Middle Musquodoboit, N.S.
I’ve just returned from one of our member woodlots, where we have recently completed some harvesting and road upgrades. I was there to meet a float that was returning our aged road grader from the repair shop. The semi-frozen ground conditions will provide a good base to shape the road and let it freeze. Then we can haul the wood, and the road can sit and next spring when it thaws and dries out it will once again provide reliable access for follow-up silviculture and any future harvests – providing there are suitable markets and silviculture assistance available.
The juggling act that we call private land forest management is a very fluid, dynamic, and loosely-adhered-to system. Every woodlot, every stand, every treatment block, every landowner, requires a specialized, custom approach depending on myriad factors, including landowner objectives, soil type and condition, time of year, slope, access, and markets, to name a few.
We struggle daily with the ideals of “good forest management” and en route to achieving it, even if we can define it, are countless stumbling blocks. From a wider perspective we must consider factors like global warming, softwood lumber agreements, the value of the Canadian dollar, a new president in the White House, the price of fuel, and the global demand for pulp and lumber.
Here at Conform Limited (a shareholder-owned forest Management Company based in Middle Musquodoboit) we have suffered through the sometimes sudden unexpected bankruptcies of mills. During those closures we have been stung several times, totaling tens of thousands of dollars, when we have not been paid for wood delivered. These losses are particularly painful, since not only does the company lose its investment in machinery and labour costs, but the landowner also loses on the stumpage value owing.
You are probably asking yourself, “Does this guy need therapy? Why does he do this for a living?” I guess what I am trying to articulate is the attempt to provide “good forest management” is not an easy road. The external factors affecting a positive outcome are many, and sometimes despite our best efforts the end product is not always something we are particularly proud of. I hear a lot of negative talk regarding the forest industry in Nova Scotia, some of which is warranted and some of which I feel is simply a result of poor communication by those involved.
In my 25 years in the industry I have come to realize forests are our greatest resource. Besides providing employment and raw material for a hungry industry, they clean our air and water, stabilize our soil, and provide cooling shade and habitat for thousands of species of plants and animals. Forests are a huge contributor to the provincial economy, to the tune of over one billion dollars annually, employing thousands of people, many in rural communities. Despite the negative attention forestry has garnered recently and in past years, it is an industry Nova Scotia cannot afford to let fail.
Forestry needs a face lift. I have a desire to work in a profession that I am proud of, one that I would be happy to see my children pursue as a career. Now there seems to be a heightened desire and accepted need for change, the likes of which I haven’t seen in some 30 years of paying attention to these issues. It is time we all pulled together to give forestry the high standing it deserves in our society, but until the public, industry, and government are all on side, the fate of forests and forestry will remain uncertain.
Manager, Conform Limited
Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia
It has been a busy time of year for producers cutting and shipping real Nova Scotia Christmas trees to families locally and around the world, including the United States, Central America, and overseas. Christmas trees are in the top four provincial agricultural export commodities in Nova Scotia, and were most recently valued by Statistics Canada in 2015 at $8.6 million – the second highest value and volume of Christmas tree exports in Canada. CTCNS aims to support growers in maintaining this strong position.
Other CTCNS initiatives over the past year have focused on marketing and promotions, advocacy with government, research, market expansion, export development, and revising the Nova Scotia Christmas Tree Journal to a new and improved format. We are working from the current Strategic Plan to: increase the number of active growers in local associations; increase the number and value of domestic tree sales; and increase the number and value of trees exported.
At this time of year it is necessary to note two mandatory levies: (1) The Nova Scotia Christmas Tree Levy – legally required under the Forests Act from anyone who produces Christmas trees for sale to a consumer, retailer, or export market – is due for remittance on Feb. 1. Audits are being conducted this year, so it’s important to be registered and up-to-date. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
(2) The United States Christmas Tree Promotion Board levy applies to all exporters shipping more than 500 trees annually; those cutting and selling fewer than 500 trees cross-border can obtain an exemption form. Trucks may be stopped at border crossings the following year if payment is not up to date. These funds are used for effective promoting of real trees in the U.S. – Nova Scotia’s primary export market – promotions that are essential in retaining markets for real trees and staying competitive with artificial trees. The deadline for remission is Feb. 15, and all forms and promotions information can be found at http://www.christmastreepromotionboard.org/ or by contacting Marsha Gray at 1-800-985-0773.
Best wishes to everyone with successful woodlot management in 2017! For any questions related to the Christmas Tree Council, please contact me.
