April 2018 Newsletter



Welcome to second edition of the Prince Edward Island Woodlot Owners Association (PEIWOA) 2018 Newsletter. The intent of these quarterly newsletters is to provide PEIWOA members with a summary of forestry and forest-related issues, opportunities, and happenings throughout PEI and the Atlantic region.

The PEIWOA is a new organization developed for Woodlot owners on Prince Edward Island. The Association is an inclusive group of woodlot owners that encourages Islanders to create a more sustainable forest ecosystem and forest resource on PEI. We thank all members for supporting this new initiative and hope that together we can continue to grow this group with a goal of enhancing the forest economy and forest industry of the Island. PEI woodlot owners have a large role to play on the Island and we are committed to being a voice for all concerns of members at a provincial and regional level.





Greetings from the Board of the PEIWOA. “Welcome” to our second newsletter this year. Just a short message this month as you are all invited to the Annual Meeting and Workshop on April 14th at the Tracadie Cross Community Center. Please be sure to come as we have a very interesting lineup of presenters on the agenda. I will have a summary of the year’s activities at the Annual Meeting.   Please let us know if you will be attending as we need numbers for the meal at noon hour.

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the National Building Code being implemented across the Island in the next year or two. We have been in discussion with the PEI government to encourage some exemptions for rural areas. We will have an update on our progress. We will also have presenters enlighten us on the legal rights of woodlot owners on PEI. Most people are not aware of their rights as landowners and the necessity of posting our land if we don’t want uninvited guests. We will also have presenters from the Climate Lab at UPEI  — bringing us up to date on the effects of climate change on our woodlots. They will also tell us what we can do about it if we want to build a sustainable forest for PEI far into the future — for our grand-kids or future generations.

We would like you to consider volunteering for the Board of the PEIWOA as we have a yearly turnover of members. It is only for a two year term as we want to provide continuity for the Board. We have three representatives from each County. We learn something new at every meeting. We are always looking for suggestions and feedback from our members any time.

Please let us know by April 5th if you plan to attend our workshop. We will also have an opportunity to tour a well managed local woodlot in the afternoon – after the meeting (weather permitting). You may contact myself at rowe@pei.sympatico.ca or call 902-940-1933. You may also reach us through the website at www.peiwoa.ca or the email or Facebook contact. Come — bring a neighbor woodlot owner – and let us know so we can enjoy a lunch as well.


John J. Rowe; Chairman – PEIWOA


Getting to Know Our Common Forest Birds

Contributed by: Julie-Lynn Zahavich (Stewardship Coordinator, Island Nature Trust)

Island Nature Trust (INT) is a non-profit organization that protects and manages land across the province. Much of the land INT owns is forested but, until recently, we had very little information about the forest bird community using those forests.

In 2017, Island Nature Trust began an intensive study of the bird communities using forests in INT natural areas and the habitat features important for forest-nesting species at risk. INT staff members conducted early morning point count surveys in six natural areas, located across the island, at 30 distinct locations. During our surveys, all species heard or seen were recorded.

Over the next few months (and newsletters), we will be sharing results from the first year of our Forest Bird Program. To begin, we thought we would familiarize everyone with our most common forest birds. The following species were the 10 most commonly detected during our 2017 surveys. Grab your bird book and follow along, and look and listen for these species next time you are in the woods! If you are interested, there are also phone apps available with all of these birds’ calls, to help ID those that like to sing from the top of the forest canopy.

  1. American Robin (Turdus migratorius) was detected at every point count location. Not surprisingly, Robins are known as habitat generalists meaning you can find them pretty much anywhere! Robins typically build their nests on horizontal branches in the bottom half of trees, but they are not picky and have been known to nest in gutters, eaves, and other outdoor structures. Their song is often described as “cheerily, cheer up, cheer up, cheerily, cheer up”.
  2. Red-eyed Vireo (Vireo olivaceus) was detected at 29 of 30 point count locations. Red-eyed Vireos build their cup-shaped nests in forks of tree branches. Breeding males will sing constantly, with one male known to have vocalized over 20,000 times in one day. Their song is a series of short phrases with distinct pauses in between: “look-up, way-up, tree-top, see-me, here I am”.
  3. Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) was detected at 26 of 30 point count locations. The Black-throated Green Warbler builds a cup-shaped nest in the forks of tree branches using moss, lichens, twigs, bark, spider webs, and grass. Males sing a persistent “zoo-zee, zoo-zoo-zee” during the breeding season.


