NSWOOA Update Newsletter 49

NSWOOA Update Newsletter 49
January 19, 2012
902 633 2108

In this Issue:
- Hello Woodlot Owners
- AGM advanced notice
- We Get Answers
- We Get Questions
- The NSWOOA asks the Premier
- Time to Re-Up
- How To Contact Us

Hello Woodlot Owners!
Biomass, Forest Health, and Carbon Storage

The December issue of Natural Resource Canada’s Information Forestry focuses on energy from biomass. The first article, “Forest Biomass: a Source of Bioenergy...” sounds promising when Brian Titus states that Canada produces 40 million tonnes of biomass per year, and that using half of this amount to generate energy would produce 6% of our energy requirements.
One assumes, of course, that he refers to the higher efficiency boilers now available and not the likes at the bioenergy plant that Nova Scotia Power is planning to use at Point Tupper. Nor does the article deal with the question of whether burning wood for electricity is even carbon neutral.
This article does report on Canada Forest Service’s study of the potential to remove slash from harvest sites without harming the soil’s ability to sustain a new crop of trees- one assumes of equal vigour and worth with the previous crop. Of course removal of trees in operations such as clear cuts (now called intensive harvests) will change the micro climates, soil content, erosion patterns, wildlife, and so on. Titus notes:
However, unlike the industrial process, there is no such thing as waste in ecology, The biomass removed contains nutrients, as well as carbon- an energy source for some organisms- and can provide habitat for a variety of other organisms if left in place. Researchers are asking: can slash be removed without compromising ecological processes? If so, how much can be removed and from what kinds of sites?
Titus goes on to explain the type of testing now being done, the development of a possible “nutrient calculator” and so on.
Immediately following the Titus article, Barb Crawford interviews soil chemist Caroline Preston about her work on carbon storage by forests and forest soil. Preston says that we need to know more about how stable carbon is in the soil, how much will turn into CO2 as we upset the balance (by harvesting biomsass), the effect of climate change on the gain or loss of stored carbon, how much more can be stored and what the saturation point is.
Well, you get the idea: This is all heady stuff. It’s nice when Science (or anyone) admits that it doesn’t know everything yet, and dangerous when it thinks it does. What does Preston feel about it all?
Some of this stuff doesn’t seem urgent right now, but when you look at what other countries are doing and what the effects of soil warming could be in the long run, it’s important.
We leave with this: How much of this science is being done in our Acadian Forest, and what are we to learn from it?

Annual General Meeting
Advanced notice is given for the annual general meeting of the NSWOOA in Old Barns on Saturday April 14. If you have input and suggestions we would like to hear before anything is finalized. We expect some guest speakers on some significant topics, some presentations on the Board’s activities, some awards, some time to get to know one another and of course, that pesky business meeting. Mark this date on your calendar now, and come to share, participate, listen, learn and get to know us.

We get Answers
In our last issue Mark Alvis asked about black locust trees.

