Cape Breton Privateland Partnership
Port Hawkesbury, N.S.
It’s been a busy year again here on Cape Breton. Cape Breton Privateland Partnership (CBPP), a partnership of Baddeck Valley Wood Producers, North Inverness Forest Management, and the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association, has grown to 279 woodlots, and we have also been busy developing some new initiatives that we are very excited about.
Since its inception, CBPP has carried out almost $600,000 worth of silviculture work on member woodlots through agreements with Association for Sustainable Forestry (ASF), Port Hawkesbury Paper, and a very recent agreement with Nova Scotia Power. During this time we have also met with and delivered 330 Stewardship Assessments to woodlot owners on Cape Breton, and cruised another 119 woodlots.
A major focus of the past year has been the development and launch of our Wood Hub project. As of the time of writing, we are very excited that we now have the necessary funding, buyers, and logistics in place to call the project “launched.”
The ultimate goals of the project are twofold. Firstly, we want to improve the economic viability of contractors and woodlot owners in Cape Breton. Without their financial success it will not be possible to carry out the forest management work necessary to develop a healthy and diverse forest. Secondly, we hope to ultimately attract value added forest industries to the area by demonstrating an ability to source a consistent supply of the forest products they need.
As a first step, we looked at setting up a network of small wood yards around Cape Breton as a way of aggregating the small volumes of specialty products generated on any one harvest area. The economics of this are very difficult, and fortunately Port Hawkesbury Paper has agreed to let us use a corner of its yard in Port Hawkesbury and, most importantly, to use its existing supply chain to gather the wood. Pulp trucks traveling to Port Hawkesbury will be able to carry small volumes of specialty logs on the top of regular pulp loads, thereby drastically reducing the cost of aggregating these small quantities. Woodlot owners who are not able to deliver logs to the nearest landing that pulpwood is moving from can contact CBPP to arrange delivery for volumes as small as just a few logs.
At the time of writing, the Wood Hub is buying hardwood veneer for export, as well as hardwood sawlogs for local markets. While these are not new markets, the ability to access them with only small volumes of wood is an exciting and important development.
Through funding provided by Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, we have been able to hire two local hardwood specialists, Peter Christiano and Darryl Byers, for the first year of the project. Christiano and Byers are available to woodlot owners or contractors on Cape Breton to provide any advice and technical support necessary. They will also be spending time working on finding and accessing new markets for specialty woods from Cape Breton.
Because landowner and contractor engagement and education will play such an important role in the project, we will also be hosting a series of workshops on the production and marketing of high-value and specialty woods. Please stay tuned for more information on these in the future.
If you are a woodlot owner or contractor on Cape Breton we encourage you to get in touch (www.cbwoodlots.org) to find out more about the project, view our price list and specs, as well as learn how you can participate.
Program Forester, NSLFFPA
(Contact number 902-623-1132)
The Nova Scotia Forestry Association Truro, NS
The Nova Scotia Forestry Association (NSFA) is working again to plan this year’s Nova Scotia Envirothon program. Envirothon is North America’s largest and fastest-growing environmental education program for high-school-aged students. It is a unique program that supports knowledge and skill development among grade 9-12 students in forestry, wildlife, soils, aquatics ecology, and current environmental issues. The 2016 Nova Scotia event will bring students to Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, on May 5 and 6, where teams from across the province will compete for the Nova Scotia Envirothon title, and the right to advance to the North American Envirothon. The location of the North American event changes each year; Forests Ontario is pleased to be hosting the 2016 international event in Peterborough, Ontario, on July 24-29. For more information, or to find out how you can get involved, please visit our website at www.nsfa.ca or contact Kari Brown.
