Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
On behalf of our board of directors, I’d like to sincerely thank our guest speakers, sponsors, and all who attended the 17th Annual General Meeting in Truro on Saturday, May 14. The AGM drew an impressive crowd, with positive comments and discussion from the participants.
Department of Natural Resources Associate Deputy Minister Allan Eddy gave the AGM opening address with an update on what’s new for the woodlot owners from the department’s perspective. According to Eddy, economic impact of the forest sector is currently about 50 percent of what it was in 2003. The existing sector is approximately 25 percent undersupplied, with significant opportunity for business startups and youth and rural employment.
Dr. Melanie Hobbs presented next and asked us to consider the sector’s current reality: “Why is recruitment of young people to forestry so difficult, and what can we do to change this?” One possible solution offered was to implement “the silviculture-forestry worker as a Red Seal trade in Nova Scotia.” Over the long run, instilling a value system, honor and pride in work, improving public image and trust, and improvement of wages and job security are a few considerations that could help improve recruitment. Hobbs’s talk generated a lot of thoughtful discussion on a difficult topic. At the end of the day, we all must take some personal responsibility to do what we can to change negative public perceptions towards forestry if our young people are to engage in it in the future.
Daniel Reeves, B.Sc., FE, gave us a look at forestry from the view of a contractor and woodlot owner in a family-owned business in New Ross that evolved from horse logging and small sawmills to cut-to-length and full-tree in-woods chipping. Reeves reminded us that woodlot owners, contractors, and mills are all part of the forest product supply chain, and the financial pie is only so big yet must be shared by all. Forest products face worldwide competition and are priced according to supply and demand. The supply chain has to work within commodity pricing, or we face importing from those who can. Local markets for low-quality fiber are desperately needed in Western Nova Scotia.
FNSWO Chair, Jim Crooker, reviewed his recent trip to Scandinavia to attend a Family Forestry Conference. Crooker’s tour included meetings with woodlot owner groups, visits to sawmills and pulp mills, and a look at some harvesting operations. Unlike Nova Scotia, woodlot owner participation in forestry is high, with approximately 50 percent of all landowners involved in their woodlot associations, and with approximately 25 percent female members. Income tax rules are favorable to woodlot owners, and owner associations and forest industry often share ownership of processing facilities. Crooker’s talk left many of us wondering, if Sweden (where privately owned forests were largely depleted by the end of the 19th century) can successfully transform their forest industry—which is very supportive to woodlot owners—how can we make the necessary changes here in Nova Scotia to do the same?
An informative lunch-and-learn talk on tax tips for the small farmer and business owner was presented by Clément Forest-Leblanc of Farm Business Consultants (FBC). The day concluded with our annual business meeting, financial report, and certification program update. Further DNR funding reductions to provincial woodlot owner organizations were announced at this year’s partner meeting. This is negatively impacting maintenance and delivery of services to woodlot owners. FNSWO is supporting increased collaboration with our fellow woodlot owner groups as well as a province-wide partnered certificate for FSC, in order to reduce costs and increase program efficiency.
We would like to welcome George Dempsey of Pictou County as our new director and thank outgoing Director Ivan Aitkens for his past service.
Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
New Brunswick Forest Technicians Association
It has been a busy spring at the NBFTA! Our new executive was installed at our AGM in April, and we have been at work on several initiatives since. We just had our first executive meeting on Saturday, May 28, and many items of importance were discussed, but much of the conversation centred on membership issues. The most important part of any organization is its membership, and the NBFTA is no exception. As a result, one of our biggest initiatives in 2016 will be getting an active membership committee to work, and to start identifying ways to increase our numbers.
In Riley’s write-up in the last AFR, he alluded to one of the “founding fathers” of the NBFTA, and it made me think back nearly 20 years, to when I was a young forest-technician-to-be, just starting out at the Maritime Forest Ranger School. Several of these founding fathers were around throughout the year (a few of them were instructors at the school), and they never missed an opportunity to bang the drum, and tout the value and importance of the association. As the year went on, and graduation day finally came, we were proud of our diplomas, but many of us were equally proud of the fact that we had become part of a fraternity. We would finally be able to join the association we had heard so much about. The NBFTA was newly formed, and there was a buzz in the air, committees were active – there were technicians on board from all age groups. At the first AGM I attended, attendees ranged from brand new “greenhorns” like myself, to active technicians at the peak of their careers, to gray-haired technicians who were well into retirement.
As an executive, I think it’s important that we pick up where these founding fathers left off; we must start banging the drum again, and energize our membership. An active membership committee will play a big role in this – we must make our new technicians feel like they are joining a fraternity when they join our ranks, and we must make sure that our gray-haired members stay on board with us as they reach the end of their working careers and enter retirement. Their experience and knowledge will be valuable to us going forward. Our challenge for all NBFTA members in 2016-2017 is to bring someone on board – get a past member interested and active again, or get a new technician to sign on.
The upcoming MFRS-MCFT reunion, from July 29-31, will be a great opportunity for technicians to renew old friendships and acquaintances. The NBFTA will have a presence at the event. For those who haven’t signed up yet, check into it. The Alumni Association has lined up some great events for the weekend. The event kicks off with a social and registration on Friday night, and a barbecue, woodsmen’s competition, banquet, and dance on Saturday. The event wraps up with a breakfast, tour of the UNB woodlot, and a campfire Sunday. For those who arrive early, Todd MacPherson, the supervisor of continuing education at MCFT, has lined up a workshop on UAVs (drones) for the Friday prior to the event. Contact Todd to register for this, as it is a separate event and not included in your reunion registration fee. For more information on the reunion, check out www.reunion2016.ca.