  1. Northern Parula (Setophaga americana) was detected at 25 of 30 point count locations. Northern Parulas eat a wide variety of insects. They are often associated with mosses and lichens, which they use to build their hanging nests. Their song is a rising buzzy trill with a final sharp note.


  1. Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) was detected at 24 of 30 point count locations. The Ovenbird gets its name from the domed nest it builds on the ground, which resembles a Dutch oven. Their song is a loud “tea-Cher, tea-Cher, tea-CHER, Tea-CHER, TEA-CHER” that rings throughout the forest.



  1. Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) was detected at 24 of 30 point count locations. Black-capped Chickadees, also called the Cheeseburger bird by many, are well-known among bird watchers and feeders. These hardy little birds stick around PEI all winter. They are found in all types of habitats and eat a variety of food, from seeds to insects. Chickadees place their nests within tree cavities that they excavate themselves. Their song is often described as “cheese-bur-ger”, and their familiar call is a clear “chick-a-dee-dee-dee”.
  2. American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) was detected at 23 of 30 point count locations. Crows are often thought of as urban birds, but they are also common in all types of woodland. Crows form large family groups, and older offspring help to raise new young. Crows will eat just about anything, and build their stick nests in crotches of trees near the trunk. Their call is a loud “caw”.
  3. Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) was detected at 19 of 30 point count locations. Golden-crowned Kinglets are small but tough—they stick around PEI all year long! They create small cup-shaped nests high up in trees and close to the trunk. Nests are lined with mosses and lichens. The Golden-crowned Kinglet’s song consists of a series of “tsee” notes that gradually get faster and higher-pitched.
  4. Hermit Thrush (Catharus guttatus) was detected at 18 of 30 point count locations. They often nest on the ground, hidden under overhanging branches or protected by low vegetation. Hermit Thrushes are noted for their beautiful song which is a series of long, clear, musical phrases, each on a different pitch.


  1. Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) was detected at 18 of 30 point count locations. Black-and-white Warblers eat mostly insects that they forage for under tree bark. They build their nests on the ground near the base of a tree or log. Nests are cup-shaped and constructed with dry leaves, tree needles, and grass, and lined with soft materials like moss and feathers. Black-and-white Warblers have a high-pitched “weesy, weesy, weesy” song that sounds like a squeaky wheel.

If you would like to receive updates on INT’s Forest Bird Program, please contact Julie-Lynn at julielynn@islandnaturetrust.ca or call 902-892-7513. Photos included were provided by Donna Martin and Brett MacKinnon

Climate Change and the Forestry Sector

Stephanie Arnold and Adam Fenech

January 30, 2018

Forests are an important resource. Not only are they a home for plants and animals, they are also a source of timber, food, and medicine. Forests also act as natural carbon sinks, support socio-economic activities, provide cultural services, conserve biodiversity, control flood and erosion, filter water, regulate climate and atmospheric composition [1], and conserve anadramous fish and other wetland species.

Across Canada, only 6% of forest land is privately owned; the rest are owned by the federal, provincial, or territorial governments [2]. On Prince Edward Island, however, over 86% of forest land is privately owned by approximately 16,000 individuals and organizations [3]. Land clearing created fragmented small woodlots from large contiguous forest. Out of the Island’s 1.4 million acres of land, approximately 0.62 million acres of it is forest land.

Figure 1: Distribution of forest land in 2010. [4]


Climate Change Impacts

Climate change will bring about warmer weather, changes in precipitation patterns, more intense storms, and rising sea levels in Prince Edward Island.


Warmer temperatures could increase forest productivity, lengthen growing seasons [5], add growing degree days for some hardwood species, and expand suitable habitat for others [6].

The sector could also benefit from regulations put in place to limit greenhouse gas emissions. This could encourage better forest management as it would give owners financial incentive to sequester more carbon with their lands.


Warmer temperatures could shift the suitable range for cold-hard species such as white spruce, balsam fir, and white birch northward in search for cooler temperatures [7, 8]; increase the productivity and expand the range of pests (e.g., bark beetle) and pathogens that are currently limited by winter temperatures, leading to an increase in the range and severity of diseases and pest outbreaks [9]; result in an earlier start to the growing season, increasing frost exposure for plants [10]; shorten the winter soil water recharge period [11]; and intensify water stress from increased evapotranspiration [12].

Figure 2: The current and potential range of white spruce using the CSIRO model and A2 scenario. Green represents the core range of the species; brown represents the extremes of the range of the species; and white represents areas outside the range of the specie [13]

Changes in precipitation patterns could increase the frequency of drought-like conditions and limit migration of tree species from the south if local soil properties do not suit (e.g., dryer soils from changing precipitation patterns).

