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Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association 



"Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man."

-- Stewart Udall
Share your
thoughts on
Sunday hunting

The Department of Natural Resources has invited Nova Scotians to express their opinions on lifting the ban on Sunday hunting.

About 50,000 Nova Scotians hold hunting licences. Depending on the species, hunting season usually runs from early September to early December. Lifting the ban would mean that anyone with the appropriate licence could hunt on Sundays during hunting season.

"No decision has been made, but the public consultation will provide further information about how Nova Scotians feel with regard to this issue," said Zach Churchill, minister of natural resources.

The consultation period will be open until midnight, Friday, 10 April. Nova Scotians can access background information and the consultation questionnaire online here  or call 902-424-7955.

The NSWOOA board of directors has discussed taking a position on this issue. If you want to share your thoughts on the matter, write to us at or call us oll-free at 1-855-NS-WOODS (1-855-679-6637).

Woodlot conferences
coming soon!

Every spring for the last 12 years, as the snow is melting and we're all becoming impatient for spring, woodlot owners from around the province have gathered at one of three regional Woodland Conferences.

The meetings are planned by the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources, the Association for Sustainable Forestry, and other woodland-related organizations and individuals in each region, with sponsorship from local businesses. Each conference is a full day, with expert speakers on a wide range of topics sure to interest a diverse group of landowners. Whether you are a veteran woodlot owner or just bought land in 2014, the day holds something for you.

The first conference is coming up fast! This year, the Western Region Woodland Conference will be held at the Saulnierville Legion, 9938 Highway 1, Digby County, on Saturday, 7 March.

Topics on the agenda include the new provincial Forest Policy; what a service area for private woodlots could look like in the Western region; climate change; soils of the Acadian Forest; woodlot flora; woodland stream crossing regulations; silviculture and road funding opportunities; local markets for wood; the new Medway Community Forest; and results from the first year of the Woodlot Mentorship Program. You'll also hear the views of 2014's Woodlot Owner of the Year, who is from the region.

It's a full agenda, but there's always time to network with friends new and old, and to check out some of the great displays and demos, both indoors and out. If that's not enough to justify the $25 registration fee ($15 for students), a hearty roast turkey dinner is included, along with a chance to win a new chainsaw, along with other prizes for those who pre-register.

Two other regional meetings will be held in the coming weeks. The Central Region Woodland Conference is at St. Andrews United Church, 55 King St., Truro, on Saturday, March 28.

The Eastern Woodland Conference will be held at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Center, 606 Reeves St., Port Hawkesbury, on Saturday, April 18.

Advance registration is appreciated for all of the conferences! If you're interested in attending, call toll free 1-855-624-6670 or register online at

Weather forces
field day change

Note new date!

The next Woodland Owner Mentorship Program field day is now planned for Saturday, 7 March, at Pat and Janet O'Toole's farm in Carrolls Corner, Halifax County. The event was planned by the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners, which is one of our partners in the program, along with Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute.


The 2012 provincial Woodlot Owners of the Year, Pat and Janet practice a variety of selection management techniques on their CSA-certified woodlot. They also manage 1,200 taps in their red-maple syrup operation.

The mentorship program is meant for owners of small woodlands who have an interest in increasing their skills and knowledge. It creates opportunities for forest landowners to learn from each other, provides places for experienced woodlot owners to share their knowledge, and reinforces information provided in the Department of Natural Resource's Woodlot Management Home Study Program.


Information about the home study program is at Ideally, participants will complete one or more modules before traveling to a mentor's woodlot to see and talk about real-world examples of the information that was covered.


The field day starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, 7 March. Lunch is included. Space is limited and advance registration is required.

Contact Wanda Hamilton at 902-639-2935 or to reserve your place and confirm details about the event.

Visit 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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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.


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





February 2015
A primer on silviculture funding

By Christie Verstraten
Research & Program Assistant, NSWOOA

Private woodlots can and should be managed for multiple goals, whether those goals are generating timber income, restoring wildlife habitat, enhancing recreation, or just enjoying the beauty and solitude of a peaceful walk through the woods.

If you've owned a woodlot for long, you've probably thought about what you want from the land and set some goals for realising the values that are important to you and your family. Based on those goals, you may have some idea of what kinds of silvicultural treatments are needed. But how do you fund the work, especially if it doesn't result in any immediate income?

The good news is that financial assistance may be available for silvicultural treatments that meet certain criteria.

To begin the process of accessing the funds, you need to decide whether you want to do the work yourself, hire an independent contractor, or join a members' cooperative in your area. If the answer is a contractor or cooperative, you should approach that provider for help in planning the treatments and receiving funding.

If you want to do the work yourself, you can look to the Association for Sustainable Forestry (ASF) for help. The mission of ASF is to help small woodlot owners do forest improvement work by distributing silviculture funds provided by the provincial Department of Natural Resources.

The first step is to become familiar with ASF silviculture criteria and procedures, which can be found at Then, decide which treatments would be appropriate in your woodlot and could be accomplished over the coming year. You should make sure that the pre-treatment condition of the stands -- as well as the expected post-treatment condition -- qualify for financial assistance. Also, you must commit to leaving your land in forest production for at least 10 years following treatment in order to qualify.

Often, the pre-treatment stand of trees must have certain species, density, or age classes. If you are unsure whether a stand fits the requirements, a registered professional forester or forest technician can help by prescribing silviculture treatments and collecting the appropriate data.

Once you have confirmed that the stand and planned treatment meets the requirements, you must submit a Silviculture Funding Request Form to ASF. You can apply for several treatments at once, as long as they are each in separate stands.

