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Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association 



"Give fools their gold, and
     knaves their power;
let fortune's bubbles rise
     and fall;
who sows a field, or trains
      a flower,
or plants a tree, is more
      than all."


John Greenleaf Whittier


NSWOOA unveils website changes


The long-awaited redesign of the NSWOOA website is finished!


We encourage you to browse the pages of the new site, located at You'll find a wealth of resources and activities of interest to woodland owners and others who care about Nova Scotia's forests.


You can investigate Acadian Forest restoration and alternatives to clear-cutting on our Sustainable Forestry page, read the latest forest news and research, and learn more about activities at the Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest. If you share our passion for sustainable forestry, you'll find a membership application there, too.


We welcome comments on the new site. Write to us at


Visit us in Falmouth on Open Farm Day


Learn about sustainable forestry while helping to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Castle Frederick Farms in Falmouth.


The Bremner family, which owns Castle Frederick, has generously allowed NSWOOA to set up a booth and talk about sustainable forestry as part of their 2013 Open Farm Day celebration. The event will be held 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, September 15.


NSWOOA directors, staff and friends will offer thoughts on the relationship between good farming and good forestry, on our vision for sustainable forestry in Nova Scotia, and on provincial programs that offer financial support for forestry.




You can have your woodlot questions answered by a NSWOOA forester, start or renew your membership in the organization, or sign up for an inexpensive woodlot site visit. We are also sponsoring hourly wagon rides through the woodlot, fields and wetlands on the farm at 10 and 11 a.m., and 1, 2 and 3 p.m.


In addition, there will be walking tours of the barnyards, where you can see cattle, sheep and horses. Schoolhouse Brewery will be at their hop yard on the farm to talk about their nano-brewery, which will be licensed April 2014. There will also be free access to hiking and mountain bike trails (maps available).


Castle Frederick is celebrating its 250th Anniversary this year. Of course, that calls for cake! Hotdogs and hamburgers, water and pop will also be available, along with live music from 11:30 a.m to 1:30 p.m.


Farm Type:


Beef, Sheep, Forestry & Recreation




568 & 620 Castle Frederick Road, Falmouth, Hants County, NS


Directions to the Farm:


Take Hwy 101 to Exit 7 (Falmouth). Follow the connector to the Evangeline Trail. Turn right, take a quick left at Pothier Motors, then a left at the next stop sign onto Dyke Road. Follow to Castle Frederick Road (about 8 km) and go to the very end of the road.


For a map to the farm:


We hope to see you there!


Give a real Legacy to your friends
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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.


Check out our Facebook page


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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Don't let your friends, family miss out!


There are still a few woodlot site visits available through the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association.


This is a fantastic opportunity for relatives, friends or neighbors who are interested in starting or resuming active management on their woodlots.


With financial support from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, a forester from NSWOOA will visit 100 woodlots over the next few months to talk with owners about their forestland. The program is designed for owners 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 recently.


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


September 2013

Dollars and nickels: Selling timber from your woodlot


By Stephen Cole
NSWOOA Forester


While many NSWOOA members have decades of experience in selling wood, others are new to timberland ownership and management. This two-part article is meant to be a basic primer in the mechanics of timber sales.


Even if you've never sold wood from your own property, you probably know someone who has. You may have heard things like "the landowner received so many thousands of dollars for their wood" or "the landowner received so many dollars per cord" or even something like "the landowner did it on the thirds." But what does all of this really mean?


In Nova Scotia, most of the wood purchased by the mills is quoted either as a "roadside price" or a "delivered price," and is paid by the unit (cords, tonnes, board feet).


Roadside price: The roadside price is the value of the wood sitting on the side of the road where a log truck can reach it. The wood has been cut and hauled out of the woods, and the trucking costs will be paid by the mill.


Delivered price: The delivered price is the value of the wood when it reaches the mill from your woodlot. In this case, trucking costs must be subtracted to determine the price of the wood at roadside. Trucking costs depend on the distance the wood has to be shipped; the shorter, the better in most cases. Delivered price is also sometimes referred to as mill price.
The following items must be paid out of the roadside price (or the delivered price less trucking costs): 
  • The landowner's income for selling the wood, often referred to as "stumpage."
  • Harvesting costs, whether the job is done by the landowner or a contractor.
  • Road costs for logging truck access, if any.
  • Any other costs that may be incurred, such as boundary line renewal, marking of wetlands and watercourses, consulting fees from a forest professional, etc.

If you are harvesting your own wood, then the entire roadside price will come to you, the landowner. If a contractor is harvesting the wood, the most common factors influencing the cost will be:


The distance that the wood must be hauled from the woods to the side of a road. The longer the haul, the more money the contractor will require.
  • The amount of wood to be harvested. A contractor normally has "floating fees" which are the cost of moving machines and gear to a job site.
  • Clear cuts are fast. If you do not want a clear-cut on your land (and I don't blame you!) the contractor will have to take more time to do a good job. If he or she is cutting less wood per hour, they will likely want a larger share of the roadside price.
  • If you have built good roads, done silviculture to improve the quality of the timber, have clearly marked boundary lines, and have a fair-sized job (say 500 to 1,000 cords or 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes of wood), then the "going rate or less" should be enough for the contractor to pay their bills without any additional charges.
After any road costs or other expenses are taken out, the contractor and the landowner will have to divide the remaining funds. Here are a few examples of what this arrangement might look like: 
  • The contractor agrees to pay the landowner 33% of the roadside price. This is sometimes referred to as "doing it on the thirds". In some cases, high-quality timber can return 50% (or more) to the landowner. This is called "doing it on the halves." This may not be a bad option, because if the roadside price goes up, so does your income. The opposite is also true, however.
  • The contractor agrees to pay the landowner a fixed amount per unit. If the roadside price is so many dollars per cord, the contractor may quote a landowner a dollar value per cord. This is probably the most common method of payment. As mentioned, wood is also paid by the tonne (weight) or board feet (amount of lumber in the log). A cord is a measure of volume, exactly 128 cubic feet of stacked wood, bark, and air spaces between the wood.

