The Forest Carbon Opportunity for Woodlot Owners
By Jamie MacKinnon
VP, Environmental Solutions
A carbon cap-and-trade program entered into force on January 1, 2017, putting a price on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with fossil fuel use throughout Ontario. The program will allow for GHG reductions from such things as carbon sequestration from forests to generate offsets that can be sold to entities within the cap-and-trade program to meet their compliance requirements. Between now and 2020, such companies can use up to 43 million tonnes of CO2 worth of offsets for this purpose. With current carbon pricing at over $18 per tonne, and regulated floor prices scheduled to rise, the Ontario market offers a significant new revenue opportunity for forest owners in the province. The Ontario Government is working on developing several forest carbon protocols for recognition of offsets. The most promising for private woodlot owners are Improved Forest Management (IFM) and Avoided Conversion (AC). These initiatives are based on the California protocol, which has been very successful at rewarding forest owners for sustainable forest management.
Lyme Disease — and the Associated Issues with Diagnosis (or no Diagnosis) — Part I
By Don Willis, RPF, Near North Chapter
The bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi is carried by the blacklegged deer tick and can cause Lyme disease in humans. Lyme disease is not easy to diagnose, and the health-care community is struggling to learn more about diagnosis and treatment. Physicians are either aware of the disease or not — and hopefully have the basic understanding of the need for immediate treatment when informed about someone being bitten by a blacklegged deer tick.
By Thom Snowman
Among the many benefits provided by Ontario woodlots is the protection and production of water. While 60–65% of the province’s population draws artificially treated water from the Great Lakes or major rivers, the remainder relies on other surface waters or groundwater supplies that are at least partially kept clean by the 66% of Ontario that is forested. While provincial statistics show that 90% of the forest is in public parks or Crown land, there are 170,000 private woodlot owners who pay property taxes, yet provide protection for drinking water without compensation for that service. Drinkable water is an increasingly valuable commodity, produced for free by forests, yet very expensive to produce through artificial filtering and treatment.
Wildflowers: the gems of Ontario’s woodlots
By Jenny McCune, University of Guelph
Woodlots are treasure troves of wildflowers. Over the past two summers, I’ve had the pleasure of doing plant surveys in over 100 private woodlots in southern Ontario. Many woodlot owners are surprised to find out about the number of different species growing in their woodlot. In a one-hectare (2.5-acre) area, my assistants and I have recorded anywhere between 27 and 160 different species of plants, including trees, shrubs and herbs.
Remarks by Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry at the OWA Annual General Meeting on April 29, 2017
By Deputy Minister Bill Thornton
Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry Bill Thornton at the OWA AGM on April 29, 2017 Photo by Peter Hill
I appreciate your invitation and welcome the opportunity to speak at your AGM. Let me say that I am aware of the great work that the OWA does on behalf of the owners of Ontario’s privately owned forests, and I congratulate you on your 25th anniversary. Since your association’s establishment in 1992, you have worked tirelessly to ensure that our private forests continue to contribute to the health of the province’s environment, economy and society.
Redheaded Pine Sawfly Neodiprion Lecontei
The redheaded pine sawfly is a common and natural forest pest of red pine forests in Ontario. It can cause serious havoc in young red pine plantations, many of which are located on private land and have received a significant amount of investment on behalf of landowners. Red pine is selected for planting since it is easy to establish in an open field environment and can be effectively managed through a series of plantation thinnings for forest products, such as decking lumber and hydro poles.
Dog-strangling vine in Ontario: Caterpillars to the rescue!
By Naomi Cappuccino, Carleton University
Dog-strangling vine (DSV), also known as pale swallow-wort, was introduced from Europe in the late 1800s. DSV has become a highly invasive weed in the Ottawa Valley, Toronto area and elsewhere in eastern North America. DSV is native to the grasslands of European Russia and Ukraine. Although it is a rare species in its homeland, in North America it forms extensive, dense mats of intertwined stems that choke out other vegetation. It thrives in a variety of habitats including hedgerows, fields and woodlots. Once it has invaded an area, it is extremely difficult to eradicate.
By Peter Hill, Haldimand Chapter
Our little heaven is in Haldimand County, Carolinian Canada country! It’s long and narrow and of the 80+ acres (I still haven’t converted to hectares), some 30 acres at the southern end is wooded. It’s a nice mix of hardwood species with some conifers thrown in. It has vernal pools, wetland and a slightly rolling nature. On the east side it is adjacent to our neighbour’s large 20-year-old white pine plantation, and the total interconnected forest through several properties must run to over 300 acres.
