NSWOOA Update Newsletter 57

NSWOOA Update Newsletter 57
September 27, 2012
(902) 633-2108

In this issue:

- Hello Woodlot Owners
- Change is Hard
- Otter Ponds Report
- Project Manager’s Report
- Site Visit Results
- Thanks for the Assistance
- How to Contact Us

Hello Woodlot Owners: Threats

             The long, hot dry summer of 2012 has had an effect on the forests of Nova Scotia.  Not too many people would disagree with that conclusion.  A quick visit will reveal short leaders and minimal growth of trees on many sites. The lack of rains threatens our forests.  Forest restoration  specialist Tom Miller observes: “ Although the leaf turn has some early responders, this year seems more so, and I feel that's from the drought early on. Many trees feeling the "pain" of little moisture. I even have seen some larch yellowing up here and they are always the last to go.”
            Indeed, it seems to have been a summer of threats.
Most obviously there was the threat of forest fires.  We lived through a very tense few weeks where everyone was afraid to do anything, lest a fire rise up and roar out of control.  Nothing too severe came of it in the end, probably due to the care and control everyone from DNR to back yard barbequers took to avoid these fires.
Another threat, one we may not have heard the last of yet, is that of insects and disease.  Hot summers favour certain kinds of insects and diseases.  When this is combined with the mild winters we have been experiencing, the potential for masses of insects to build up is there, and is a threat we have to deal with.  How many more brown long-horned beetles can we deal with?  Our ash is threatened again and so on.
Not quite in the same vein, but it is tempting to wonder if maybe the biggest threat to our forests this summer has been political.  One could be forgiven , perhaps, for at least considering the Government’s wide definition of clearcutting to be the biggest threat to the forests and ecology of Nova Scotia.  Some might consider that the reason for the new definition  is a lack of understanding of forest ecology, and others might consider it to be a lack of political will. Or the reason may be found  elsewhere .  Whatever the case,  there is the threat that the government’s definition of what is not a clearcut permits unsustainable harvesting practices to continue, and like the dry summer, the insect and disease threat,  the effects may well be cumulative and severe.   Only this threat could have been avoided.

Change is Hard -- Or is it?

 The next few months will see a planned transformation of the Update, the NSWOOA’s online newsletter.  It has been a goal of the Board to provide our members with a better designed and more useful newsletter. So, what do you want? Are there topics you want covered?  Columns you want written? Are there questions you need answered, or people you wish profiled? Are you hearing enough about projects, events or accomplishments?
             What format would suit you? What should the revised newsletter look like? Give us your opinions, advice and requests. Email them to The Update at the nswooa@gmail.com. 

Otter Ponds Report

             Work has been progressing at the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest. The latest accomplishment is completion of the bridge.  This will be followed up shortly with the building of the road from the bridge to the landing/hosting site. 
Picea forestry has marked out a section for softwood selection harvesting and tenders for the work of cutting and forwarding to the landing will called.  The marketing will be done by the OPDFD management, possibly after OPDFD has hosted an event for buyers in the Central region.
A visit by an elementary school, and a visit by a university environmental studies class are also in the works, and represent just how wide a range of programs can be offered on site. 
Hopefully the NSWOOA will be able to host an event there as well. 
NSWOOA proposes coalition
to restore Acadian Forest

By Andrew Kekacs
Program Director

Forestry in Nova Scotia is changing, and we are working to make NSWOOA a more prominent feature in the new landscape.
 NSWOOA is developing partnerships with groups that have historic interests in the forest and in rural development, but weak ties to the forestry sector. Potential partners include sportsmen’s associations, farmers, tourist businesses and conservation organizations.
 For example, NSWOOA representatives met earlier this year with Henry Vissers and other leaders of the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture. A story about our 2012 site visit program appeared in the Federation’s newsletter and was well received, resulting in many calls from farmers to NSWOOA Forester Stephen Cole. We have been invited to submit articles about the value of active forest management to the Federation’s newsletter this fall.
 NSWOOA will also lead a new coalition that aims to restore the Acadian Forest. We hope to engage landowners in uneven-aged forest management, which can enhance other woodland values while also providing high-value raw material to the province’s wood-products mills. A Memorandum of Understanding on the scope and activities of the new partnership is nearly complete and will be discussed at the next meeting of the NSWOOA directors.
 In addition, the association met with Dianne Kelderman of the Nova Scotia Co-Operative Council to discuss ways that co-operatives might be used to further the interests of woodlot owners and small contractors. The council is in the process of writing a detailed report on the subject for the NSWOOA board.
 The association is planning several woodlot tours in October and November. More information will be included in a separate mailing soon. Our site visit program is well underway, and an update by Forester Stephen Cole is included in this newsletter.

Visits Reveal Market Potential


By Stephen Cole
 I hope you've all had the very best of summer! The NSWOOA outreach project continues into the fall season. To date, 66 woodlots have been visited, and there are 26 more on the list. That means we have just a handful of spots still open. If you know someone who has a woodlot and would be interested in the program, please have them contact me at 902-309-1062 or bradcole500@gmail.com
 On several of the woodlots I have visited, I have encountered large diameter cherry, oak, ironwood, and mountain ash. Normally these species (except oak) are not looked at for their commercial value but  given the size of them I cannot help but wonder if they could be put to good use somehow. The landowners felt the same, so I ask you, what possible markets are out there for interesting pieces of wood?

 Volunteers Thanked


             At the April AGM there were five or six members who volunteered to help out the NSWOOA. We very much appreciate the assistance of the two volunteers that so far have answered our call for assistance.  Tynan Stevens staffed our booth at the woodlot tour in July, and Dan Pittman has done notable service since being asked by Treasurer Tony Phillips to audit our ledgers,  accounts and financial statements.  Thanks to both for their assistance.

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