I don't know anyone purposely practicing coppicing on any real scale, though there maybe a few in agricultural areas. It takes time and utilizes more land than traditional fencing and takes up room that can be profitably cultivated which is why hedgerows are a diminishing commodity in the UK. It's harder to move machinery around them, they're rigid in stature and long lived. Let's not forget also that coppicing also grew out of the demand and realities of medieval England for firewood and collecting rights by villiens and cottars. Larger stock was the property of the manor or religious house and only smaller wood (often wind throw) was legally collectible. Also smaller withrods were/are utilized for wattle and daub, fencing and the like. Tools were not as formidable as the people and large timber use, though common, was much more expensive in labour, tools etc. then smaller stock (send the kids out!). Also, finally, coppicing was relatively cheap (cheaper than fencing before wire) if labour was cheap and people had more time than money then. Coppicing also encourages edible wildlife (rabbits (NA has hares which don't build warrens)), eggs, pigeons all fare for the table and a curse for the farmer.
Black Locust is, according the Independent Sawmill & Woodlot magazine the BEST wood by weight for btu's (firewood). I mill some but probably not more than a thou or so off our own lot. It has a greenish cast to it when fresh (or shaded) milled and a slightly rank smell. Called 'poor mans teak', I'm told it was brought to NS as a boat-builders wood for things like deck timbers and superior rot resistance. This later quality has seen it used as support piers for buildings and beams, etc (Wikipedia relates an instance of 200 year plus life for some piers in Conn. under a heritage house)! It puts on height quickly and grows well from suckers. Porcupines will travel great distances to eat the leaves,I know not why, but will strip a tree quite readily in a summer or two. Windfirm and salt tolerant in habit. Arthritic looking twisty branches they are the last to leaf in the spring and the first to cast in the fall. Not much used in my experience by furniture makers but a nice wood though heavy. I know of no-one plantationing these and they come mostly as individuals (large) to the market.
( Reply from Simon Krasemann)

We Get Questions
(Anybody able to respond, please email us at the above email address.)
As you did your walkabout on the woodlot before the snowfall, you may have noticed the abundance of deciduous leaves. You may have wondered what role these leaves and the mulch they constitute play in the ecology of the forest. It was noticeable, also, on the CBC Radio program Maritime Noon recently that the gardening expert answering the phone calls three times referred to mulching plants or at least covering them with oak leaves as the most desirable treatment.
The question: What is so special about oak leaves as compared to other deciduous leaves, or even to needles?

NSWOOA Asks the Premier

The NSWOOA has asked Premier Dexter to consider the impact on the price of wood produced by small private woodlot owners in any deal securing future of the former NewPage mill in Port Hawkesbury. The Association points out that any deal providing fibre to Stern Partners from Crown land has the potential to further suppress the price received by woodlot owners for their product.

Additionally, about half the volume of wood traditionally used by the NewPage mill has been from small private woodlot owners, and the NSWOOA is anxious that this volume be protected in any deal which will see the mill continue to operate.

Membership Renewals

With the end of December came the expiry of our paid up memberships in the NSWOOA. They run from January 1 to December 31 each year. Here’s your opportunity to get ahead of the crowd this year by paying up now.

NSWOOA - 2012 Membership Application/
Renewal of Membership Form

( ) Renewal ( ) New

Name: ____________________________________________________________

Business Name: ____________________________________________________

Mailing Address: ___________________________________________________


Telephone Number: ________________ Email Address:_____________________

1. ______I am a woodlot owner / operator? County: ____________________
All woodlot owners and operators become Regular Members (see below), with full voting rights in both the NSWOOA and in the NSWOOA – Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest Division.
______I want to join NSWOOA as an Affiliate or Associate Member (see below) in support of the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest Division. My membership fees will primarily be directed to support the NSWOOA – OPDF Division. An Associate member has full voting rights in the OPDF Division only.
______ Student Associate membership
Regular Membership: open to anyone owning, leasing, renting or controlling woodland or to anyone who is a producer, and who supports the NSWOOA Mission Statement.

Affiliate and Associate Membership: open to organizations and individuals having similar aims and objects as the NSWOOA, and who support the NSWOOA Mission Statement.
_____Membership Cost- $30/year Student membership $10/year.

_____Subscription to Atlantic Forestry Review - $15/ year (special rate)

Please mail applications and cheques to: NSWOOA

PO Box 823

Truro, NS B2N 5G6

Mission Statement

NSWOOA is an independent organization of woodlot owners and operators achieving prosperity, stewardship, and solidarity through the practice of ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable forestry. Truly sustainable forest management means that all values of our woodlands -- ecological, social, cultural and economic -- must be preserved for future generations. The NSWOOA supports woodlot owners and operators in sustainable forestry through education, demonstration, marketing, and cooperation.

I support the aims, goals, and Mission Statement of NSWOOA:


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