NSWOOA Update 30

January 20, 2010



902 633-2108

In this edition:
New Year’s Wishes
Plantation Woes?
Causes of stunted tree growth
Annual General Meeting news
Membership Renewal forms
Yurt Workshop Report
How to Reach Us.

Hello Woodlot Owners:

From the Board of Directors to all Woodlot Owners, their families and their friends: every good wish for joy, health and prosperity in the New Year!

Have You Seen...?

Wade Prest recently presented the Board of Directors with a short item titled “Growth check in high-elevation forests tied to nutrients,” which appeared in the August 2009 Information Forestry publication of the Canadian Forest Service. The short un-credited item reviews work done by foresters and mentions that plantations of conifers in B.C. have exhibited a particular growth pattern. They grow quickly and well for a short period, then seem to suspend growth: “The removal of forest cover may create such stressful environments that young trees cannot survive, or that they grow so slowly that expectations for the future may be compromised,” one forester reflects. It is noted that the number of trees suffering this problem tends to increase over time.

A second factor in the suspension of growth is identified a lack of nutrients. Once the initial leaves, branches and stumps have been broken down, competition for nutrients between the planted trees and ericaceous growth of nitrogen fixing plants (blueberries, for example) seems to cause the plantation’s suspension of growth. As the younger generation would say,“Duh!”

So, what does this item about high altitude plantations in B.C. have to do with us? Have you noticed the many plantations in Nova Scotia? Some of us have plantations on our own woodlots, and of course there are the large scale industrial plantations we see along the highways, signs proudly posted by the various forest companies. Supposedly a plantation of 30 years would have a good percentage of the trees at the 6” diameter size. Ideally in another 30 years, with thinning, and intensive care, a diameter of 30” is possible at age 60. 12” is common. Have any of these plantations mentioned above had this kind of growth? Or do they shown a suspension of growth? Or a slowing of growth? It did not take long for the directors at the meeting to identify several suspect sites. How about you?

OK then, we may all admit that some plantations have not done as well as expected. In the 1980’s when Federal Government monies were available, many woodlot management plans called for plantations, and we were all advised that there would be another crop to harvest in 30 or 40 years. How are we doing? Are these trees ready yet? If not, maybe those who calculate the sustainable harvesting rates and practices for our province may need to sharpen their pencils and do a serious re-think.

Stunted Growth
By Patricia Amero, Picea Forestry Consulting
Stunted growth in any plant is usually due to nutrient deficiencies, especially nitrogen but also calcium. The important nutrients besides nitrogen & calcium would be similar to common garden fertilizer- phospherous & potassium amongst others that are in the soil such as magnesium.

One of the most important nutrients, maybe even more so than nitrogen, would have to be calcium because calcium (like in humans) allows for more efficient uptake of all nutrients available in the soil. When the balance of calcium in the soil is altered & reduced basically trees are no longer able to get as much nutrients from the soil. These deficiencies causes trees to become stressed thus stunted.

Rapid water flow, associated leaching, disappearance of fungi, particularly Mycorrhizae, all as a result of intensive, large scale harvests and acid rain are all major contributing factors to the stunted growth we are observing. It is not one particular thing but rather a man made "perfect storm" of factors that are contributing to stunted growth of a range of species & not just in plantations. We as well as an array of woodlot owners have observed and we continue to observe dieback in mature Sugar maple as well as White ash, species which along with Red spruce tend to be more sensitive to lack of nutrients. With extreme biomass extraction (meaning the forest floor is basically swept clean, as in the picture of the latest AFR magazine) will certainly compound the problem making it much worse than it already is. Add rutting and soil compaction to the equation and we are basically killing all life in the soil, as acid rain is doing to our lakes & rivers. Definitely not a pretty picture for future generations.

Advanced Notice: Annual General Meeting

Make your plans to attend the April 10 NSWOOA AGM in Old Barns. Registration will begin at 8:30 and the meeting at 9:00. Circle that date on your calendar now.

Members who are on line will receive notice of the meeting, the proposed agenda and speakers by email, and all others will receive details by Canada Post. These notices will also include a notice of motion to amend the by-laws.

And of course we will provide details here in the Update.

Time to Renew Memberships

Our Update readers fall into two categories: those who are members of the NSWOOA, and those who have been added to our circulation lists for a year by invitation from the Category 7 Outreach Project as conducted by Picea Forestry. Our membership categories include regular members (those who own and/or operate woodlots, and associate members who do not own forest land but support our efforts and initiatives. It is that time of year for members of both categories to renew, and for others who wish to receive our newsletter and support our cause to sign up. Your yearly dues cover membership from Jan 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.

Yurt Workshop Report

We had a fantastic workshop, a very diverse group from all over (Virgina, ON, and NS) We had mild weather and lots of fun building a 12 ft yurt wall. At the end of the workshop many of the participants were surprised how easy and accessible yurt building is. Our next workshop Jan 22-24 is fully booked. Our next series of workshops will be in January 2011.

Alex and Selene Cole

Lines of Communication

Members are encouraged to contact the Board of Directors, the Executive and other members through our email address (nswooa@gmail.com) or by phone (902-633-2108). 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 mail outs, our column in Atlantic Forestry Review, the Annual General Meeting, and the website: http://www.nswooa.ca