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Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association 



"Until we understand what the land is, we are at odds with everything we touch. And to come to that understanding it is necessary, even now, to leave the regions of our conquest -- the cleared fields, the towns and cities, the highways -- and re-enter the woods."
-- Wendell Berry

Set your goals,
win a 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 clickhere 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.

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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Out and about
A brief update on recent NSWOOA activities ...

Spring is always busy for the association's directors and staff.

Planning for the annual general meetings of NSWOOA and its Otter Ponds Demonstration Forest Division -- arranging locations, dates, speakers, meals, publicity and more -- occupied many hours in the past month.

Preparation of year-end financial reports to be presented at the AGM is another critical activity that occurs behind the scenes. Many thanks to George Johnson and Amy Chapman, the NSWOOA treasurer and bookkeeper, who will both be stepping down this month.

This weekend, Christie Verstraten will be staffing the NSWOOA booth at the Eastern regional woodlot owner meeting in Port Hawkesbury. Andy Kekacs represented the association at the regional meetings in Truro and Saulnierville last month, and also spoke about the mentorship program that we created with the Mersey Tobeatic Research Institute and the Federation of Nova Scotia Woodland Owners. 

On March 25, directors of Otter Ponds met with representatives of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources and Northern Pulp to review the many accomplishments at the demonstration forest over the past four years.

President Will Martin chaired a planning meeting for a provincial Forestry Summit that will be held in mid-May. Work also continued on the association's Forestry Lab proposal, which will be discussed at the annual meeting.

Meanwhile, staff continued to call and send information packets to landowners who have tried NSWOOA's online goals assessment. Work also continued on trail planning and boundary line workshops to be held later at OPDF, along with a "bio-blitz" to identify plant and animal species in the demonstration forest.

April 2015
See you there!
NSWOOA members to gather
April 25 for annual meeting

Family forest owners are invited to learn more about harvesting contracts that protect both landowners and loggers at the 2015 annual general meeting of the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners & Operators Association.


The AGM will be held Saturday, 25 April 2015, in Great Village, NS. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the meeting will wrap up by 3:30 p.m.

Other talks will include:


A look at endangered species in Nova Scotia, and what woodlot owners can do to help them;


An analysis of income from a woodlot under long-term management; and


An introduction to the Forest Lab, a new approach to addressing challenges in the forestry sector.


The AGM will be held at the Masonic Lodge, 30 Station Road, Great Village. The lodge is about 30 km northwest of Truro. Take Exit 11 off Highway 104. Follow Highway 2 west to Great Village. Turn right at the monument; the hall is the second building on right.


The cost is $15 for members and $20 for non-members. Lunch is included; call ahead for vegetarian and gluten-free options. Reservations are not required but much appreciated. Contact Andy Kekacs toll-free at 1-855-NS-WOODS or 


2015 Annual General Meeting
Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners & Operators Assn.
Masonic Lodge, Great Village, NS
Saturday, 25 April 2015

8:30-9  Registration and coffee

9-9:15  Will Martin -- Call to order and welcome

9:15-10  Greg Watson -- Income from a woodlot under long-term management

10-10:30  Break

10:30-11:15  Craig Tupper -- Harvesting contracts that protect landowners and loggers

11:15-12  Amanda Lavers -- Endangered species in Nova Scotia, and how woodlot owners can help them

12-1  Lunch

1-1:45  Will Martin -- Introduction to the Forest Lab

1:45-2:15  Andy Kekacs -- A review of NSWOOA  accomplishments in 2015

2:15-2:30  Break

2:30-3:30  Business meeting


(Write your name below and present this invitation at the AGM to be entered into a free drawing.)


Name: ___________________________________


Part I: A history


Acadian Forest restoration 

By Tom Miller
Green Hill, NS

When I began my forestry career 40 years ago, forest harvesting was predominately clear cutting, much like today. (Though back then, when we removed 85 percent of the volume from a site, we thought of it as a clear cut, unlike today's definition from the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources.)

In that era, restoration of the Acadian Forest (our region's natural forest) wasn't even a concept. It did not become a tool in the forestry toolbox until widespread clear cutting reduced the remaining natural forest to an endangered forest type, according to the World Wildlife Fund.


In the early 2000s, the Nova Scotia Woodlot Owners and Operators Association started heavily promoting the concept of restoration in concert with the Forest Stewardship Council's Maritime Standard. It's somewhat "all the rage" today.


Although my forestry training at the Maritime Forest Ranger School in 1976 was heavily biased toward industrial forestry, and my subsequent employment with the Scott Maritimes Woodlands Department and as a silviculture contractor continued that bias, something started to shift inside me in the 1990s. I was ripe for change when Windhorse Farm's Jim Drescher spoke at the NSWOOA annual meeting in the late 1990s about the FSC and the Acadian Forest. The lightbulb went on for me after that talk, and I dove right in to the restoration idea.


As president of the NSWOOA at that time, I started bringing that agenda to our board meetings, and it was met with enthusiastic approval by the board and the membership. I really feel we (and by that I mean members of the NSWOOA) led the way in this.


We were greatly helped by Jamie Simpson's excellent book on the subject, "Restoring the Acadian Forest - a Guide to Forest Stewardship in the Maritimes." Get this book, it'll be the best $20 you ever spent. Jamie's first book led to another, "Journeys Through Eastern Old-Growth Forests," which is also an excellent read.


The paucity of this forest condition is exactly why we need restoration work. The Acadian Forest is a very long-lived type, not at all compatible with our most-used harvesting system. Most, if not all, woodlot owner groups now talk about the need for restoration as part - at least - of any woodlot owners' objectives.


Even more important is the fact that the NSDNR is promoting the Category 7 section of the Timber Supply Sustainability Regulations.  I say "more important" because this is where the money hits the woods. Through the Association of Sustainable Forestry and most Registered Buyers of forest products, woodlot owners can access funding to carry out various silviculture treatments on their land. Fully 50 percent of the funding available from the ASF is expected to be spent in this category, which is about promoting long-lived, high-value trees - perfectly suited for restoration work in the Acadian Forest.


Category 7(c) is Selection Management, where the woodlot owner works in stands conducive to creating and maintaining uneven-aged forest conditions, enhancing tree growth and encouraging natural regeneration. The "eye-level" view will be basically three stages of forest growth, corresponding to young, middle-aged and older trees.


As with most forestry efforts, this will take some time to fully accomplish. At first, the three (or more) levels may not be present throughout the forest, only in clumps or patches. Over time, however, the right conditions will develop.


"Forest time" is truly long term, and not much in keeping with our "hurry up" world. Patience will be required, along with a clear understanding of what you're trying to achieve.


A natural forest is made up of five basic layers: An overstory of the tallest trees (the "roof," if you will); an understory, which is all the trees beneath the tallest ones; a shrub layer, for example, alders; an herb layer (like ferns); and the forest floor (not the soil, but the debris composting above the soil, the "duff" layer).


A natural forest is quite diverse and wonderful. It also gives woodlot owners the most opportunities that forests can offer. A follow-up article will discuss some techniques that I use to create a more natural forest type on my woodlot.


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 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:




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