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Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association
"Between every two pines is
a doorway to a new world.
-- John Muir
NSWOOA updating, improving its database 
Members and friends of NSWOOA will soon receive a mailing -- or possibly two -- that will ask for updated information for the association's new membership database.

This long-overdue project will help us to do a better job of keeping in touch with you and other supporters, providing the information you need to manage forestland well, and understanding what you want -- and don't want -- from NSWOOA.
We expect to send out both a postal mailing and an electronic mailing. Among other things, we will ask for updated names, addresses, and e-mail addresses. We'll also ask few short questions about the services that folks would like to receive from the association.
We'll keep it short, because no one wants to spend much time on paperwork. But we ask that you help us to do a better job of serving you in the future by taking the time to respond. The postal mailing will included a stamped envelope addressed to NSWOOA.
The new database is an important step toward the continued success of this association. Thanks in advance for your help!
It's almost time for
the annual meeeting!


The Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association will hold its Annual General Meeting on Saturday, April 13, at the Masonic Lodge in Great Village, NS.


The program is still under development, but will include talks on several issues important to small forest landowners. The annual Friend of the Acadian Forest Award will be presented, and there will be updates on activities at the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest and on the results of a recent strategic planning session by the directors of NSWOOA. We'll provide a complete agenda and directions in the next issue of Legacy.


The cost is $15 for members and $20 for guests. Lunch is included. Please mark the date on your calendars, and check here next month for more information.


Visit us on Facebook
If you're interested in the latest news about forestry, visit the association's Facebook page. You'll find stories ranging from regulatory changes and political developments to the latest in Canadian and international silvicultural research.

Check it out at:
Nominations sought for
Woodland Owner of Year


The Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) annually presents The Nova Scotia Woodland Owner of the Year Award, which recognizes landowners for outstanding stewardship of their woodlands. This program was developed 23 years ago to encourage woodland owners to practice sustainable woodland management and to increase public awareness of the importance of private woodlands in Nova Scotia's economy.


Woodland owners residing in Nova Scotia who own between 20 and 800 hectares (50 and 2,000 acres) of woodland are eligible. They are evaluated on the following factors:


* Effort and commitment to setting and meeting sustainable goals for their land;

* Improving their knowledge or understanding of the forest land or the forest in general;

* Improving the condition of access to and health of their woodland; and

* Using integrated resource management while considering other values such as wildlife habitat protection and recreation.


Nominations may come from DNR, NGOs, registered buyers, associations and the public. Nominations will be accepted until April 15th, 2013, and can be submitted online here.


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February 2013


What to know before harvesting


Black spruce swamp
Black spruce/red maple swamps are common in Nova Scotia.
(Photo by John Brazner)

By John Brazner 

Wetland Program Coordinator

Nova Scotia Environment


For those of you who are thinking about harvesting in wet areas on your property, it is important to keep in mind that draining, filling, flooding or excavating in a wetland is not allowed without approval from Nova Scotia Environment. This includes building permanent roads through most wetlands. The one exception is roads through wooded swamps that are less than 10 metres wide and less than 600 m2 in total area.


All the details related to specific approval requirements are summarized in the Nova Scotia Wetland Conservation Policy (

and another document called, "So You Need To Alter A Wetland" 

The short of it is that approvals are not required for altering wetlands that are less than 100 square metres (approximately 1,000 square feet) in size, maintaining your drainage ditches or harvesting trees in a wetland. However, whenever working in and around wetlands you should be using best management practices to minimize impacts to the wetland.


Impacts to wetlands from harvesting can be minimized by:

  • avoiding wetlands whenever possible;
  • leaving a buffer (a no activity zone) of at least 20 metres between wetlands, watercourses, and harvesting activities (vernal pools, small, shallow wetlands often called frog ponds, are especially sensitive and common within swamps);
  • harvesting when the ground is frozen or during the driest part of the year to minimize, or ideally, eliminate rutting;
  • using temporary roads to access or cross wetlands;
  • minimizing permanent road width; and
  • building roads to maintain flow under the road by ensuring proper use of culverts (minimum of a 20 m spacing is recommended) or building road bases with coarse material (corduroy, chunked wood, cobble- and boulder-sized rock) that allows water to pass through it.

