NSWOOA Update 34
May 29, 2010
902 633-2108

Hello Woodlot Owners!

In this Issue:
A Discussion Article
The Minister Was Listening
September 18 NSWOOA Field Day
The New Executive and the Board
What We’re Working On
Can You Tell the Difference?
How to contact us

A Discussion Article
Did you read Peter Duinker’s article in the May 13 Chronicle Herald? It is titled Biomass Debate Must Branch Out, and it is available as well at the Herald’s web site.
In his article Mr.r Duinker raises many forestry practices that do need to be discussed as they relate to an increased pressure on the forests to supply a new energy driven market for forest products. His stated purpose is to initiate a broader discussion of the impact that biomass harvesting for energy, and he appears to be deliberately provocative in some statements and some omissions. Probably central to his article is the linking of biomass to clearcutting, and to whether coarse (and fine) woody debris is left on site. If not careful the reader might suspect the author is defending clearcutting and dismissing selective cutting as poor practice:
In my opinion, we’ve done more damage to the province’s forests from successive selective harvests over the past few centuries than we have done through clearcutting in the past few decades.
If selective logging is equated with high grading, then the above statement is at least partly true; it does however ignore the fact that much of the best forest land in the Province is in private hands and under sustainable harvesting practices for many generations.
Perhaps the success of the DNR initiated Outreach Program (delivered by the Association of Sustainable Forestry through contract with the NSWOOA and Picea Forestry) for uneven aged management and quality improvement is a comment upon this. Recently three recent workshops have all reported a great deal of enthusiasm for a type of forestry that moves away from the clearcutting of the “past few decades” to a more ecological and holistic approach.
Mr. Duinker may also be poking us with a stick when he suggests “Many forest stands in Nova Scotia are in such poor condition silviculturally that partial harvests would not work well” and “We should remember also that timberland clearcuts are temporary.” Those of us old enough to remember the federally funded forest management plans of the 80’s will recognize that simplistic approach: the only way to improve the quality of the forest is to cut it all down and start over with a plantation. Since that time, it seems from year to year, more and more options are available and more and different ways of improving forests are beginning to be practiced.
Certainly there are many points of discussion in this article, and about what has been left out (like carbon sequestration, water management, etc).
Let’s hear your opinion.

The Minister Was Listening
(The following is the President Austin Parsons’ introduction of the Hon. John MacDonell, keynote speaker at the 41st NSWOOA Annual General Meeting).

John MacDonell has been a friend of NSWOOA for quite a while. I believe he understands our association’s interests in forest certification, uneven age management, Acadian Forest restoration, and biomass. (I would like to say that we applaud his intention of banning whole tree harvesting on both private and public land as a biomass extraction silviculture practice.) And it should be noted that he has been instrumental in establishing the Otter Pond Demonstration Woodlot mentioned above.

Like many of us, he has a definition of sustainable forestry as it applies to the small woodlot owner.

I would like to elaborate on this last point. Here in Nova Scotia, we have a long history of private woodlot ownership. Historically, and recognizing that generalities are always dangerous, the small woodlot owners had a sustainable relationship with their woodlot. They took what wood he needed for building, firewood and barter. Their intention never was to take all, but leave enough for a future supply. They valued the forest as a forest as such as they valued what he could take from it. In short, the woodlot had a symbiotic relationship with the woodlot owners and their families.

More recently, with the establishment of industrial scale pulp and paper mills in the province, the small woodlot owner’s relationship with his/her woodlot changed. In some case, the woodlot became a bank account. Something the woodlot owner would draw upon in one act. A disconnect developed between woodlot owners and their land.

The trees would be taken, the forest removed, and then the ground would be left alone for a few generations where the process would start over again. This relationship is not sustainable. There is no symbiotic relationship between the land and woodlot owner. As a result, one can also question whether the small woodlot owner has lost his/her economic sustainability.

NSWOOA recognizes this problem with present practice and over our lifetime, has tried to change the course. We will continue to act as advocates of our vision. Our members, whether they actively work their lands, or not, believe in the value of the forest, not just the trees. We recognize that the forest has products we all want and use, but we also recognize that we must rediscover the symbiotic relationship.

