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Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association 


"I looked up my family tree and found out I was the sap.


Rodney Dangerfield


Site visit

Let your friends, neighbors and relatives know: NSWOOA's 2013 woodlot site programme is under way, and it's a tremendous bargain for folks who want to learn more about their woodlands.


Research has shown that Nova Scotia's 23,000 small-woodlot owners want their lands to provide a wide range of benefits, including recreational opportunities, wildlife habitat, income and a legacy to pass down to their children. Many owners, however, say they do not know where to begin.


With financial support from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, a forester from NSWOOA will visit 100 woodlots over the next eight months to talk with owners about their land. The program is designed for forest landowners who have a strong interest in the health of their woodlands and want to enhance the many values that forests provide, but have not participated in active management.


Farmers, maple sugar producers, blueberry and Christmas tree growers, hunters and anglers, bird watchers, hikers and those who simply enjoy the solitude that woodlands provide are invited to apply. Landowners with a minimum of 10 forested hectares (about 24 acres) are most likely to benefit.


We believe that landowners' own goals come first, so the visit will begin with a discussion of their reasons for owning the land, and their short- and long-term objectives. Then, staff forester Stephen Cole will walk the property (with the owner, if possible) to assess conditions on the ground and talk about what he sees. Participants will receive:


A written summary of opportunities in the woodlot that are consistent with the owner's own values, objectives, and goals;


The most current aerial photograph of the land;

An introductory membership in NSWOOA; and


A list of other resources and service providers for forest landowners.


This visit would typically cost $200-250, but the provincial funding allows us to charge just $25. If you want more information about the project, please contact Stephen Cole at 902-309-1062 or

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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 



Trees in the city
NSWOOA is largely concerned with the rural forests of Nova Scotia, not issues that relate to urban and suburban woodlands.
We are continuing to publish information from the Canadian Urban Forest Research Group about the many values and services that trees provide in the city, however. That's because the same benefits flow from rural forests. You can download a copy of the CUFRG report here.
From the report:
"We value trees in the city because ..."

They improve water quality.


The City of New York has it right -- better to pipe clean water into the city from a healthy forest hundreds of kilometres away than to treat dirty water from the river within the city's boundary. The more trees we have in the city, the cleaner our waterways will be. Trees help reduce runoff and stormwater flow, both of which can affect water quality in lakes and streams. Trees can even help reduce water pollution into the ocean.


Consider Halifax, where there is only one sewer system for both sanitary and stormwater flows. The sewage treatment system is designed to spill water directly into the ocean, untreated, when storms bring so much rainfall that it  

would overwhelm the treatment plant. Given that trees can significantly help reduce stormwater flow, then in cities like Halifax, the urban forest contributes to keeping the harbour water clean.


They conserve biodiversity.


Biodiversity, in the simplest terms, refers to the full diversity of life on earth and includes diversity of gene pools, species, communities and ecosystems. Trees themselves represent important elements of

biodiversity, but they also serve as host and habitat for a wide range of other organisms such as fungi, lichens, insects, birds, mammals and other plants. The ability of trees to contribute to urban biodiversity increases enormously as one moves from single isolated trees to lines of

trees along streets and lanes, and further to stands of trees in parks and other areas.


Urban forests can contribute immensely to biodiversity conservation through inclusion of the full range of native tree species in their full spectrum of ages and community associations.

May 2013 

Part 1


Report on the 2012 landowner outreach project 

By Stephen Cole

NSWOOA Staff Forester


With financial support from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, NSWOOA undertook a woodlot owner outreach project in 2012. The work was part of a broader provincial initiative to encourage more private woodlot owners to become active managers of their lands. This final report describes the work completed by NSWOOA from May through December 2012.


The outreach project was undertaken by Stephen Cole, our staff forester, during a time of sweeping change in the provincial forest sector, as well as a sharp decline in the percentage of private woodlot owners who are selling timber. The goal was to make contact with approximately 100 landowners and determine the current state of their woodlots and their current/future goals and objectives.

Landowners received a visit by the forester (usually a 2-5 hour walk) on the woodlot, discussing their ideas, vision, and options for forest management. This information was summarized in a short report, which the landowner received along with an aerial photograph and an information package containing a list of other information and resources based on their needs.