The more you can incorporate best management practices when working in wet areas on your woodlot the healthier streams and wetlands on your property will be and the healthier all watersheds will be for other Nova Scotians. Attention to detail matters and your efforts are greatly appreciated.


Any questions about wetlands and woodlots, the wetland policy or the approval process should be directed to John Brazner, Wetland Program Coordinator for Nova Scotia Environment, at or

Have you renewed your membership?
Memberships in NSWOOA run from 1 January through 31 December.

Are you ready to renew? Do you know someone else who wants to learn more about Nova Scotia's forests?


You'll find a membership application here.


Part 2
Regenerating forests


By Bob Bancroft


For decades forest managers, faced with the challenges of what to do with crappy disturbance forests grown in over former fields and pasture, would recommend clearcutting and planting one or two softwood species. Herbicides would be applied if hardwood competition reared its ugly shoots. This frequently happened where softwoods had been planted on former hardwood sites. The hardwood regeneration should have signaled that the conversion was raging a war against nature's forces. At Pomquet, I wanted to work with nature's ways to hasten the return of long-lived, more ecologically and economically valuable Acadian forest species.


The sugar and red maple, yellow and white birch, white and black ash, red oak, white pine, red spruce and hemlock I found became valuable seed sources in that forest. SpreadingBob Bancroft those trees back through the adjacent disturbance forests became a matter of creating spaces in the tree canopy so some sunlight could penetrate to the soil below. Where mosses dominated the forest floor under softwood stands, raking the moss gave the seeds a better opportunity to take root. The surrounding disturbance forests limited the amount of sunlight reaching the forest floor and maintained the moist soil conditions needed for such tree seeds to germinate and grow. The saplings also reach up into the canopy, producing a tall, straight trunk rather than an open form that grows sideways in all directions, as well as up.  


A wildlife biologist, I quickly discovered that the biggest impediment to re-establishing the Acadian forest was wildlife! Browsers like white-tailed deer, moose, snowshoe hare (rabbits), porcupine, beaver, muskrat, and even mice can severely damage or kill the newly established seedlings. So I developed a protection system for each seedling using steel electric fencing stakes and poultry netting. This approach does require much tending of cages. The deer can chew off tops once they grow above the chicken wire, but by that time the sapling rarely dies. Individual steel fencing stakes can be recycled to protect new seedlings for decades.  


Where no appropriate seed source was nearby, I chose to open the canopy, remove competition in a small area, and plant site-suited Acadian Forest species. Protecting those young trees from wildlife was also essential. To some this might seem like labour-intensive insanity. People invested in Nortel, Bre-X, and other stock market stars that crashed. I invested in the world around me, the woodland and its health. Eventually this forest will create so many seeds that it will be able to sustain itself with wildlife and not need my help. When the spruce beetle struck years ago, my saplings jumped up into the openings created by dying trees. The softwood trunks are slowly dissolving into the forest floor, releasing nutrients for the new forest. Because softwood needles are acidic and leaves are better for the food chain in streams, I had been converting a softwood forest along the stream to hardwoods. Spruce beetles did it for me!


The resulting tree species mix includes trees that should fare well with climate change predictions. So far they are flourishing in the current climate reality. More than 40 tree species are established on 56 acres of woodland. That makes it more diverse and stable. One bug or disease won't wipe out many trees, and the forest offers many new wildlife habitat elements. Beware: The walnuts are squirrel magnets.

Age does have benefits -- I now climb many trees that I planted!

NSWOOA| PO Box 823, Truro, NS B2N 5G6 |
Truly sustainable forest management means that all values of our woodlands
-- ecological, social, cultural and economic -- are preserved for future generations.

Copyright 2012. All Rights Reserved.