NSWOOA Update 25: July 2009

In this issue:
NSWOOA field day
Congratulations to the new minister of the Department of Natural Resources
Insect report from a NSWOOA member in the field
Comments on Acadian Forest restoration from Wade Prest
Uneven-aged management notes from Patricia Amero
How to reach us

Hello Woodlot Owners,

Well, the government has changed, “turned over” as they used to say. You, the reader, a woodlot owner, have received an invitation from the new Minister of Natural Resources to discuss the forestry industry. You know that Industry has well-prepared presentations and easy access to the minister. In preparation to the meeting, you make some notes on the present issues and opportunities.

You also know that contractors are going out of business, mills have been laying off workers or closing down. There is a great pressure for the new minister to boost forestry employment and to make changes that will make it easier and cheaper for large forest-based companies to operate profitably. The current pressure is to develop a biomass industry, and it is being sold as a “green” alternative. Large tracts of land are being sold off, possibly to foreign owners or to developers for non-forestry use. Nova Scotia is at the very bottom of the list for the number of jobs created per ton of timber harvested. What about climate change? Beetles? And the list goes on.

On the other side, DNR has recently put forth initiatives in multi-aged forest management, silviculture options, and certification. A review of forest policy has been under way, the first phase of which makes it very clear that there is a great deal of public interest in forestry, and a desire by the public to be involved in forestry-management decisions.

You will have half an hour. What will you advise the new minister?

Please let us know.

NSWOOA Field Day September 19, 2009
Woodlot of Marlene and Lloyd Langille
Hopewell Area, near New Glasgow

If you’re a landowner with a bog, swamp, marsh or other wetlands on your property, a mid-September field day in Pictou County will be of particular interest.

That’s because John Brazner, wetland and water specialist for Nova Scotia Environment, will be on hand to listen to comments or concerns and answer questions about a draft provincial wetland policy.

Mr. Brazner will be one of several presenters at a Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association field day on Saturday, Sept. 19. The event will be hosted by Lloyd and Marlene Langille of the Hopewell area, near New Glasgow.

Wetlands provide a wide range of ecosystem services, including cleaner drinking water, carbon storage, and wildlife habitat, often for rare or endangered species.

“For small woodlot owners . . . some of the key roles and services associated with wetlands include moderating the effects of large rains by storing water, stabilizing runoff and minimizing erosion and flooding,” said Mr. Brazner in an email interview.

“The policy will represent a commitment to managing Nova Scotia’s wetlands in a consistent manner and to balance the desire for maintaining a high level of wetland integrity for future generations with the current need for sustainable economic development in our communities,” said Mr. Brazner. “Ultimately, the policy is intended to prevent the net loss of Nova Scotia’s valuable wetlands.”

Mr. Brazner said that net loss doesn’t mean every wetland will be protected. He said government will continue to base project-development decisions on avoiding wetlands or requiring mitigation efforts or compensation when avoidance isn’t possible.

Developing a new wetland policy by the end of 2009 is a legislated commitment under the province’s Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act. There will be public consultation before a policy is finalized.

More details on the field day, which will feature local food for lunch and wagon rides to different parts of the woodlot, will be released over the summer. The event will be held on a 130-acre mixed woodlot where the Langilles have been harvesting annually for more than 40 years. They’ve done so mainly through selection harvesting—cutting trees singly or in small groups—so wood volume has been retained and cut areas are vigorous and healthy with natural regeneration.

Also on the field day

NSWOOA member Rodney Spencer has agreed to participate in the field day on the Langille woodlot by demonstrating his Wood-Mizer bandsaw. He will bring some jigs to show how woodlot owners can produce value-added products, such as siding for buildings, etc. Rodney is well known for his sawing services and has been featured in the Update in past issues.

Information on registration, times, and the agenda will follow in a future Update, as well as directions to the site. Please make an effort to attend, and bring as many woodlot owner neighbours and interested folk as possible.

For more information on the field day, please contact George Johnson, chair of the NSWOOA field day committee, at 897-3750 (cell) or by email.


The Board and members of the NSWOOA offer hearty congratulations to John MacDonnell on his recent appointment to the position of Minister of the Department of Natural Resources. John’s approach to the management of the forests and the forest industry may well be different from that of many of our past ministers, as he began his experiences with woodlots as a horse logger. We wish him well in his new position and look forward to working with him for the betterment of the forests and woodlot owners.