Industry Coordinator/Executive Director
Christmas Tree Council of Nova Scotia
email: email@example.com; or phone: 902-440-3988
New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners
On Nov. 22, Andrew Clark (past-president, New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners), Jim Crooker (president, Federation of Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners), Kevin Forgrave (executive director, Northumberland Woodlot Owners Association), Marc-André Côté (director general, Fédération des Producteurs du Québec), Eric Thompson (executive director, Ontario Woodlot Association), Peter deMarsh (president, Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners), Susannah Banks (Manager, New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners) and Lisa Barkley (Manager, SENB Forest Products Marketing Board) went to Ottawa to pitch a federal silviculture and tree-planting proposal to federal MPs.
Family-owned forests are uniquely positioned to play a major role in meeting Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. Trees naturally pull carbon dioxide from the air as they grow. Management practices can impact the amount of carbon that is being sequestered or drawn from the atmosphere. The same practices that sequester more carbon also produce larger trees that can be used to replace products that might otherwise be made from concrete, plastic, or steel. This substitution of wood products for other substances stores carbon for a long period of time, which is good for the environment.
Following the Paris agreement on climate change, the New Brunswick Federation of Woodlot Owners (NBFWO) began a lobbying campaign in the hopes of securing federal dollars to help private woodlot owners manage their woodlots in a manner that would increase carbon sequestration and storage. It became apparent that a national proposal would have more weight, so we joined our national organization, the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners, in submitting a national proposal for tree-planting and silviculture work through the climate change portal. This 10-year proposal comprises individual submissions from six provinces. The individual submissions are to address provincial differences in forestry, while simultaneously meeting the long-term national goal of capturing and storing carbon as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Prior to the proposal submission, a N.B. delegation travelled to Ottawa to lobby for funding. Since the submission, there have been a number of meetings with MPs in their local ridings and two meetings in Ottawa with MPs and other influential people within government. On Nov. 22, TJ Harvey and Serge Cormier, both N.B. MPs, hosted a meeting for all Liberal MPs where Peter deMarsh, of the Canadian Federation, presented the federal proposal. Representatives from N.B., N.S., ON., and Que. were present.
The proposal requests assistance to help private woodlot owners plant trees and manage their forested land in ways that sequester and store more carbon. This work will also ensure fibre is available in the future for substitution in construction and other manufacturing. At the same time, this proposal will put people to work in rural communities, thus supporting rural communities through job creation. In addition, proper forest management provides other environmental and social benefits. Forests provide water filtration services, mitigate flood damage, moderate temperatures, and purify air. All of these things will become more important as the impacts of climate change increase. Trees also provide mental health benefits, recreational opportunities, increased biodiversity, and wildlife habitat. As private woodlot owner associations, we are very grateful to Harvey and Cormier for arranging the meeting in Ottawa in support of our proposal. Thank you also to Pat Finnigan for his support.
Forests are an essential part of any greenhouse gas mitigation strategy. There are only positive benefits to managing forests to sequester and store the maximum amount of carbon. Private woodlot owners can be mobilized to be a major force in the fight against climate change.
Susannah Banks, manager, NBFWO
New Brunswick Forest Technicians Association
As I write this in early December, winter has certainly arrived here in much of New Brunswick. While I was hoping for another couple of weeks of milder weather, this should be well received by snowmobilers and those that make their living from snow ploughing.
Once again 2016 has been an active year for the New Brunswick Forest Technicians Association (NBFTA) and the executive. We are fortunate to have a full executive council of committed and devoted CFTs. Allie and Jonathan Degrace and Claude Chiasson have agreed to head the Membership Committee and work towards engaging more technicians and technologists who are currently not members of our organization. I would recommend that anyone who has suggestions for the Membership Committee, or who would like to join them in their efforts, to please reach out to one of them or another member of the executive.
The NBFTA gives out two scholarships each year for students enrolled in their second year at a recognized forest technician/technologist program. In past years, the scholarship applications were typically due at the end of November; however, given the busy fall schedule of the students and those administering the scholarship, it was decided to move the application date to March 1, with the scholarship being awarded at the graduation ceremony. The scholarship application form and award criteria can found on the NBFTA website: nbfta.org.
The NBFTA and the Association of Registered Professional Foresters of New Brunswick (ARPFNB) are looking to work together and improve relations between our two associations. The ARPFNB executive has offered to provide NBFTA members the same discount rate for their CFE training opportunities that its own members receive. In response to this, the NBFTA has offered assistance in organizing and implementing these events.
Once again, this year’s AGM will be held in conjunction with the Canadian Woodlands Forum Spring Meeting in Moncton, N.B., on April 13, 2017. As we get closer to the date, please look for communications from the Executive as we prepare for the event.
I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and happy start to the 2017 Year. As always, remember to take some time to enjoy the better things in life, and I hope to see you at the AGM in Moncton on April 13, 2017.
Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association
It’s been a busy couple of months for the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association (NSWOOA) as we work on our programs and offerings for woodlot owners in the new year. Keep an eye on our website (www.nswooa.ca) and Facebook page (www.facebook.com/NSWOOA) for workshops, field days, and other educational opportunities that will be coming up in the spring.
If you haven’t tried it yet, we encourage you to take our free landowner goals assessment, which can be reached through a link at our website. The tool helps woodlot owners to identify and prioritize their personal goals for woodland ownership – wildlife habitat improvement, timber sales, firewood harvesting, recreation, non-timber forest products, and so on. It also gives you a chance to tell us what resources you need to succeed. We’ll provide free information via email and follow up as needed. You can also call us toll-free at 1-855-NS-WOODS (1-855-679-6637), or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have specific questions about forest management.
Carbon credits – and what they could mean for Nova Scotia woodlot owners – are one important issue that we will be exploring in the coming year. We are working closely with Dale Prest of Community Forests International (CFI) to understand what carbon markets might look like and how private landowners could effectively participate in them. CFI has had noteworthy success selling carbon credits on its 705-acre New Brunswick woodlot.
With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement that all provinces must have either a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system in place by 2018, the time is right to position Nova Scotia landowners as key players in the carbon market. The role forests play in global carbon storage is immense, and we think this is an exciting opportunity to get paid for improved forest management in the province. We are especially interested in tapping into carbon trading markets in Ontario, Quebec, and California. Stay tuned!
NSWOOA memberships are due beginning Jan. 1, 2017. We will be sending out letters and renewal applications to existing members soon, but you can act now by visiting www.nswooa.ca/join-us and renewing online, or downloading a paper application.
The new year is upon us. Best wishes for a healthy and happy 2017!
Program Coordinator, NSWOOA
Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia
The annual meeting of the Forest Professionals of Nova Scotia will be held on March 23 and 24 at the Holiday Inn in Truro. This meeting will include the annual meetings of the Registered Professional Foresters (RPF), the N.S. Section of the Canadian Institute of Forestry (CIF), and the Nova Scotia Forest Technicians Association.
While annual business meetings of the associations are necessary, one of the best reasons to attend is to participate in the joint technical sessions that will be held each morning. As of the time of writing in early December, the content of these sessions is still being developed and speakers contacted. While I would like to provide details, I can assure you the tentative program looks as interesting, or more so, than those that we have had in the past couple of years.
The Canadian Forestry Accreditation Board met in September to review the accreditation recommendations for the forestry program at the University of Moncton, and the status update regarding the Master of Sustainable Forest Management at UBC. Both programs were found to continue to meet the criteria for accreditation. In 2017, programs at UNB and the University of Alberta will undergo their regular accreditation review.
The Canadian Federation of Professional Foresters Associations met on the following two days. Some of the topics included: the progress being made on revisions to the Certification Standards; labour mobility, including the notification of Registrars in the new jurisdiction; and the progress being made on the implementation of the “Bridge Training” program. This program is designed for RPF applicants who have not received training in one or more of the competencies outlined in the Certification Standards. Information and outlines for the initial group of courses can be found at courses.cif-ifc.org.
The subcommittee that oversees the assessment of graduates from non-accredited programs who are seeking to become Registered Professional Foresters, also met and considered updates for the website and the implications to the website of the updates being proposed for the Certification Standards.
Back at the local level, at the annual meeting we will be electing a new councillor and a vice president. These positions serve the interests of both the RPF and the CIF. Now is a good time to consider seeking support for your own nomination to one of the above positions, or contacting another member who would be able to provide some of their time towards directing the business of both the Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia (RPFANS) and the CIF. If you are interested, or have a person in mind who would be a good representative of the membership, please contact the nominating committee or me.
Executive Director RPFANS
Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
Happy New Year everyone! It has been another tough year for Nova Scotia woodlot owners selling our wares in less than ideal market conditions. On a positive note, the N.S. forest industry saw a significant increase in economic output, from $1.5 billion in 2012 to $2.1 billion in 2015. Unfortunately, low-grade wood markets continue to be our Achilles’ heel, affecting many aspects of the value chain. (Note to self: an Achilles’ heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can potentially lead to downfall.) Volume quotas and low prices for pulp make woodlot improvement work uneconomic and difficult at best, and can negatively impact the long-term health of our forests and the rate of woodlot owner participation. We encourage DNR, industry, and woodlot owners to work together and take steps to overcome this problem in the coming year.
