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OWA Advocacy

Thinning operationsThe OWA is the voice for private woodlands in Ontario and, as such, emphasizes the importance of forest cover to society and the environment as well as the need to sustainably manage this important resource for future generations.

In addition to providing information to private woodlot owners and partnering with others such as the Stewardship Network of Ontario and the Canadian Federation of Woodlot Owners, the OWA also provides its perspective on important issues as they arise.

Sometimes, two opportunities present themselves for us to submit comments on initiatives of the Government of Ontario.

For example, we presented to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing our views on the government’s Greater Golden Horseshoe review. In both our submissions, we emphasized the importance of the biodiversity found in intact forests as well as their role in providing clean air and water, moderating weather and storing carbon. We recommended that retaining existing woodlands in the Greater Golden Horseshoe region should be a priority and, since most of these are privately owned, additional incentives should be put in place to encourage this. Please find both submissions below.

 

NEW - OWA Policy Development Guidelines

The OWA supports any initiative that promotes sustainable forest management.

The OWA upholds landowners’ rights, under the law, and emphasizes landowners’ responsibilities.

The OWA supports the woodlot owner as steward of our most importance resource.

The OWA expresses concern about any initiative which might reduce forest cover in Ontario.

The OWA advocates on behalf of all woodlot owners in Ontario.

Any advocacy of the Ontario Woodlot Association must be:

  1. Forest-focused: The advocacy must be directed at issues or parts of issues that have a direct connection to forests and those who own them. It must not get involved in side issues that are separate from this focus.
  2. Fact-based: Any data used in presenting a position must be researched, checked and determined to be accurate. Sources must be identified when quoting such data.
  3. Well-articulated: Advocacy positions taken must be expressed clearly, precisely and logically.
  4. Respectful: When advancing a point of view, the argument can be forceful, even passionate and argumentative if deemed necessary, but while we may take issue with differing opinions, we must never lower the debate to a personal level.
  5. Defendable: Advocacy positions must go through a “devil’s advocate” process where the points of view are challenged by others, to ensure they can stand the glare of scrutiny.

pdfGreater Golden Horseshoe Review

Follow up submission to Greater Golden Horseshoe, Oak Ridges Moraine, Niagara Escarpment and Greenbelt Plans

We commented on the government’s review of the Conservation Authorities Act. We pointed out the importance of the CA’s as major owners of forest and wetland and voiced support for any initiative that would help them to manage their lands sustainably. In particular, we recommended that the roles and responsibilities of the various government agencies, provincial, regional or municipal, be clarified in regards to forest management.

We supported the CA’s watershed approach to land management and pointed out their important role in providing employment and training opportunities to the next generation of foresters, ecologists, botanists, hydrologists and planners.

pdfOWA Comments 2015 - Conservation Authority

 Firewood, the Greenest Energy:

In 2009, the Ontario Woodlot Association published a paper titled “Fuelwood, the Environment and the 21st Century” which argued that firewood should be recognized as a renewable resource with strategic value as we adapt to climate change.

The paper suggested that firewood harvests, carried out as part of a sustainable forest management plan, removing the trees with the poorest characteristics, leaves room for the best specimens to grow faster and sequester carbon faster. The result is a healthier, more productive forest for future generations. The firewood market provides the incentive to do all the work involved in removing those poorer trees.

In addition, it is argued, homes heated with properly dried, locally harvested firewood, and used in today’s advanced technology wood stoves, results in a much smaller carbon footprint than other conventional fuels. The pollution leaving the wood stove chimney, while still slightly greater than that of heating oil, compares favourably when all factors are weighed.

The total environmental cost of resource extraction, processing, transportation, storage and burning to heat our homes needs to be factored in and is far higher for all other fuels.

As well, the paper argues that firewood is part of the rural culture and a local economic engine. Money spent on this traditional activity stays in the local community.

The Ontario Woodlot Association advocates for firewood to be recognized as part of the green energy strategy for this province.

“Fuelwood, the Environment and the 21st Century”

 

Family Forests: The Unsung Heroes:

Ontario Woodlot Association members own their properties for a variety of reasons.  Some augment their income through forest products; others see their woodlot as an environmental oasis, protected from the footprint of human activity.  In between these two ends of the spectrum are those who focus on recreation, wildlife habitat, hunting or simply a place of solitude.

What we all have in common, however, is our fascination with trees and forests and a desire for their wise use. 

The Ontario Woodlot Association believes that private forests have never been given the recognition they deserve in our frenetic world of consumerism and instant gratification.  It’s ironic that in a society where something only has value if you can put a dollar sign on it, forested land goes largely unnoticed.  In fact, some see forests as merely an impediment to making real money.

And yet, it can be argued that our woodlands are the most valuable of our possessions; outweighing all else.  They are an inheritance to be handed on to the next generations.

The Ontario Woodlot Association advocates for the recognition of all the services forests provide to our society and that landowners be encouraged and assisted in their efforts to manage their woodlots sustainably. 

The True Value of Woodlots

Member Profile

  • Tony and Ann Bull
    Tony and Ann Bull

    Our property had about 30 ha of established bush and some open fields, as well as a house and barns. The year after we bought the place we had 6 ha planted in red pine thanks to the Woodlands Improvement Agreement. The bush is quite varied; stands of white pine and poplar and many mixed stands. A small area of red pine was planted in the mid 1970’s. There had been no extensive harvest in 50 years.

    Over the years we cut enough wood to heat the house and sell a small amount that we did not need. We cut trees of inferior quality and those that competed too successfully with red pine which need full light.

    Membership in OWA led to learning more about woodlot management. In addition, we achieved Forest Stewardship Certification for the woodlot via the Eastern Ontario Model Forest that holds the FSC certificate.

    In preparing a management plan we became convinced that the established forest was in need of an improvement thinning. The thinning operation started in the winter of 2005; the last load taken out in October 2006. A local horse logger conducted the operation under contract with Laverne Heideman and Sons. They did not have the best quote price-wise, but they had a good reputation for a quality operation. Our interest was in the state of the bush after logging, number one; and a fair price. We felt that we achieved both. And in 2011 we had a first thinning of the red pine plantations that we had planted in 1986.

    In addition to working in the bush we hike and ski on our trails, and enjoy the solitude and privacy that comes with a substantial area of land. Caring for the bush and its inhabitants and outdoor experiences in all seasons and weather, both severe and benign, has greatly enriched our lives.

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