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Legacy
Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association 

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"Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does."

 

George Bernard Shaw

 

NSWOOA annual meeting set for Saturday, April 13 

 

A final reminder for members and friends of NSWOOA:

   

You can learn more about the changing goals and needs of forest landowners, the potential for small-scale biomass projects to serve as a new market for low-grade wood, and looming changes to the provincial silviculture programme at the 2013 annual general meeting of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association.

 

Also planned: A look at forestry regulations and landowner outreach programmes in other provinces; and the presentation of the Friend of the Acadian Forest award.
  
A complete agenda can be found at:
nswooa.blogspot.ca.
  
The meeting will be held 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the Masonic Lodge, 30 Station Road, Great Village. The lodge is about 30 kilometers northwest of Truro. To view a map, click here.
  
The public is welcome to attend. The cost is $15 for NSWOOA members and $20 for guests. Lunch is included.
  
Reservations are not required, but would be appreciated. Contact Andy Kekacs, programme director, at
andy.nswooa@gmail.com or 902-817-4763.
  
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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. Just click on the icon below:

 

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Have you renewed
your membership?

  

Memberships in NSWOOA run from Jan.1-Dec. 31 each year.

  
Have you renewed? Do you know someone else who wants to learn more about Nova Scotia's forests?
  
You'll find a membership application 

here.

 

Trees in the city
  
NSWOOA is largely concerned with the rural forests of Nova Scotia, not issues that relate to urban and suburban woodlands.
  
However, the Canadian Urban Forest Research Group has just published an interesting document that looks at the many values and services that trees provide in the city. Since these values also flow -- to a greater or lesser degree -- from rural forests, we'll offer excerpts from the publication over the next several months to highlight the many ways in which trees improve our environment. You can download a copy of the document here.
  
So, from the CURFG:
  
"We value trees in the city because ..."
  

They capture and store carbon.

 

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is one of the main drivers of climate

change. Its concentration in the air is rising largely because of the burning of fossil fuels like oil, gas, and coal. Anything we can do to slow down emissions of carbon dioxide and increase the rate of its removal from the air will be good for the future of the earth.

Trees in the city capture carbon dioxide from the air and store the carbon in their trunks, roots and branches. The more trees we have in the city, and the larger they grow, the more carbon dioxide will be taken out of the atmosphere.

 

They clean the air.

  

Air pollution is an issue for most cities. Research has shown that city trees can contribute significantly to improving air quality. While trees indirectly reduce pollution emissions in cities by cooling them and shading buildings, they also filter the air directly. Gaseous pollutants like ground-level ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and carbon monoxide (CO) are removed from the atmosphere by trees by

absorbing them into the leaves. Particulate matter is also

removed from the air and stored temporarily on the plant surfaces until it washes off in the rain. It has been clearly

shown that overall air quality is better with more trees in the

city.

 

April 2013
 

In the spotlight

 

Acadian Forest owner, writer Bernd Heinrich

(Editor's note: April is a busy month for NSWOOA, so we're bringing you the newsletter a bit early. This month, we feature an interview with writer Bernd Heinrich, who has set many of his immensely popular books in the Acadian Forest. Photos are courtesy of Joe Rankin.)
  
By Joe Rankin
Forests for Maine's Future
  
It's easy to see what makes Bernd Heinrich one of North America's great nature writers: curiosity. Strolling around his property near Weld, Maine, on a late winter day, he notices everything going on around him. Even as intimately as he knows this place he loves, he still picks up on tiny changes.
  
He stops to examine the rings on a tree he cut while thinning his sugarbush. He points out an insect crawling across the snow. He sadly examines splits in the trunk of an American chestnut he planted a quarter century ago and speculates about the cause. He finds endless fascination and inspiration in the natural world, and that has helped make him one of the most popular nature writers of our generation.
  
