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SPRING 2014 NEWS LETTER and 2014 AGM NOTICE (Click on the Icon to view).
The Federation of NS Woodland Owners is comprised completely of small-private woodland owners. There are no environmental, governmental or industry representatives. Our purpose is to help better the position of Nova Scotia small-private woodland owners. We achieve this by answering woodland management questions, providing updates on issues that may affect woodland owners and through lobby work.
We have nine board members (three in each region) and approximately 1200 members. To become a voting member of our organization, you must own at least 15 acres, and no more than 5000 acres of woodland and pay the $20.00 annual membership fee. To join, send a cheque or money order, along with your contact information to:
Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners
285 George Street, PO Box 208
Stewiacke, Nova Scotia B0N 2J0
Member or not, if you have any questions about any aspect of forest management (silviculture funding, finding a forestry contractor, GPS, best management practices, regulations) in Nova Scotia, please feel free to contact us.
The Federation is presently offering assistance for landowners interested in a certified forest management plan for their woodlot. We offer both CSA and FSC Certification. Benefits for entering our certification program include:
- 75% subsidized management plan
- Access to fully subsidized training programs
- Annual technical consulting day with a program coordinator or forest tech
- Subsidized third-party audits
- Phone and email access to program coordinator for technical support
- Newsletters and email notifications about provincial and federal forestry and woodlot-sector news
For more information, click here
GPS 101: "Introduction to GPS use for Woodlot Management"
The Federation is now offering a one day GPS training course for woodlot owners. The training day is split between indoor computer and theory, and outdoor field exercises. Find out how to:
The training sessions are based on demand. If between 8 and 12 landowners in a local area are interested, we'll come to you. Cost for participating is $20.00 per landowner. There is no charge for members who are in our woodlot certification program. If you would like to learn more about setting up a training session in your area, for GPS or any other woodlot related topic, please contact us at 902-639-2041 or by email at email@example.com.
In late November 2011, the Federation attended a woodlot owner meeting hosted by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. Although the meeting was billed as an update on Peter Woodbridge's economic analysis of the new Natural Resources Strategy, conversations quickly evolved into something much bigger. For the first time in recent memory, all major woodlot owner groups sat down under one roof to discuss the challenges we all face in today's forest industry. Among the participants were representatives from the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators, Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers, Nova Forest Alliance, Association for Sustainable Forestry, various woodlot owner coops and individual woodlot owners.
Many of you reading this might not be aware that there has long been friction between woodlot owner groups in Nova Scotia. Regional differences, strong personalities and longstanding grudges from outdated arguments have resulted in a fragmented and poorly represented woodlot owner sector.
Paraphrasing and old adage: hard times in the forest industry make for strange bedfellows. The issues today's landowners face have created common bonds across the Province. Low stumpage rates, availability of qualified forest contractors and access to silviculture funding might not seem like new issues. But given the current state of the industry, these issues (along with the slow death of our traditional markets) are more pronounced than ever. Landowners across the province are feeling the sting of a troubled industry.
We don't have to agree on everything but it is very clear that landowners need to be better organized and need to work together. There are 30,000 small private landowners who own roughly 60% of Nova Scotia’s productive forest and 70% of the land base. There is no justifiable reason for woodlot owners to be in such a poor position.
These sentiments were echoed clearly from each participant in the meeting. If Nova Scotia wants a strong forestry sector, it needs a strong woodlot owner sector. If woodlot owners want to be in a better position, they need to stop working against each other and they need to be better organized. This meeting was a very positive step in that direction. We can only hope that the momentum of those discussions will find some traction.
For this reason, the Federation is giving an open invitation to all woodlot owner groups across the province to sit down and further the discussions held during the NSDNR meeting. We each owe it to Nova Scotia's woodlot owners.
The Federation is proud to announce that we recently passed the second audit of our CSA Z804 woodlot certification program. Our FSC program is scheduled to be audited in mid October 2011. Given the effort we put into creating the program and the quality work carried out by our management planners and the commitment from our woodlot owners, we are confident that the FSC audit will go well.
The auditors of our CSA Z804 program were very pleased by our performance. They provided us with some insight on how the program can be improved and pointed out some practices they felt were a fine representation of good forestry.
We'd like to take this opportunity to shine a light on one of our contract forest management planners for their help with our program and commitment to responsible woodlot management. North Nova Forest Owners Cooperative Ltd. was singled out during our audit as a company who is doing some fine work on behalf of woodland owners.
The specific example pointed our in our audit findings is in relation to an advance payment provided by North Nova to a woodlot owner in an effort to prevent soil erosion on the property. The landowner was in a bit of a bind and needed to generate some income from his property. The prescribed treatment was outlined in his woodlot management plan and on schedule to take place. The issue was that although it was the right treatment for the stand, the soil was saturated by recent rain activity, which would have made it extremely difficult to extract any wood without causing significant damage to the ground.
North Nova woodland manager Greg Watson brought this to the landowner's attention and explained that it would be better to hold of until the ground was drier. Though the landowner was (and is) committed to sustainable forestry, his financial situation was such that he couldn’t wait. Rather than cause unnecessary damage to the woodlot, North Nova offered to pay the landowner in advance of cutting the wood. This helped the landowner with his immediate need for revenue and allowed North Nova to carry out the work at a later date, thereby reducing soil damage on the woodlot.
In our view, this is a fine example of balancing ecological, social and economic forestry. For this and many other reasons, we commend North Nova for a job well done. We also thank all the exemplary woodland owners and management planners who have helped grow our program.
If you are interested in learning more about our certification program, please contact Mike Hutchinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or call our office at 902-639-2041. We are currently accepting new applicants and offering a subsidy to help cover the cost of management plans.
"Clearcut your property now; pretty soon the government won't let you do anything on your own land." You might be surprised at how many mislead Nova Scotia landowners believe this. If however, you are a mill or contractor who is using fear of new forestry regulations as a means to convince landowners to harvest, you may not be surprised at all.
Scaring ill-informed landowners into making rash forestry decisions is nothing new; it is a common practice of disreputable forestry companies and dishonest contractors alike. Using the new natural resources strategy as a threat is just the latest example of this practice. For the record, there are many reputable companies and honest contractors in the province, who practice good forestry and treat landowners fairly. Moreover, do NOT clearcut your property only because you think the government soon will not let you.
As an average landowner, finding a clear path through the vast forest of information and misinformation can be a challenge but it is important to get it right. If you are confused and concerned about how the new natural resources strategy might affect you, here is the first step in making a decision that is right for you – slow down.
It takes a long time to grow a forest, don't be so hasty to cut it down. Fear of regulations is not a very sensible reason to flatten your woodlot. Make sure you have the appropriate information before deciding what to do. It is also important to consider where the advice is coming from.
Mills and contractors across Nova Scotia are hungry for your wood; relying only on industry input can be like the hen only seeking advice from the fox (refer to opening paragraphs). Another example of agenda-driven information stems from some environmentalist groups (ENGO). They may have similar ideals as you but their objectives are often different from those of most average woodlot owners. Relying solely on ENGO information will not give you a full or unbiased picture.
We're not suggesting that you don't take advice from industry and ENGOs. On the contrary, get advice from both. You should also get in touch with the Department of Natural Resources, regional woodlot owner groups, your neighbors, your MLA…Like most things in life, if you want to see the full picture you have to look at it from a variety of angles.
If this all seems a bit overwhelming, contact us, The Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners (902-639-2041). We have been in close contact with every resource listed above since the Strategy first began to take shape. Our agenda - the rights of the small-private woodland owner.