AFR March 14 letters

Highs and lows

AFR: How inspiring and uplifting it was to read your article on “The Swedish Experience” (Jan. 2014 AFR) – to see woodlot owners, governments and industry working together co-operatively to face new challenges and to contribute to creating wealth for their communities. This is no small feat, knowing the ups and downs of the industry over the years and knowing the difficulties of organizing woodlot owners around a collective purpose.

    Then in the same issue, how depressing it was to read the article by Ken Hardie for the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners – to see how J.D. Irving is doing everything it can to destroy our little woodlot organizations by using its financial clout to challenge legally our very fundamental raison d’être. We already know what our governments have done over the years to undermine our collective and co-operative efforts and to destroy the basis of our collective bargaining.

Euclide Chiasson

Woodlot owner

Pointe-Verte, N.B.

Hybrid poplar pride

AFR: I live 20 minutes west of Edmundston, N.B. The photos are of hybrid poplar that were planted in June of 1996 and cut in October, 2013 – just 17 years. I was on the crew that planted them on Norampac Cabano freehold land in Saint-Eusèbe, Quebec. The company made that special plantation to try several types of hybrid. Some of those trees were sent to poplar sawmills, and the rest were sent to the Norampac Cabano pulp mill and processed into cardboard paper. 

    The Norampac Cabano mill is part of the Cascades paper company. The company bought a lot of woodlots and replanted them with hybrid poplar. The company wanted to provide about 25 percent of their fiber supply needs in the future. It is amazing it only took 17 years to produce trees ready for the Cabano mill. I am proud of the work we did. I never thought I would see trees that I planted being processed into lumber and pulp.

Stéphane Pelletier 

Saint-Eusèbe, QC

Site-specific management

AFR: Now that I have read both Ed Bailey’s letter (Jan. 2014) and Matt Miller’s letter (May 2013) about uneven-aged (selection harvest) management vs. even-aged management (clearutting), I can’t help adding a few comments of my own. It comes as a surprise to me that neither Matt nor Ed mentioned that both types of management systems are suitable in Nova Scotia. 

    Forest stands with large representation of shade-tolerant Acadian forest species (i.e., Eastern hemlock, Red spruce, Sugar maple, etc.), are obvious candidates for uneven-aged management. Stands with a large percentage of intolerant species (often found in the Boreal forest, i.e., Balsam fir, Black or White spruce, White birch, etc.) are more suitable for clearcutting, followed by planting of shade-tolerant species. Each management system has its place in Nova Scotia forests.

    Forest Ecosystem Classification (FEC) uses ecological site characteristics to dictate management activities. By assessing sites prior to harvest, shade-tolerant and/or intolerant species can be identified and classified into vegetation types, and management interpretations show us what direction each vegetation type will follow in future forest succession. FEC has become mandatory on Nova Scotia Crown lands, and is also a requirement to access silviculture funding for selection harvest work on private lands.

    Forest professionals finally have a system in place to categorize which stands are appropriate for uneven-aged management vs. even-aged management. If we select the appropriate harvest system for each forest stand, by following the FEC, I strongly believe that we will achieve the province’s goal of a 50 percent reduction in clearcutting in Nova Scotia.

Tom Berry 

Teaberry Forest Consulting

Annapolis Royal, N.S.

(Thanks for the reminder, Tom, that we now have the ability to do fairly sophisticated site-specific management. It would be interesting to know more about the practice of planting shade-tolerant species following clearcutting of intolerant stands, as you recommend. We should look into this and other restoration techniques. DL)