Ultimately, 102 landowners from Liverpool to Amherst to Cheticamp were visited. At each woodlot, the following were identified or assessed: 

  • Age of landowner
  • Parcel size
  • Status of use
  • Goals and objectives of landowner
  • Road access
  • Presence and abundance of timber
  • Result of outreach
  • Interest in alternatives to clear-cutting harvest methods
  • Interest in using silviculture programs
  • Interest in having a management plan



The ages of woodlot owners visited during this project are summarized in Figure 1. The total hectares represented by each age group are displayed in Figure 2.

Figure 1

Figure 1  The age of woodlot owners visited during the 2012 NSWOOA site-visit project


  Figure 2

Figure 2  The total hectares in each age class





Parcel size (or acreage) plays a role in determining a landowner's participation status and goals and objectives. The size of acreages owned by the landowner varied from less than 10 to over 2,000 hectares. For the purpose of this report, parcel size can mean the sum of multiple abutting PID numbers. The parcel size of woodlot owners visited during this project are summarized in Figure 3. The total hectares represented by each size class is displayed in Figure 4.


Figure 3

Figure 3  The number of landowners visited under each parcel size class


Figure 4  

Figure 4  Total hectares represented by each parcel size class





One of the first things to be identified through the Outreach Project was the current level of engagement. The following is a list of why landowners own woodlots today as encountered during the Outreach Project. The number in brackets indicates how many of the 102 landowners fell under that category. The total hectares represented by each category is displayed in Figure 5.


1.Managing their woodlot for forestry purposes (34)

2. Not managing, but are interested in managing for the first time (21)

3. Not managing, but have managed before are interested in managing again (11)

4. The woodlot is only harvested for personal use (15)

5. Their woodlot is an extension of the backyard and is used as such (13)

6. Their woodlot is not with their home and is used for recreation only (8)


Figure 5

Figure 5  Total hectares represented by each status of use category





The goals and objectives of the landowner are generally reflective of their reason for owning the woodlot and have been presented below. The number in brackets indicates how many of the 102 landowners that have been visited would name this as one of their goals.


(Note: The total will not add up to 102 as most landowners had several objectives.)


1.Sustainably manage the woodlot for the future (79)

2. Periodically harvest timber (69)

3. Conserve rare forest types (18)

4. Manage Christmas trees (10)

5. Perform silviculture (54)

6. Just own it to walk on it (10)

7. Increase bio-diversity and/or forest health (43)





At each woodlot, the timber crop was subjectively assessed by the forester to determine what portion of the woodlot was cut-over, immature wood, or harvestable. The amount of timber was also subjectively assessed in solid cubic meters.


(Note: Just because merchantable wood was present may not mean a harvest is economically feasible or that the landowner desires a harvest.)




1. Most of the woodlot has been clear-cut in the last 20 years (28 sites)

2. The woodlot is dominated by harvestable timber (43)

3. The woodlot contains a mixture of timber conditions (41)




1.No harvestable wood at all (18 sites)

2. Less than 200 m3 (12)

3. Between 200 and 1000 m3 (26)

4. Greater than 1000 m3 (46)





At the end of the project, a follow-up phone call, e-mail, or the results of on-site discussion were used to assess what each landowner intended to take as a next step, if any, towards managing their woodlot. This was done for all 102 landowners.


1.Began or continued management themselves (56 owners)

2.Sought out professional management (consultant, group venture, etc.) (10)

3. Sought out a contractor to begin work (11)

4. Interested, but unable to move forward with management (8)

5.No change in level of engagement (17)





One possible reason that private landowners have disengaged from active management is the indiscriminate clear-cutting that dominates the landscape of rural Nova Scotia. We asked each landowner if they would prefer to harvest using non-clear-cut methods where appropriate. Out of the 102 landowners visited, 84 (82%) said they would allow harvesting on their property using non clear-cut methods.




Under the Registry of Buyers program, Nova Scotia users of primary forest products are required to contribute to a silviculture program for the wood that they consume. The government also has an annual silviculture budget, which is administered through the Association for Sustainable Forestry (ASF). Of the 102 landowners visited, 84 (82%) were interested in accessing government silviculture programs for their woodlots.




Without any explanation or description of what a plan would contain or provide, 65 of the 102 landowners (64%) indicated that they would like to have one. Furthermore, of the 36% who said they were not interested in a plan, 23% already had one, which is why they declined. This means that only 13% of the 102 landowners were completely uninterested in having a management plan. No effort was made to distinguish between certified and non-certified plans, just management plans in general.


Next month, we'll offer some thoughts about conclusions that can be drawn from the 2012 site visit programme.


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.