Wildlife Report

Actual correspondence from a NSWOOA member in the field/woods June 10 .

"The mosquitoes have basically joined in with the blackflies, and now horseflies are part of the mix. Let's not forget the ticks. It depends on where you are and what kind of woods you are in. The no-seeums should arrive soon. Thanks goodness for this cool, damp weather. Really!! "


The Board and members of the NSWOOA extend sincere sympathies to former NSWOOA president Tom Miller and his family on the passing of Tom’s father.

Something to Think About

Jamie Simpson’s book Restoring the Acadian Forest contains several interviews with woodlot owners who have been involved in the restoration struggle. One interview is with Wade Prest:
“Prest has seen a gradual decline in the value of woodlots in the Acadian Forest causing higher volume harvesting of low value wood. He believes this trend towards quantity over quality prevents woodlot owners from managing their woodlots the way they would like. Instead they are forced to compete with contractors harvesting wood fibre on sites that would otherwise be uneconomical to harvest. ‘This leads to the fact that the benefits of owning land are being taken out private ownership … and being transferred to big companies, and this is not good for the forests or society.’” (Page 106. Copies of this book are available from Jamie.)

UAM Notes: Using silviculture funding to help offset restoration costs, part two
By Patricia Amero, RPF

In the previous newsletter, I discussed the silviculture treatment of fill planting—particularly underplanting, a type of fill planting that involves planting desired species under partial tree canopy. For this issue, I will discuss how fill planting can be used together with selection management to help you offset the cost of restoration and improvement efforts.

Selection management is part of the silviculture funding Category 7, Forest Quality Improvement, of the province’s Forest Sustainability Regulations and is available through the Association for Sustainable Forestry’s silviculture program as well as various Registered Buyers’ silviculture programs. Selection management involves the periodic harvest of trees that will not improve in growth or quality by means of individual tree selection and/or harvesting small groups of trees through patch cuts of various sizes. The aim is to create growing space for various aged and sized trees that are vigorous and are of good quality, often referred to as crop trees, promoting their growth and quality development, producing high-value forest products, and encouraging the regenerating class. Selection management is generally practiced in uneven-aged stands, but it also can be used to achieve multi-aged and structured forest conditions.

Take, for instance, a forest stand that contains an upper canopy of mature trees such as Balsam fir, White spruce, Red maple, and scattered Yellow birch and White ash with an intermediate class of immature spruce, Red maple, and some birches. Primarily Balsam fir, Red maple, and some Yellow birch are regenerating under canopy. A selection harvest could be used to salvage a portion of the maturing Balsam fir and White spruce while leaving partial canopy to provide conditions in which shade-tolerant species would be encouraged to fill in and establish.

However, because Balsam fir and Red maple are fairly shade-tolerant and aggressive, it might be difficult for Yellow birch regeneration to emerge and might be especially difficult for other desired species such as Red spruce, Hemlock, Sugar maple, and White ash to fill in, due not only to the prevalence of the Balsam Fir and Red maple but also because of the lack of desired seed sources in the area. In this case, fill planting (in the form of underplanting), as discussed in part one, can be used together with selection management to help move succession along for the next-generation forest.

Funding is available for both treatments as long as the criteria associated with each of these silviculture treatments are achievable. The criteria for fill planting, silviculture Category 1, were outlined in part one. In order to qualify for selection management, Category 7c, the following criteria must be met:

  • Three different height classes must be present with one height class being at least 10 meters (33 feet). (Height classes are essentially the same as age classes.)
  • At least 80% of the area must be covered by trees, but the height doesn’t matter.
  • After treatment, the basal area must average 16-30 m2 per hectare, of which 5 m2 per hectare must consist of qualifying shade-tolerant species.
  • After treatment, areas of dense young softwoods 3-7 meters (10-23 feet) tall and hardwoods 6-9 meters (20-30 feet) tall must be spaced 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart.

For more detailed information regarding selection management and criteria to be eligible for silviculture funding, please refer to this website. For a pdf on uneven-aged management, click here.

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 these updates, newsletters and mailouts, our column in Atlantic Forestry Review, the Annual General Meeting, and this website.