There are other arrangements for payment, but these two are the most common ones. There are also advance payments and lump sum payments that can be used in different situations. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and will be discussed later.


Harvesting: Do it yourself or contract out?


One of the first major questions when deciding to harvest timber from a woodlot is: Who is going to do the work? If you have the time, interest, equipment, and proper training or experience, you can harvest the timber yourself and sell it "roadside" to a broker or mill.


Broker: An individual who buys timber from private woodland, arranges the trucking of the products, and determines the best market based on what you're selling. A true broker works independently of any mill and sells wood to the highest-paying market on your behalf, then guarantees timely payment for your wood products. Brokers will also identify high-value products on your woodlot, and market them to produce the best return. A common example is the sorting of hardwood sawlogs out of the firewood pile. Of course, the broker will take a percentage of the price paid by the purchasing mills as their compensation.


Mill: A processing facility that accepts raw logs and manufactures them into a finished product. Some examples are firewood yards, studwood mills, sawlog mills, pulp mills, and biomass plants. Most mills buy either softwood products or hardwood products, but not both.


If the task of harvesting your own timber seems daunting, you can enlist the help of friends or contract the work out. Please note that logging is dangerous work and proper safety precautions should be taken by all during the operation.


Contracting work out has both advantages and disadvantages, some of which are listed below. The comments are general and certainly do not apply to all situations or contractors. Also, keep in mind that even if the work is contracted out, you can be involved in the operation. Arranging beforehand with the contractor, an active role in the operation - big or small, as long as it is safe - can help to ensure that the work being done is consistent with your goals.


The advantages of hiring a logging contractor may include: 
  • Experienced logging contractors are well trained to deal with the often difficult working conditions found on woodlots.
  • The work is able to proceed even when you are not available or when weather conditions are extreme.
  • Wood can usually be harvested quicker and more efficiently by a logging contractor if you are in need of money or if the forest is unhealthy and will not wait for you to cut it. 
Disadvantages of hiring a logging contractor may include: 
  • You'll need to have confidence in the contractor's ability to do the job you request.
  • You'll need to have a system in place to oversee and control the quality of the job.
  • You'll need to have a system in place to ensure that you receive payment.

Making certain that you have hired trustworthy a logging contractor or other forest professional is fundamental for any activity involving your woodland.


Next month, I'll offer more thoughts on hiring a reliable contractor, dealing with stumpage payments, and finding other forest professionals.


Healthy forests yield healthy watersheds


(Editor's note: In the past year, NSWOOA has reached out to wildlife, wetlands and other specialists who work with forest-related resources. John Brazner has been a key supporter of the effort. Below, he offers thoughts about the interactions between healthy forests, healthy watersheds and healthy communities.)


By John Brazner

Wetlands Program Coordinator

Nova Scotia Environment 


If someone asks, most of us could draw a rough map of the county we live in, and probably even add a few towns in about the right places. The maps might be a bit distorted, but most likely they would be at least partly functional.


I don't think the same could be said for our home watersheds. We all live in a watershed, but many of us don't realize which one, what that means, why it matters or even approximately what it looks like. Forced to rely on our own hand-drawn map of the watersheds where we live, most of us would be helplessly lost. 



And yet, in many ways, where our watershed boundaries lie is far more important than the location of the county line. County and municipality lines dictate the flow of many local political decisions, whereas watersheds dictate the local flow of water. While your local government may tell you how much your water bill is, where and how you live in your watershed will dictate whether your basement floods after heavy rains and whether your water is safe to drink.  


So, it makes sense to get acquainted with our watersheds. To do this, you need to first realize that a watershed is comprised of all the lands that drain to a common point in the landscape. Since water flows downhill, this means that watersheds are always defined by the highest ridges surrounding a particular valley (or valleys) and all of the land- and water-scape that lies below. Around here, watersheds usually drain out to the mouth of a river that empties into the ocean, but they can just as easily empty into a lake or marsh.


The key thing is that water always flows downhill. If you remember that you can always figure out what watershed you live in. Either by looking at a topographic map with elevation contours on it or by just taking enough time to walk around and find the high and low spots. For big watersheds, and they can be very big (the Mersey River watershed is over 3,000 km2), a map should probably be your first choice unless you really enjoy a long walk.


But why bother with all this? Since the character of our watersheds affects the quality and quantity of water that drains through them and virtually everything we do in our daily lives potentially effects that character, it only makes sense to get familiar with where things drain and where the boundaries are. Research has shown that when we remove over half of the forest, pave or harden the surface of over 10% of a watershed, or fill in too many wetlands, bad things start to happen. Floods are more common, erosion increases dramatically and the health of our streams, lakes and coastlines is reduced.


We've recently seen dramatic examples of what can happen in Alberta, the prairies and even downtown Truro last fall. It's commonly called the mud, flood and crud syndrome. It's time we start making the connection between altering our watersheds and flood, mud and crud. The bottom line is that healthy watersheds usually mean healthy rivers, healthy coastal waters and healthier coastal communities.


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.