In this spirit, Minister MacDonell is here today. He is a leader, and makes a difference. We are fortunate to have him with us today and look forward to hearing his words. Minister MacDonell.

NSWOOA Field Day Sept 18
It’s official. The much anticipated field day at Lloyd and Marlene Langille’s Hopewell woodlot is set for September 18. Get up from you chair and mark it on your calendar!
The event, originally planned for last September had to be cancelled due to an emergency in the hosts’ family. This year things are going well and the organizing committee is already at work confirming presenters and attending to details. Check our next newsletter for more specific details.

The New Executive and the Board
The By-Laws of the NSWOOA require that at the first Board meeting after each AGM a new executive has to be elected .
This Year’s Board
President: Mr. Austin Parsons
Vice President: Mr. George Johnson
Treasurer Mr. Tony Phillips
Recording Secretary: Mr. Paul Brison
Corresponding Secretary Mr. Ken MacRury
CWSD Chair Mr. Lorne Burrows

The rest of the Board
Mr. Charlie Baird
Mr. Jack McLellan
Mr. Marc Chisholm
Ms. Barbara Gallagher
Mr. Jamie Simpson
Mr. Wade Prest
Mr. Matt Miller

What We’re Working On
The Directors of the NSWOOA are currently preparing two important presentations .


The original proposal by Nova Scotia Power was rejected by the Nova Scotia Utility Review Board July 2009. New Page estimated that it would have - to increase by 50% the amount of wood it cuts from Crown and private lands. In testimony presented by the Ecology Action Centre to the UARB hearing in 2009, our Association stated, "the NSWOOA does not recommend woodlot owners to allow biomass harvesting on their lands."


We have applied to be an intervener at the UARB hearing. Our committee has to date attended a conference in Halifax hosted by NSPI on their proposal, requested and met with NPPH for an explanation of their "wood supply model" and attended a Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture Information Session on Biomass. George Johnson, Chair of our Biomass Committee, states, "It is imperative that woodlot owners and all Nova Scotians understand the long term adverse effect should the UARB approve a project which is not ecologically or economically appropriate for all stake holders."

The NSWOOA has been invited to make a study on what sustainability means to the small woodlot owner, to the All Party Forestry Committee of the Legislature. This presentations is slated for the early /Fall.

Can You Tell the Difference?
The Category 7 Outreach workshops led by Picea and sponsored by the Association of Sustainable forestry there is a section led by Minga O’Brien on tree marking. The concept is developed and explained in the morning session and followed up in the afternoon by an actual exercise in which participants are invited to form teams to mark those (future) crop trees to leave and those trees that should for one reason or another be removed in the next harvest.
At the local workshop there were quite a few questions on procedure and just what the marking meant. Because there had already been a session on marking crop trees for crop tree release and crop tree improvement, it seemed there was a great deal of marking for different reasons. Fortunately the ASF handout provided to participants, titled Choosing Which Trees to Keep and Which to Take provides an answer:
How is tree marking different from Crop Tree Release?
In crop tree selection, trees are marked for their potential economic value. Tree marking included crop tree selection, but also takes many other factors into account. You might say that tree marking takes a more holistic view of the forest.

In tree marking, trees are always marked prior to harvest. Although this practice is recommended for crop tree selection, it is not required unless you intend to apply for Crop Tree Release under the Category 7 program.
(Used with permission. The complete item is available on line at asforestry.com/Category7program. )

There you have it. If you purpose is to apply for Category 7 assistance you will need to mark crop trees to be released or pruned. In a wider setting, considering all values of the forest, like wildlife habitat, species and age class variety, economics, and everything else, marking which trees to harvest (or marking both which to leave and which to take) is a practice which allows woodlot owners to simplify harvests for themselves or for whoever they hire to do the harvest. It keeps the decision in the hands of the owner and frees the contractor to go ahead and harvest chosen trees without worry of running afoul of the owners plans and values.

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