Heinrich has owned Acadian Forest land here for almost four decades. This cabin on York Hill is a refuge for him, while the land is a huge natural laboratory; a wellspring of ideas for books.
Heinrich is a lean, soft-spoken man who wears his 70-plus years well. He was born in Germany. The family squeaked out of what would become East Germany just before the Russians moved in after the end of World War II. They lived a hand-to-mouth existence in a forest on the Elbe River before coming to the U.S. in 1951.
  
Heinrich went to college at the University of Maine and earned a doctorate at the University of California Los Angeles. He became a professor of entomology at Berkeley, and then a professor of biology at the University of Vermont. Among his many books are Bumblebee Economics, A Year in the Maine Woods, and The Trees in My Forest.

In this interview, Heinrich talks about his relationship to the 600 acres of Maine forestland he owns, and muses on the state of the forest today.
  
How did you come to acquire this property?

I got it because of my roommate in college, Mike Graham. He lived near here. He was a proctor in the cabins where I lived in college, and I used to ride with him back and forth on vacation. When I was at Berkeley I told him, "If you see a little bit of land up here, I'd like to know. I'd like to build a little cabin." Mike said there was this property on York Hill for sale. It was about 300 acres. I said, "What the hell am I going to do with that?" I just wanted about an acre. He said you can subdivide it and sell it. I floated a loan for $30,000 and bought the 300 acres in 1974. I hung on to it and am glad I did. I actually added to it.
  
You started out with 300 acres and you added to it. Why?
  
The additions were within the last five years. This was from Virginia York before she died. She had heavily logged it. It was adjacent. I think I felt the encroaching clearcuts, and I like wilderness. Not necessarily pure wilderness, because this isn't wilderness. I think I felt that I was trying to help maintain a little piece of the woods, especially in this area where I think it's valuable. Because of the scenery, the mountains and the lakes, it's a place where you expect to have nice woods. It's a part of myself that I can leave.

You've logged on some of your property. What's the difference between the type of logging you feel is responsible use of the land and the type that's not?
  
For example, on the other side of this hill, it used to be an old pasture 100 years ago. It's grown up with all kinds of stuff. When I bought it, it had a few pines growing in it. They were a foot and a half across, and some hardwoods. It had been growing there for 50 years. But it was pretty much a thicket. There were a lot of fir trees. Fir trees are pretty short-lived. I had somebody log and I told them, instead of taking the biggest trees, leave the biggest trees. And I have some huge, huge pines now. I like the looks of them. They're over 100 feet tall, four feet at the butt. One of the reasons they grow big was that I thinned it out. Through the logging I had accelerated the return to good forest. Basically it relates to cutting selectively and not taking everything. Also, I would maintain a diversity of species. Even if I take out some pines or maples I would leave some of the big ones to maintain diversity, except for this piece right here where I'm leaving the maples to create a sugaring grove. In terms of dollars, I've pretty closely got back what I put in on the original piece, but that doesn't count taxes. I don't mind if I can support local loggers. I like the idea of giving something back that feeds into the local economy.
  
Heinrich cabin  
This spot has figured in several of your books. Does this piece of land serve as a kind of muse for you? Or are you simply writing about what you know?
  
Both, I think. I know this more than any other place. Naturally you write about what you feel. What you have emotional content in. If you don't have emotional content, what's the sense of writing? So naturally I keep coming back here. I've done a lot of work with insects here, Bumblebee Economics, for instance. Certainly the ravens, the whole study area was here. Ravens in Winter was solely here. And out of that grew Mind of the Raven. That's another reason why I want to come back here. I feel connected not just because of the trees, but the ravens, the bees. Right now I'm finishing a new manuscript called The Homing Instinct and I have another manuscript which is close to being finished. It's called Nature's Undertakers: Life Everlasting and the Balance of Nature. That again relates to ravens. I trap the mice out of the cabin and toss the carcasses out, and I get these burying beetles coming. I put a deer carcass out, road kill, and I watched what came to eat it and I got interested in recycling and undertakers. I was in Africa for a year or two (his time there recounted in The Snoring Bird). I watched vultures there. I relate that to what I see here. What's different with them and the ravens and beetles. Both of those books relate to here. Nature's undertakers ... I think about my own remains. I don't hope to speed anything up, but it's something you start thinking about when you get over 70 years old. One of the new books is supposed to be out in the spring of next year, but I'm not certain which one it's going to be. I'm working on both simultaneously. I often will be doing several. A lot of it relates to events and what's happening. You can't force things.
  