An ongoing initiative in the association is to keep the membership updated via the NBFTA.org website, and through various social media outlets. Todd MacPherson and Riley have done an excellent job keeping the site up to date, and continue to do so. On the website, members can find minutes of the latest executive meetings, upcoming CFE opportunities, and job postings. We also encourage members to check out our Facebook page, and we are also on Twitter. Communication is also critical, so NBFTA members, please feel free to contact any member of the executive at any time, with questions, concerns, or comments. Remember it is your association, and your input and participation is essential for it to function. We at the NBFTA wish a safe, productive, and happy summer to everyone, and hope to see many of you at the upcoming reunion.
2nd V.P., NBFTA
Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association
The second Nova Scotia Forestry Summit took place recently at St. Mary’s Boat Club in Halifax. The event was a runaway success, attracting twice as many people as the first summit in May of 2015.
News of the event was tweeted around the world. People who are interested in social and organizational change took note of “a fascinating new lab emerging in Nova Scotia.” The Forestry Lab was conceived and is hosted by the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association.
Seven prototypes designed by members of the Forestry Lab’s core team were introduced, along with an eighth experiment: the Forestry Lab itself. Each prototype team was given two minutes to present its experiment to all of the summit participants. Then, the teams adjourned to separate tables, where summit attendees could ask questions and offer comments about the prototypes.
The prototypes included: Offer contractors a success package: The Cape Breton Privateland Partnership and Port Hawkesbury Paper will work together to assess what equipment, financing, skills, and guarantee of future harvesting is most likely to ensure the successful expansion of small harvesting capacity in the Eastern region of the province.
Regional merchandising yard: Northern Pulp is leading an investigation into the financial opportunities that may be presented by one or more concentration yards for higher-value saw logs, veneer logs, and other specialty wood that is currently being sent for pulp and biomass due to small volumes on individual harvest sites.
Applying learning from Scandinavia: Harold Alexander of North Ridge Forest Products will lead a team studying Scandinavian forest management and manufacturing practices to identify ways to improve the profitability and efficiency of forest operations in Nova Scotia.
Grow a lumber Jack or Jill: Stacie Carroll, a silvicultural contractor, will lead a team looking at ways to address the shortage of forestry workers.
Contractor incubator, Western Region: Amanda Lavers of MTRI and Patricia Amero of Picea Forestry Consulting will consider the same questions as prototype 1 above, but working with the Medway Community Forest to provide harvest volumes that can help to ensure contractor success.
Community-based planning on Crown land: Matt Miller of Ecology Action Centre will focus on process improvement for management planning for Crown land in the St. Margaret’s Bay area that would reduce uncertainty for harvesting contractors and mills, while also allowing local residents to better express their goals for the land.
Hidden gem co-op: Debbie Reeves of New Ross will work with local landowners, loggers, and craftsmen to set up a wood products cooperative in the New Ross area, with a goal of creating a template for similar co-ops in other areas of the province.
The work of the prototyping teams will continue through the fall. Their findings will be shared with forest stakeholders at a final Forest Summit to be held late in 2016.
For more information about The Forestry Lab, visit www.theforestrylab.ca.
NSWOOA, Executive Director
Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia
The RPFANS Council held a short meeting in May to review the progress that is being made regarding the Right to Practice, and to receive an update regarding national initiatives.
The report from the Right to Practice committee was positive, in that discussions are progressing well with regard to outlining suggested changes to the Act which would enable both foresters and technologists to be licensed, and to perform specified activities on Crown land. Council was advised that the deadline for submitting amendments to legislation is fast approaching and thus it may not be possible to conduct consultations on the suggested amendments and have them ready for the fall session.
Nationally, the Bridge Training or gap filling training program being developed under the auspices of the OPFA, is almost complete for the Certification Standards 1,2,5, and 7. Standards 3, 4, and 6 are behind schedule, but completion is expected this summer. I have seen the material for the first grouping, and it looks good. The training is set up in module form, with each module covering one of the Demonstrable Competencies of a Standard. When completed, the training modules will be available from the content provider, for anyone interested in pursuing that line of education. The standards and their Demonstrable Competencies can be found at http://www.cfpfa-fcafp.ca/English/certificationStandards.html.
A survey of employers and academics was conducted on behalf of the Canadian Federation of Professional Foresters Associations (CFPFA) to confirm the most important of the Demonstrable Competencies in each standard, and to obtain input on any competencies that should be added to the Standard. This is being done in preparation to a re-organization of the Standards and the addition of five specialty areas of practice. The results of the survey confirmed that the most significant aspects of each Standard were included within the suggested amendments. The respondents were also asked to identify additional components which should be included within each of the Standards. The CFPFA Committee will review all of the suggestions and make recommendations to representatives of the CFPFA member organizations during their meeting in September.
The Member Relations committee is planning a field meeting in the fall. While not final yet, the likely timing is October, with a theme relating to best practices in and around riparian zones. An update will be provided in the next issue of AFR.
Ian Millar BScF, MF, RPF
Executive Director RPFANS