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Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association 



"Trees're always a relief, after people."
-- David Mitchell
Tell your friends!
The new NSWOOA goals assessment tool is a cornerstone of the association's outreach program in 2014-15.

If the tool proves to be successful, it will be a compelling argument for our values-based approach to forest management, which puts landowners' own goals for their woodlots first.

The assessment gives us a way to demonstrate that listening to woodlot owners and helping them to reach their goals is more likely to result in healthy, productive forests than focusing on short-term timber supply needs. 

I'd like to make a personal appeal for your help in telling landowners about this unique tool.

If everyone who reads this asks five friends, family members or neighbours to try the assessment, we'll easily reach our goal for the year.

It couldn't be easier. If you haven't used the goals tool yet, please do! Then, tell five other landowners to visit:

They'll discover a fun and easy tool that can start them on a lifetime journey to restore and conserve the native forests of Nova Scotia. 

Think of it as your contribution to  the success of NSWOOA this year, and (more importantly) to better forests for our children and grandchildren.

-- Andy Kekacs
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Do you have questions
about good forestry?

NSWOOA is committed to being your best source for information about sustainable forestry. We do not offer silviculture or harvesting services; our interest is only in the protection and enhancement of the native forest ecosystems of Nova Scotia.


Truly sustainable management requires that all the values of our woodlands -- ecological, social, and economic -- be preserved for future generations. That's a complex undertaking.


Current forest conditions, markets, soils, an owner's personal goals, tax planning and many other factors influence which activities should be considered in any stand of trees.


If you have questions about sustainable management of the Acadian Forest, we want to hear from you! Give us a call at:




Jim Crooker hosts
next field day
Time is running out to reserve your place at the next Woodland Owner Mentorship Program field day, which will be held 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at Jim Crooker's woodlot in South Brookfield, Queens Co.

Jim is one of several experienced woodlot owners from around the province who have agreed to host field days to help others to learn more about forest management. Join us on his forestland to take a practical look at the following Home Study modules: Roads and Trails: Planning it Right from the Start, and Woodlots & Wildlife.

Jim's 850-acre woodlot demonstrates a firm commitment to sustainable and responsible management. He is the sixth generation of Crookers to manage this property. 

Jim uses a four-wheel-drive tractor and log loader to do most of the work in the woodlot, but he will occasionally use horse logging techniques, too. Aside from primary forestry activities, the woodlot is also used by cross-country skiers, hikers, local mushroom harvesters and hunters (with permission), and for woodland workshops. 

The field day will be spent in Jim's beautiful woodland, and lunch will be provided at the nearby North Brookfield hall. Registration is essential! For more information, or to reserve a place, contact Jane Barker of the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute at (902) 682-2371.


October 2014
More than 135 landowners try NSWOOA goals assessment tool 
Responses to the question: "On my woodlot, I'm interested in learning more about ..."
By Andy Kekacs
Executive Director

Just five weeks after it was released, our online goals self-assessment for forest landowners has been used by 138 people.

The tool helps family forest owners to determine and prioritize their goals for woodland ownership. It also gives them an easy way to ask NSWOOA for the information and other resources they need to achieve their goals.

NSWOOA has begun to respond to the requests. Meanwhile, we're learning more about the changing interests and needs of family forest owners.

To date, 83 percent of the people who have used the goals tool owned forestland in Nova Scotia. About 49 percent owned 40 hectares of land or less, while 44 percent owned from 40.1 to 400 hectares.

Half of the landowners were younger than 56, while half were older. The age range of 26-45 years old was probably over-represented in the results, with 25 percent of those who tried the tool in that age bracket. 

About 25 percent of the respondents (or their families) had owned their forestland for 0-5 years, 34 percent for 6-25 years, 9.1 percent for 26-50 years, and 31.8 percent for more than 50 years.

These numbers suggest that the goals assessment is attracting a wide variety of woodlot owners, somewhat weighted toward younger people but including many veteran or multi-generation owners.

We're not yet ready to offer a full report on our findings, but there is at least one interesting -- and somewhat unexpected -- twist. 

Research projects across Canada and the United States have consistently found that most landowners rank non-economic values as more important than income from their woodlots. This is also true for owners who tried our self-assessment. 

(Landowners were allowed to choose more than one goal or information need for the following questions, so the totals do not add up to 100 percent.) 

"Restoring a natural forest ecosystem" and "protecting beauty and solitude" were identified as a first- or second-ranked goal of 53.1 percent of landowners who used the tool, while "improving wildlife habitat" was a first- or second-ranked goal of 51.9 percent.

However -- and this is important for NSWOOA's outreach effort -- economic issues were more frequently identified than non-economic topics as something that landowners are interested in learning more about.

Some 52.6 percent of owners wanted more information about "cutting firewood while improving the health and value of the forest," while 49.1 percent were interested in learning more about "earning income from selling wood" and 47.4 percent in "building value and providing a legacy for my heirs."

Of the non-economic values that were identified as primary goals for forest landowners, only "improving wildlife habitat" was listed among their top information needs, with 51.7 percent of owners saying they'd like to learn more about it.

We'll continue to monitor the responses and the written comments that we get from the goals assessment tool. These early results, however, suggest that it is premature to conclude that most landowners don't want to manage the wood on their land and build value over time. 
Landowners flock to field day
at Miller woodlot in Greenhill

Tom Miller

More than 30 woodlot owners trekked to Bearwood Farm on Oct. 18 to hear former NSWOOA President Tom Miller talk about Acadian Forest restoration.

It was a great start to the new Woodland Owner Mentorship Program, which is a joint effort of NSWOOA, the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners, and the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.

Success was inevitable. Tom is an engaging speaker with a lifetime of practical experience in the woods. He was provincial woodlot owner of the year in 2005.

An exceptionally beautiful day added to the pleasure of tramping through the woods with Tom and his son, Matt, who is a director of NSWOOA and forestry coordinator at the Ecology Action Centre.

Tom discussed his approach to forest management, which focuses on "thinning thickly" and giving the forest time to develop. Wildlife habitat improvement and diversity in species and ages are primary goals at Bearwood Farm, which is about 50 kilometers east of Truro in Greenhill.

Acadian Forest restoration is a topic of keen interest to many Nova Scotia landowners, who want to bring complexity back to woods that have been degraded by past harvesting decisions. Participants enjoyed thought-provoking conversation and a hearty midday meal.

The next field day in the Woodland Owner Mentorship Program series will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at Jim Crooker's woodlot in South Brookfield, Queens County. For more information, please the related story in this edition of Legacy.

Funded by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, the Mentorship Program aims to create opportunities for family forest owners to learn from each other, and gives experienced owners a chance to share their knowledge.

A major goal of the program is to enhance the information provided in the DNR's Woodlot Management Home Study series. The field days bring topics in the Home Study series to life in a woodland setting, allowing participants to talk with veteran landowners about their successes and failures.

(Photos courtesy of Dan Hutt)

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 2014. All Rights Reserved.