Extreme weather events such as windstorms and ice storms could increase damage to public forest land and private woodlots [14]. Increasing frequency and impact of storm surge and coastal flooding could inundate and kill trees. Intense rain storms could cause inundation of trees in areas where the water cannot drain away.

There are two noteworthy characteristics of the sector that multiplies the challenges posed by the climate change impacts discussed above. First, there is a general lack of awareness among the general public of the services that forests provide. As a result, there is less attention paid and fewer resources allocated to the monitoring, research, and reduction of the detrimental impacts caused by climate change in this sector. Second, fragmentation makes it more challenging to coordinate a sector-wide response to climate change impacts.

Adaptation Actions

The UPEI Climate Research Lab developed the Prince Edward Island Climate Change Adaptation Recommendations Report, which outlines anticipated climate change impacts for 10 different sectors – Agriculture, Education and Outreach, Energy, Fish and Aquaculture, Forestry and Biodiversity, Insurance, Properties and Infrastructure, Public Health and Safety, Tourism, and Water – and recommends a total of 97 adaptation actions to address them. This was done with the help of input collected from online submissions, public meetings, and consultations with over 70 sectoral stakeholders, including woodlot owners and members of the PEIWOA. The Government of Prince Edward Island will be using this Report in the development of its upcoming Climate Change Action Plan. Below are highlights some adaptation actions recommended for the forestry sector.

Recommended Adaptation Action Suggested Timeline
Form a foundation for evidence-based adaptation planning by conducting research and collecting data (e.g., forecast precipitation patterns, conduct vulnerability assessments for key species, develop comprehensive invasive species management strategy). Short-term (0 to 5 years)
Keep forests healthy and productive and by reducing non-climatic stressors (e.g., reduce pollution, promote development of ground cover, limit overharvesting). Short- to medium-term (0 to 10 years)
Increase natural areas to sustain enough suitable habitats for diverse and healthy populations, particularly where natural connectivity is lacking, biodiversity is under threat, and future species may thrive (e.g., plant trees that are suitable under future climate, restore abandoned agricultural fields, sell tree saplings as school fundraisers). Medium- to long-term (6+ years)
Promote needed adaptation where existing incentive is lacking by using regulatory frameworks (e.g., widen the watercourse and wetland buffer zone). Increase compliance with added enforcement efforts and stricter penalties. Short-term (0 to 5 years)
Demonstrate the importance of forestry and biodiversity conservation and enhancement initiatives by assigning an economic value to the ecosystem services they provide (e.g., pollination and carbon storage services). These benefits and their economic values should be highlighted when generating support for adaptation actions in the sector. Short-term (0 to 5 years)
Generate additional support for adaptation actions by engaging in outreach (e.g., frame the benefits of forests and biodiversity in ways that resonate with the public). Short-term (0 to 5 years)
Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of adaptation activities by connecting with other environmental groups, community groups, and sectors (e.g., coordinated habitat restoration for Fish and Aquaculture and Forestry and Biodiversity sectors). Ongoing
Collaborate with local Indigenous groups to incorporate Traditional Ecological Knowledge. Short-term (0 to 5 years)
Increase capacity within the government (e.g., dedicate more staff to outreach) Short- to medium-term (0 to 10 years)
Develop a coordinated approach to implement the Recommended Adaptation Actions for the sector (e.g., stakeholder meetings, onsite demonstrations). Ongoing

Gradual and incremental changes to the status quo alone will be insufficient in the face of future climate. Meaningful and successful climate change adaptation for the Island will require coordinated, collaborative, complementary, and parallel approaches by the different leads and collaborators (e.g., woodlot owners, sector, experts , public, and governments). To achieve this, a clear vision of sustainability, the willingness to disrupt the status quo, a commitment to work together, and the urgency to act swiftly are needed from everyone. Planned adaptation takes time and the work must begin immediately. It is insufficient to “prioritize” climate change adaptation; adapting to climate change must be considered a normal way of life.


[1] Bourque, C. P.A. and Q.K. Hassan. (2010). Modelled Potential Tree Species Distribution for Current and Projected Future Climate for Prince Edward Island, Canada. Submitted to Prince Edward Island, Department of Environment, Energy and Forestry. Retrieved from https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/climate_change_2010._pei_full_report.pdf

[2] Natural Resources Canada. (n.d.). Forest land ownership. Retrieved from http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/forests/canada/ownership/17495

[3] Dunsky Energy Consulting. (2017, March). Recommendations for the Development of a Climate Change Mitigation Strategy. Submitted to Prince Edward Island, Department of Communities, Land and Environment. Retrieved from https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/pei_climate_change_mitigation_recommendations.pdf

[4] Arnold, S. and A. Fenech. (2017, October). Prince Edward Island Climate Change Adaptation Recommendations Report. University of Prince Edward Island Climate Lab. Charlottetown, Canada. Report submitted to the Prince Department of Communities, Land and Environment, Government of Prince Edward Island, 172p.