How has retirement changed things for you?
  
I can do the things I want to do. I got really burned out teaching the same course, general biology or zoology, explaining every year how the lungs work and the kidneys work, mostly to pre-med students. You say some things so much you don't think about it anymore, and it gets so boring. Here, it's new every time. Every winter it's something different. Like this year, there wasn't a single red-breasted nuthatch. I haven't seen once since last year. They used to be all over the place. I can notice these things. I also know which trees are producing seeds. This year there were no spruce cones, no pine seeds. Basically they depend on the conifer seeds, which is interesting in respect to the chickadees. The chickadee flocks would follow the nuthatches that spill seeds to the ground and they'd be foraging on that. This year the chickadee flocks were very, very small. You get ideas. And then you want to go back the next year to see how it's going to be then. How things change with time makes it interesting, it adds another dimension. Not just the physical layout. There's the past and the future.  
 
Today there's even more demand on the forest, not just pulp and lumber, but biomass and wood pellets. How do you feel about what we ask of the forest?
  
I see nothing wrong with harvesting for biomass. But it's a matter of scale. Are you going to heat Boston with biomass? I think the forest can provide an awful lot. But I think we've got to have forest rather than just trees. Trying to get the maximum of one thing out of it, that's going to ruin the forest. You want to have everything come out of it. Not just biomass, but good habitat for moose and deer and a semblance of real woods that is aesthetically pleasing, where people can go, where they can find edible mushrooms, say. Good forests make good watersheds, offer good trout fishing. Everything is scale. The more woods are used for different things the more they're going to be preserved. If you concentrate only on biofuels you're going to have only clearcuts or plantations and destroy the woods.

What do you think about "nature deficit disorder," the idea that our children are growing up with minimal contact with nature? Do you think it's real and what does it portend for our future as a species?
  
Absolutely. I just don't know what to say. It's like being asked if water is wet. Kids don't get a chance to know, to value the natural world, except in sentimental ways. It's like there is a river of culture and technology flowing in front of them and of course they are not going to ignore it. They want to go with the flow. We are genetically programmed to do so. But it's not the river of life -- it's an artificial one of ultimate destruction, because it leads increasingly to divert us from the real world, and the more who go with it, the more will join, like the heat of a fire feeding the flames. But should we thus dunk our kids' heads into what they perceive is a puddle? I'm not sure it's that simple. I'm afraid it might engender aversion instead, unless done right.

 

Anything else you'd like to say?
 
I think all civilizations are built on forests, ultimately. And they're incredibly important and potentially provide all of our needs, for meat, fiber, energy, recreation, aesthetics as long as they're big enough and not managed too much. I see this forest here as kind of a model. I harvest trees to get some money. Not a lot. But some. I don't manage them in a sense that I see only lumber. The more I tend to manage, the more potential dangers there are. Twenty years after I started the sugarbush here, I've started noticing more of the sugar borer girdling the trees. I think it has to do with too many sugar maples and no firs or other trees in between. Maybe if there are too many hemlocks, the adelgid would spread more easily. In the end there's kind of an inherent wisdom in what the land wants to do.
  
(Forest for Maine's Future is a partnership of four organizations: Maine Tree Foundation, Small Woodland Owners Association of Maine, Maine Forest Service, and the Center for Research on Sustainable Forests at the University of Maine. Visit their web page at: www.forestsformainesfuture.org.)
NSWOOA| PO Box 823, Truro, NS B2N 5G6 | http://www.nswooa.ca
Truly sustainable forest management means that all values of our woodlands
-- ecological, social, cultural and economic -- are preserved for future generations.

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