Western Woodlot Services Cooperative (WWSC)
One bright light on the horizon this year is the recent hiring of Richard Scott (RPF) as manager of the recently established Western Woodlot Services Cooperative (WWSC). Richard is a native of Nova Scotia who has solid forest industry experience working with private woodlot owners and forestry contractors in timber procurement and operations. He will be starting the new job in mid-January, initially working out of an office in Bridgewater. Established to help woodlot owners in the seven western counties, WWSC will offer FSC certified management plans, harvesting services, forest products marketing, and silviculture services to its members. FNSWO encourages woodlot owners, DNR, industry, and all stakeholders to get behind Richard and WWSC as they venture forward this year.
FSC Certification News
Another positive development coming in the new year is that FNSWO will be working in partnership with the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association (NSLFFPA) and the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute (MTRI) to bring our forest certification programs under one provincial FSC certificate. By sharing our expertise and resources, we will simplify management plans; improve delivery of support services, program productivity, and practicality; and substantially reduce administration and audit costs. This will be a major step forward for woodlot owner support and cooperation between our organizations. The new WWSC will also be an integral part of this program. If you are interested in finding out more about our woodlot certification program, please contact our Certification Coordinator, Tom Berry.
FNSWO - CFWO and Climate Change
For the past 17 years, FNSWO has enjoyed a close working relationship with the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners (CFWO). Together we lobby our federal politicians and MPs, and with other provincial woodlot associations we provide a united voice to more than 450,000 woodlot owners across Canada. Recently, FNSWO President Jim Crooker travelled to Ottawa to join the CFWO and our provincial counterparts meeting with Liberal MPs and presenting a proposal called “Mobilizing Canadian Private Forest Owners to Fight Climate Change.” The program’s objective is to increase the sequestration of carbon on private woodlots while improving the condition of our forests, in turn increasing the long-term supply of forest products. Part of the plan is an assistance program to help woodlot owners and forestry contractors carry out silviculture and woodlot improvement work. Private woodlots across Canada are uniquely positioned to play a major role in meeting Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets. Well managed private woodlots help mitigate climate change by providing a sink for carbon, removing CO2 from the atmosphere, and filtering the very air we breathe. We will keep you posted on our progress as this project unfolds in the coming year.
Executive Director, FNSWO
Phone 1-844-966-3568 or email email@example.com
Cape Breton Privateland Partnership (CBPP)
The Cape Breton Privateland Partnership (CBPP) continues to grow, and we are now sitting at over 400 woodlots in the program. In its third year of a pilot project, CBPP offers independent forest management advice and support to woodlot owners on Cape Breton. This includes forest management plans, optional FSC certification, silviculture funding, operational supervision, and support finding a contractor. Demand for services continues, and we are on target to meet all of our pilot project goals. Our hope is to see the model successfully rolled out across the rest of the province over the next few years, and we feel this will go a long way toward engaging woodlot owners and helping them sustainably manage their woodlots.
Two frustrations we have encountered are the difficulty woodlot owners face in getting non-clearcut and small-clearcut treatments completed, and the disconnect between hardwood management potential and what we see happening on the ground. We feel these are serious shortcomings with how we currently approach forest management on small private woodlots, and we have a number of initiatives underway to try and address this.
Through the Forest Lab we are piloting a project to group woodlots with small volumes available for harvest into “packages” that would be more financially viable for a contractor to undertake. There are many details remaining to be worked out, but there are positive signs already that the approach will be successful. We are hopeful that the project will evolve into a regular service option for CBPP members, many of which face this problem.
After cruising more than 400 woodlots on Cape Breton, a common theme we see is the lack of appropriate forest management occurring in hardwood stands. We strongly believe that given future markets, climate change, value-adding potential, ecological goals, and many other factors, appropriate hardwood management is a desirable investment in our forests. Unfortunately, we see little of it happening, even though many opportunities have been identified through our work.
In order to raise awareness of this issue and begin a conversation on how to move forward, CBPP, along with several other partners, is hosting a conference in Port Hawkesbury, March 2. We have a very diverse and interesting agenda planned, including presentations and panel discussions on low, high, and alternative market opportunities; current and potential hardwood supply forecast for our region; case studies from other regions; current impediments; and an introduction to hardwood treatment options. For more info please visit www.CBWoodlots.org.
Another important initiative for CBPP is a project undertaken by NSLFFPA to develop a carbon credit system for woodlot members. Funded through ACOA, the project is intended to take the same group approach to carbon management that has been successfully used for certification, to reduce costs and make it accessible to individual woodlot owners. It is early days, but this is a project with tremendous potential, particularly with the Nova Scotia Government’s decision to take a cap-and-trade approach.
NSLFFPA Program Forester
Phone 902-623-1132 or email firstname.lastname@example.org