Based on the amount of funding allocated to you, the next step is to complete a Silviculture Funding Application Form. With this form, you must include an application fee of $100. If you're interested in a commercial thinning or selection management, a pre-treatment assessment (PTA) is required in the stand where you want to work. The information required for the PTA varies by treatment, but includes such things as basal area, species present, tree density, and tree height.

Lizz Cogan of the Association for Sustainable Forestry uses a prism to assess whether a forested stand meets the criteria for a silviculture treatment.
(Photo courtesy of ASF)

Your PTA must be completed by an individual who is PTA- or FEC- (Forest Ecosystem Classification) certified. The ASF can do this work for you, or help you to find someone else who is certified. PTA sheets are available on the ASF website.

After your application is approved by ASF, you can carry out the treatment you applied for. Once the job is complete, you will need to submit a Silviculture Funding Claim Form. The form must be accompanied by a post-treatment assessment to confirm that conditions in the stand meet the requirements for that treatment. You must also include a GIS shapefile of the completed area so that the ASF can update its database. If you need any help with creating a shapefile, the ASF has GIS experts on hand to help guide you through the process.

As soon as your claim form is approved, the ASF will send you a cheque based on the area completed and type of treatment. The rate of reimbursement varies by treatment, but it can range up to $20,000 per owner for some activities. The ASF may visit your woodlot at any time to confirm that the work has been completed to the required standards, and can revoke the funding if the job is unsatisfactory or misrepresented.

Don't despair if there is no funding available immediately for your type of treatment. Different amounts of funding are available for different treatments, and funding is more available at some times of the year than others. Keep trying and -- above all -- enjoy the woods!

For more information, contact:

David Sutherland, RPF
Association for Sustainable Forestry
Telephone: 902-895-1179
Think about your goals, win a Husqvarna 550XPG chainsaw 
The new NSWOOA goals assessment tool is attracting a lot of attention from forest landowners. If you haven't tried it yourself -- or told your family and friends about it -- now is the time!

As an incentive to try the goals assessment, every landowner who completes it (and provides contact information) will be entered into a drawing to receive a Husqvarna 550 XPG chainsaw, with a retail value of $810.

The saw was donated by M-C Power Equipment of Truro, or (902) 895-2400. We're grateful to Husqvarna and M-C Power Equipment for their support of good forestry in Nova Scotia!

So, if you haven't used the tool yet, please do! Just click here to visit our website, then follow the link to the goals assessment. If you like it -- and we suspect that you will -- please tell other landowners to visit and check it out. 

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.
More valuable than money?

By Tom Miller
Green Hill, NS

I've often been asked, "Can you make any money doing this?" 

People mean my woodlot stewarding practice of "picking at" my woods with modest interventions, to minimize potential damage. Or, as the late Dr. Wilfred Creighton said, "tickling" the forest.
Dr. Creighton brought us that term after a stint studying forestry in Germany in the early 1930s. A German landowner used the word to describe his gentle management style -- very apt, I would say.

So, back to the question, which I usually answer with one of my own: "You can make money doing this?"

Sadly, I have to say it's hard to make money in today's forestry climate. The industry's promotion of mechanized operations has virtually wiped out the chainsaw operator segment of the work force. It's not all gone, but aging rapidly. This mechanization means that the price paid for the wood you cut is based on high-volume machine operations, not the "tickling" some of us are doing.

For example, pulpwood prices are pretty much the same as 20 years ago. I didn't have to look that up, as (after 40 years at this) I remember the price paid by Scott Paper was $36/tonne roadside in 1995. I wonder how even the machine guys can make any money at that price.

Perhaps it's just as well that the power saw is gone, with the quality of the wood that's left. In the 1950s, about 25 percent of Nova Scotia's forests were 80 years and older. Today, we're at less than 1 percent.

Younger trees equal smaller wood, and "motor manual" (as the Swedes call it) makes it hard to make any kind of a pile (of wood or money). Or, really, it depends. If everything goes well this week, pockets of good wood and short snigs, maybe ... but remember, making money is different than turning it over. I turn a lot of money over.

So why would you do this woodlot thing, own something of real value that really doesn't pay? Turns out, it's about more than the money.

Say what?

Owning land gets into your blood. You start to bond with the place.

It can be really hard to put into words. Perhaps it's got something to do with the magic of trees. Watching things grow has its own rewards. Most woodlot owners have planted a tree or two, walked away and come back several years later to find that it really IS a tree -- taller than you are. Magical!

Maybe you like listening to birdsong while sitting on a camp porch watching the sun go down, or walking on a familiar woodland trail with fall colours and smells. Cutting your Christmas tree, boiling some maple sap, or filling a half-ton with some winter heat. These are things best done on your own woodlot.

It can be a place for the kids to live and learn many valuable life lessons, and something for them to look forward to owning and looking after. The list can get to be endless, and more valuable than money. Imagine that!

Regardless of the financial end of things, we need more tickling going on. It's not as gloomy as I make it sound on that end, just hard to understand in the context of multi-million-dollar sports incomes and the desire to live all of life on Easy Street.

Still, being an "economically viable" operation can mean different things to different people. It might be more about how you spend your time and money than how little of those things you seem to have.

We live in interesting times. The rural landscape seems to be changing, albeit slowly. Small-scale agriculture is getting a hard look by many young people wanting more self-sufficiency. Most farms will have a woodlot that can help with that over the long haul.

The forest can provide so much more than just pulpwood. Let's make the answer to the money question be, "Oh, yeah!"

Editor's note: Tom Miller is a longtime member of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association and a former provincial Woodlot Owner of the Year.

NSWOOA| PO Box 823, Truro, NS B2N 5G6 |