[5] Nantel, P., M.G. Pellatt, K. Keenleyside, and P.A. Gray. (2014). Biodiversity and Protected Areas. In: Canada in a Changing Climate: Sector Perspectives on Impacts and Adaptation, (eds.) F.J. Warren and D.S. Lemmen; Government of Canada, Ottawa, ON, p. 159-190.

[6] Bourque and Hassan, 2010

[7] Bourque and Hassan, 2010

[8] Nantel et al., 2014

[9] Nantel et al., 2014

[10] Nantel et al., 2014

[11] Glen, B. (2008). Climate Change and its Potential Effects on the Trees of the Prince Edward Island National Park.

[12] National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Partnership. (2012). National Fish, Wildlife and Plants Climate Adaptation Strategy. Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, Council on Environmental Quality, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, DC. Retrieved from https://www.wildlifeadaptationstrategy.gov/pdf/NFWPCAS-Final.pdf

[13] Glen, 2008

[14] Nantel et al., 2014


An Important Link in the Forest Management Chain

By Sid Watts

As a woodlot owner, who cares very much about the forest, it’s so important to be able to sell some products from time to time. After all, “management” of the forest quite literally means that some trees will be cut in order to promote the growth of trees and create conditions that we desire. Through the past few decades of owning a woodlot my one barrier to doing good management has been the ability to sell small quantities of good logs. Over the years, sawmill after sawmill closed its doors on the Island and our management of our forest had become much more a commodity style of management.

It appears that there is a new generation of folks who want to turn that around and the small family owned sawmills seem to be taking root.   One such mill is Timber Koke’s Mill in Brooklyn.

I’m excited because it is right next door to me but even if it wasn’t, it is an important new mill for Eastern PEI. The mill is owned and operated by a young couple, Ashley and Cody Koke. It is so wonderful to see a young couple with a young family, see a niche in the marketplace and start out on a venture like this.   It is a gamble of sorts but what business venture isn’t a gamble. But from what I have seen, they are making this less of a gamble and more of a well thought out business venture and they are determined to make it work.

By having a focus on custom sawing and producing niche products they are not competing, as much, with commodity lumber.   They are there as much to provide a service as to provide a product. The service they provide is to give their customers what they want and customers are getting what they want! Anything from 20 foot or longer custom beams, to live edge lumber for furniture, mantles or counter tops, to laths and other lobster trap materials can all be made at this mill. They even go out of their way to make the trap material out of the species of wood desired by a buyer.




“We are currently sawing some very large pine into live edge heavy planks for a customer.” Ashley said.   “These will be turned into furniture and everyone wins. Even the metal legs for some of the tables are made locally, so the spin-off is tremendous.”

Why are small sawmills such an important link to promote good forest management? It’s quite simple actually. It’s because they give woodlot owners, who are managing for higher value not higher volume, a place to sell a few good logs.   As Ashley said “We will even buy one log. We want to be part of the community and do our part to help out others.” They have a small truck and loader and are able to pick up smaller quantities of logs. “We know we have to do things that the bigger mills simple can’t do.” Knowing that there is a market for our future logs, both hardwood and softwood, make the management of a small woodlot much more practical.   For me personally, it means that I no longer have to cut potential logs into firewood, simply because I have nowhere to sell them.   Now the log that comes off my trees that I am cutting for fire wood can go to a higher value use.   Over time, the quality of logs in my woodlot will get better and better and be worth more. This will lead to even better management of the resource. As more woodlot owners become familiar with the small mills near to them and what they are looking for then we will all see improvements in the quality of PEI’s forests.

There is a strong desire across PEI to apply good forest management. Some of the management techniques for higher value logs are often slower and more labour intensive. There is a need for some cash flow to support good management for higher value.   Being able to sell small quantities of logs is a huge benefit to woodlot owners and will lead to more owners getting involved. Another benefit to having small custom sawmills is the additional people who will be making a living or at least getting some supplemental income from the forest. As woodlot owners, we need to support our small local mills by doing what we can to keep them supplied with what they need and in turn they will help us do a better job of managing our precious resource.





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