One of the signs that spring has finally arrived is the melting of snow and the emerging green growth that begins to poke through the forest floor. The ostrich fern Matteuccia struthiopteris is one of spring’s early risers. Named after the Ancient Greek struthio meaning ostrich and pterion meaning wing, the common and scientific names refer to the large, feather-like shape of the fern. The curled crosiers that emerge in the spring are fittingly called fiddleheads.
Prior to massive European-style agricultural development, the most productive lands in east-central Ontario were rich deciduous forests. Oaks, butternuts, beech, hickories, black walnuts, chestnuts and hazels were common and were often substantial food resources for many forest dwellers. However, modern Ontarians praise their forests mostly for white pine and sugar maple and have forgotten or do not know all the rest of the remarkable species rarely seen on woodlots and in provincial parks. They almost disappeared from our landscapes and may become extinct if we do not boost the propagation potential of remaining populations or even individual majestic nut-bearing trees.
Wetlands are lands that are saturated with water long enough to cause the soil to become waterlogged, and the growth of water-loving or water-tolerant plants to occur. Wetlands are transitional habitats, often forming the connection between aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. They can occur where the water table is at or close to the surface, in low-lying locations, or along the edges of lakes and rivers. Many wetlands are permanently flooded, while others flood only periodically in the spring or fall. You can often walk through such areas in the summer without ever getting your feet wet!
by Lynn J. Landriault
Historically, southern Ontario was covered by forests interspersed with lakes, wetlands, grasslands, and other open areas. The natural landscape has changed dramatically as a result of agricultural practices and urban development. In many areas, private woodlots are the only remaining forests, and are critical for maintaining tree diversity and providing habitat for wildlife that require forest cover. Thoughtful, well-informed management approaches can result in woodlots that provide habitat for a wide range of forest-dependent wildlife species, while providing owners with a host of other benefits, including economic benefits in the form of wood products.
By Paula Vopni and Bruno Pretto
Woodlot owners are familiar with the many colourful and delectable mushrooms that emerge from the forest floor after spring and autumn rains. These mushrooms are much sought after, and wild mushroom gathering and cooking are delightful and rewarding activities. While these “earth” mushrooms, such as chanterelles, morels, and truffles, are ephemeral and difficult to cultivate, there is a whole category of more reliable “wood” mushrooms that grow on trees and fallen logs in natural woodlands. These wood mushrooms can be purposefully cultivated in a controlled manner. This article is intended to give you a basic understanding of how you can cultivate nutritionally valuable, gourmet mushrooms such as shiitake and oyster mushrooms on hardwood logs outdoors under the forest canopy. You will find some valuable references at the end of the article for further learning and for ordering mushroom growing supplies.
By Dick Lalande
Few woodlot owners take advantage of operating a commercial woodlot as a farm, and each owner and their own situation is unique This article will focus on a theoretical woodlot, Harry’s Commercial Woodlot, which is a forested, 400-acre mixed forest, some planted trees, swamp and field mix, situated in eastern Ontario.
This spring I had the pleasure of visiting Kelly’s Blueberry Farm near Bancroft. The blueberries were in bloom, and the bushes were alive with hundreds of bumble bees and other native solitary bees. Notably, the blueberry growing area on the Kelly’s farm is surrounded by forest on all sides. Few insecticides, if any, are used and all manner of wild flowering plants are allowed to flourish on hillsides and natural lands. On a tour of the woods I saw numerous native flowering plants on the forest floor and the forest edges boasted staghorn sumac, virgin’s bower, wild apples, choke cherries, pussy willows, meadow sweet, and many more flowering shrubs, all of which are nectar and pollen sources for bees. The trees themselves, although mostly wind pollinated, are visited by bees in early spring when other pollen sources are scarce and tree pollen is plentiful. My guess is that many of Ontario’s wooded areas are much the same--expanses of good foraging habitat for Ontario’s bees.
A series of case studies were developed to profile examples of responsible long term forest management in southern Ontario. Eight landowners were interviewed to gather their financial and forest information and to summarize the history of activities on their properties. Annual revenue and costs for various products (timber, fuelwood, and maple syrup) were obtained from the landowner. A representative crop model was developed for a typical crop rotation in Ontario using corn, soybeans & wheat. The model was based on crop enterprise budgets developed by OMAF, which reflect agriculture industry average costs and returns. A Present Value calculation was used to estimate the equivalent 2010 value for revenue and costs from the woodlots and agriculture crops. This paper summarizes the results of the eight cases. The results show that, during the time periods covered in this study, sound management of woodlots has provided returns that are complimentary and favourable in comparison with agricultural returns. The overall purpose for this study was to promote and document responsible management of privately owned forests.
To access the full report, click here.