereas even-aged management tends to focus on "stands" (conglomerations of similar-aged trees of similar species), UAM tends to focus on individual trees within a particular area, with a goal of growing high-quality trees that will have high value when harvested. This allows the woodlot owner to practice selection management, earning a continual modest income over time while maintaining other forest values such as wildlife habitat and recreation. In contrast, with even-aged management, entire stands are likely to be cut at one time. This may produce a high financial return in the year the harvesting is done, but other values may be sacrificed and the stand may not produce income again for decades.

In UAM, areas within a woodlot are separated into management units based on ecological factors such as site and soil conditions, ecotype, and previous disturbance/harvest practices. A key consideration is the presence of potentially high-value trees (often referred to as crop trees) and potential for growing such trees. Intermediate and mature crop trees are assessed based on considerations such as straightness/form, vigor, lack of limbs, lack of scars or other defects, and ultimately species marketability now and into the future. But it is also important to recognize potential crop trees that may be regenerating under canopy, particularly where openings have occurred allowing sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor. This requires knowledge of tree silvics (what our various native tree species need to grow and flourish), natural succession patterns (or stages of forest development from early to late stages), and the disturbance regime that is natural to the ecotype and ecodistrict where the woodlot is found within the Acadian Forest Region.

Here are some good resources on tree silvics and Acadian Forest ecosystems. The following can be purchased from the Nova Forest Alliance (for more information email Terry Stanislow,terry@novaforestalliance.com):
Forest Ecosystem Classification of Nova Scotia's Model Forest. An edition for the central region and interim versions for the eastern and western regions are available. A final version is expected in 2009.
A Guide to Identifying and Managing Nova Scotia Hardwoods.

The following are available free:

Field Manual for Forest Ecosystem Classification. Although this is available for download here, it is a very big file. Single copies of are available free of charge by writing to: Library, Dept. of Natural Resources , P.O. Box 698, Halifax, N.S. B3J 2T9; e-mailing nsdnrlib@gov.ns.ca; or from local offices of the Department of Natural Resources.

Forest Soil Types of Nova Scotia: Identification, Description, and Interpretation. Available online here. Single copies are available free from the same source as the field manual listed above.

Tolerant Hardwood Management Guide. Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources Report FOR 2007-8 No. 84. Available online here.

Silvics of North America. Vol. 1: Conifers, Vol. 2: Hardwoods. Agriculture Handbook 654. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. Available online here.

• Interactive Guide to Common Trees of Nova Scotia. Available online here.

For more resources on uneven-aged management, see the right side of this page.

Certification News!!!

NSWOOA President Lorne Burrows confirms that the NSWOOA, working with Nagaya Forest Restoration Ltd., has signed a contract with DNR to bring five new NSWOOA member woodlots into certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The project will cover most of the costs to the landowners and is funded from the Community Development Trust. Interested members and potential members should contact the NSWOOA quickly. There is the possible opportunity of expanding this initiative in the near future, so we need to demonstrate demand for the funds. Therefore we would like to build up a list of those interested in having their lands FSC certified. Call the number listed at the end of this Update, or contact us by email.

Nagaya? Yes, Nagaya

Update readers will recognize the name Nagaya from past editions of this newsletter. Some may be wondering just what this entity is. The following is a snapshot of what Nagaya is and does.

Incorporated in 1999, Nagaya Forest Restoration Ltd. helps qualifying woodlot owners in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island become certified by the FSC. This is achieved through membership in a pool of lands that is administered by Nagaya. Because Nagaya has Group Forest Management and other recognitions offered by the FSC through its certifying body, SmartWood, all participants in the Nagaya-managed pool have FSC certification. Both wood and non-timber products from these woodlots are FSC certified, and customers can buy these products with the assurance that they come from healthy forest communities.

William McKay is the President and Owner of Nagaya. He graduated from the University of New Brunswick in 1977 as a forester with specialization in wildlife management. Through continuing course work, Bill has added appraisal, law, engineering, biochemistry, and land management to his knowledge base. He recognizes the interconnectivity of the natural world, the need for healthy and resilient systems, the relationship people have with forest communities, the importance of the long view, and the positive impact that healthy forests can have on the governance and socioeconomic circumstances of peoples' lives.

More than 8,000 acres are now certified through the Nagaya pool, and 30 families, businesses and social organizations now participate. Thanks to Nagaya, consumers can now buy a bottle of maple syrup, a nested set of Shaker boxes, hardwood and softwood flooring, firewood, tone wood, turnings, dimensional lumber, household goods and quality cabinet stock from Nagaya Pool Members who collectively refer to themselves as the Acadian Forest Families.

Branches and Tops

The following is excerpted from Jamie Simpson's book Restoring the Acadian Forest: A Guide for Woodlot Owners in the Maritimes. The book is due to be published this month. Meanwhile, Jamie is taking orders for the book at this email address bocabec@gmail.com. The price will be $20, including shipping.

"Whole tree harvesting, or taking everything from the stump up, removes 100 to 215% more nutrients from the forest than removing only the stem of the trees and leaving the tops and the branches. The branches also provide shelter for wildlife and protect the forest floor from compaction, erosion and excessive heat."

Honour in the Woods

Eastern Shore Forest Watch has released an excellent DVD on forest values and practices. This video features interviews with quite a few NSWOOA members and others who are making a difference in the forests. It is a high-quality production, and an excellent gift for the woodlot owner on your Christmas list, for your children or grandchildren that will need to know these things in the future, and of course for yourself. Cost is only $10. Contact person is Keith Kerr at 902-845-2458.

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 or in your community or area. We try to keep you informed through this website, newsletters and mail outs, our column in Atlantic Forestry Review, and the Annual General Meeting.