Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia
In the last issue of AFR, I led off with an update on the efforts that were being made to achieve the Right to Practice for Forest Professionals. I would like to be able to provide some hard facts on the progress that has been made, but while progress is being made regarding answers to the questions that I posed, the details are not yet firm enough to put in print. We are expecting that by the date of the Annual Meeting (March 10 and 11), we will be able to provide answers to those and other questions.
With the help of members of the Canadian Institute of Forestry, Nova Scotia Section (CIF-NS), the Nova Scotia Forest Technicians Association (NSFTA), and the Registered Professional Foresters Association of Nova Scotia (RPFANS), the program for the technical sessions on Thursday and Friday mornings of the Annual Meeting have been lined up. The speakers have been confirmed, and the agenda has been distributed to members of the above associations. If you have not received an agenda for the meeting, please contact me. From this point on, it will be your active participation that will contribute to the overall success of the meeting.
In January the Canadian Federation of Professional Foresters Associations (CFPFA) held a teleconference to update members on items of mutual interest. Included were items relating to the updating of the CFPFA website and in particular, the subset relating to assessment of candidates who wish to obtain their RPF status. As might be expected, not all applicants have the required qualifications, and led by the Ontario Association (OPFA), an online, module-based training program is being developed. This will enable applicants, or others, to obtain or upgrade any skills in which they are deficient and are required under the “Certification Standards for the Practice of Professional Forestry in Canada.” It is expected that the first of these modules will be available in May of this year, with the others to follow before the end of the summer.
In a related development, the CFPFA is looking to introduce specialties for qualification as RPF members. Currently the emphasis for professional foresters is on the various aspects of forest management. The CFPFA recognized that this has become a very broad topic, and that the profession would be better served if we included some specialties accompanied by specific competencies. Thus a review group, composed of CFPFA members and university faculty, was formed to recommend the specific competencies for: forest management; natural resources; urban forestry; operations; and land reclamation. When completed, approval will be sought from all of the provincial RPF associations, and the Certification Standards will be updated.
Back in November, your association participated in discussions with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (NSDNR) regarding the draft “Crown Land Forest Resource Management Policy,” and the “NSDNR Provincial Timber Objectives.” On your behalf a number of useful suggestions were made on these documents. A further meeting was held on Feb. 17 to further explain the criteria used in the Timber Objectives.
I look forward to seeing many of you at the Annual Meeting.
Ian Millar BScF; MF; R.P.F.
(Contact number: 902-897-6863)
Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
As I write this it is a balmy February morning; -16 degrees C with a bright blue sky and crunchy snow underfoot. The recent cold snap is providing good conditions as woodlot owners, contractors, and truckers scramble to clean up roadside inventories before the impending spring weight restrictions. Many mill yards are full of round wood inventory, and unfortunately U.S. lumber prices have recently fallen to very low levels. Hopefully spring housing starts will help turn things around once the warmer weather arrives.
For the past year, a group of woodlot owners, forest managers, and stakeholders have been meeting on a regular basis. They have been carefully planning a woodlot management cooperative designed to help woodlot owners in western Nova Scotia. Community meetings were held in each county, providing woodlot owners a forum to voice their interests. This helped guide the group in developing a business plan. The proposed name for the new business is “West Nova Woodlot Services Co-operative” (“West Nova”). Its mission is: “To provide forest management services which meet the economic, environmental and social objectives of private woodlot owners throughout the seven western counties of Nova Scotia.” With help from the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the West Nova co-op is proposing to offer Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified management plans, harvesting services, forest products marketing, and silviculture and woodlot owner extension services to members. West Nova is a bold and positive new initiative that will increase woodlot owner support, success, and participation in the forestry sector in western Nova Scotia. The Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners (FNSWO) encourages DNR and other forestry groups to support West Nova in its efforts as it continues to move forward this year.
Jim Crooker, chairman of the FNSWO, was one of the voices representing the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners (CFWO) at a family forestry conference in Norway last October. The event was hosted by the Norwegian Forest Owners’ Federation and organized by the International Family Forestry Association (IFFA). Representatives from four provinces as well as from Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Germany attended. The purpose of the conference was to provide a forum for woodlot owners to compare and learn from each other’s woodlot organizations in terms of policies and programs that encourage production of timber from family forests.
Topics discussed included forest producer association services that support market access and value added production; extension tools to encourage small producers to become more involved in family forest management; how to involve more women and youth in small-scale forest management; and finally, a discussion on income and property tax policy and barriers to private forest management. CFWO members visited local woodlot owner groups to view forest operations and cooperatively owned mills in both Norway and Sweden.
Key learning highlights were:
Income tax rules are very favorable to woodlot owners and revenues generated from woodlots can be treated as capital gains. Both Sweden and Germany have silvicultural saving plans similar to what the CFWO is proposing.
In Sweden, about 50 percent of all woodlot owners are woodlot association members; connections between woodlot owners associations and forest industry are very strong, including cooperatively owned sawmills and pulp mills.
In Norway and Sweden there are outreach programs for absentee landowners who live in urban areas, and in some areas up to 25 percent of members of woodlot associations are female.
Norway and Sweden both have extensive training programs for machine operators, who are highly regarded in society.
The transport of logs by truck averages 100km, and trains are used for long distance transport.
Wildlife is considered property of the landowner and hunting is controlled by landowners and local associations.
It is encouraging to see the potential opportunities and benefits that can be realized by woodlot owners participating and working together through their organizations for positive change, with cooperation from forest industry and governments.
(Contact number: 902-639-2041)