(Contact number 902-848-6542)
Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia
The main focus of the Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia (RPFANS) over the past couple of months has been directed towards establishing the Right to Practice for qualified individuals. This is being done through committees of RPFANS and the Nova Scotia Forest Technicians Association (NSFTA). The big questions are: “Where will the Right to Practice apply?;” “Who is qualified to be included?;” “How are qualifications established;” and “How will the qualifications be verified?” These sound like questions to which answers could easily be found, however, when you are breaking new ground, there are several opinions as to what the answers should be. Some of these opinions reflect an industrial view, others place more emphasis on the multi-use aspects, while still others are concerned about the education and experience required. The committees and councils were still working on this at the time of writing this update. For that reason, please do not take as gospel any of the rumors that may be circulating about potential negative impacts. By establishing qualifications for the Right to Practice, and enabling the legislation, it is our intention that it will not create a hardship for forest land owners. Further, it is expected that the forest management planning, and the subsequent implementation of the plan, will reduce the number of conflicts between the various forest users, and assist in providing specific management direction for the various parcels of land that are currently subject to management under the Nova Scotia Code of Forest Practice.
The planning for the annual meeting of the Nova Scotia Forest Professionals is currently underway. This meeting provides approximately 10 technical/professional development sessions for all of those involved in the management of Nova Scotia forests. Topics are selected both to address a variety of interests, and to bring to the forefront some of the latest research information that should be incorporated in the daily practices of all forest practitioners. One afternoon will enable RPFANS, the Canadian Institute of Forestry, and the NSFTA to hold the annual business meetings of their associations. It is important to remember that you get out of your association what you put in.
The meeting will be held a bit earlier this year, on March 10 and 11, 2016. The location will be at the same place as last year, which is the Holiday Inn, Truro. Advance registration will again be possible, and I encourage you to register in this manner. More information will follow as it becomes available.
Ian Millar BScF; MF; RPF
(Contact number: 902-897-6863)
Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
Recently I was asked, “What should woodlot owners know about climate change and carbon credits?” This question is particularly timely, because the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference recently took place in Paris. During the two-week conference, nations attempted to achieve a legally binding agreement to mitigate climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During Justin Trudeau’s opening address he declared, “Canada is back, my friends, and here to help.” Our prime minister later called carbon pricing “A crucial tool to begin the shift we need towards sustainable economic growth,” and stated, “Canada will take on a new leadership role internationally.”
A group of more than 100 of the world’s top scientists who advise governments, known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), spelled out their advice to world leaders in this way: “A sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber, or energy from the forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit.”
With the potential emergence of a carbon offset market, the trees growing on your woodlot could have a monetary value measured not only by their value at the mill gate, but also by the amount of carbon they sequester. A non-profit organization in New Brunswick known as Community Forest International (CFI) is currently working with responsible businesses effectively connecting carbon-emitting companies with the forests and people that can store carbon. CFI manages the only privately held woodlot in Atlantic Canada where carbon credits have been sold. CFI is FSC-certified, and it has an annual allowable cut and easement on its woodlot, so it knows how much it can harvest whilst meeting its carbon commitments.
When managed sustainably, our woodlots yield numerous ecological goods and services (EGS) that are currently free for society. These include clean water, flood and erosion control, wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, scenery, clean air, and carbon sequestration. One possible way to ensure these benefits are maintained in the future is through woodlot certification programs such as the FSC programs currently administered by the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners (FNSWO), the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI), and the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association (NSLFFPA). In a future carbon offset market a pool of FSC-certified woodlots that account for carbon sequestering is a real possibility. Woodlot management plans would likely need to be modified in order to efficiently and economically measure and account for carbon storage at the woodlot level.
If there is an additional way for woodlot owners to supplement their harvesting incomes and benefit economically and sustainably from the ecological goods and services they provide to society while protecting the planet, I am all for it!
On Nov. 7, as part of the Mentorship Program, a group of engaged woodlot owners toured Castle Frederick Farms’ 1,500-acre woodlot near Falmouth, Hants County. We witnessed and learned from the Bremnar family’s dedication to forest management and environmental stewardship. I’d like to thank the Bremnars for their tremendous hospitality and their effort to make their Mentorship day a great success. Stay tuned for further mentorship events in the new year.
(Contact number: 902-639-2041)