PEIWOA Fall Newsletter – Nov 2017


Welcome to the third edition of the Prince Edward Island Woodlot Owners Association (PEIWOA) 2017 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.





Hello again from the Board of Directors of the PEIWOA.  Our newsletter is behind schedule as we have lost our editor and the Board had to step up and get it done.  Everyone is very busy and when an organization runs strictly on volunteers, it is difficult to get everything accomplished on time.  We also need more input from you — the members of the PEIWOA – as to what you would like to see happen this year.  We would also like to see more of you volunteer and make an effort to get involved.

We had an opportunity to sit down with Minister Mitchell early in the summer and outline some of our ideas and suggestions for the industry on PEI.  We have lots of contact and discussion with Dep’t of Forestry personnel but we haven’t been able to move our agenda forward as quickly as we would like.

Early in September we were invited to tour the new biomass heating facility that is now in operation at the Prince County Hospital. The company –ACFOR – has a number of biomass units heating a number of government buildings here on PEI.  This should be an opportunity for PEI woodlot owners as the demand for biomass increases.  There are a number of companies already providing heat by burning biomass and this helps to decrease our dependence on oil.  Now if we can convince some of our larger industries to do likewise – it will be a “win – win” situation for everyone.  As the technology improves, the efficiency of biomass burning units is now over 90%.  This will also help in our efforts to combat climate change.

The Climate Lab at UPEI has been tasked by the PEI Gov’t to publish a paper on the Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change and its effects on PEI.  We have been active during the consultation phase and presented our “side of the story” when given the opportunity.  The first draft is now on their website and the final paper will be available later this month.  In our presentation, we stressed the importance of managing our woodlots and how increased plantings would help our Island forests sequester more and more carbon for years to come.

Early in September we were requested to appear before the Senate Standing Committee on Agriculture and Forestry which was holding hearings in Halifax.  We partnered with the NB Federation of Woodlot Owners and the NS Federation of Woodlot Owners and made a joint presentation on October 2nd in Halifax.  We outlined our concerns about the sustainability of the industry in the Maritimes and put forth some suggestions to highlight the true value and importance of forests – even for our very survival.  We felt that we received a fair hearing and hope that our suggestions will be acted upon is due course.

We had hoped to have a conference this fall — centered around forestry related topics – in partnership with the provincial Dep’t of Forestry.  However, with so many of their members away fighting forest fires in B.C., it was impossible to get it organized.  We are now planning something for late Feb or March in the New Year.

Our goal of doubling our membership annually can only be achieved if each and every one of you do some recruiting of family and friends who own woodlots.  It is not realistic to expect the Board of Directors alone to do all the recruiting. Our strength will be in our members and we are not growing as fast as we should.  Contact us at any time through email or phone.

My – how time flies!!  Since our last newsletter, I have participated in four meetings (conference calls) with CFWO; four meetings of the PEIFA; and four meetings of the PEIWOA.  That is on top of all the other meetings I have already reported.  And the summer was supposed to be a quiet time!!!

Hope you have a joyful and peaceful Christmas Season and all the best in the New Year.

Chairman:  John J. Rowe


White Spruce: The Scrappy Survivor

While often overlooked or even derided by some, there is one tree species that quietly fills a wide range of ecological, economic and social roles in Island forests.

In many ways, White spruce (P. glauca) defines much of our Island’s landscape. It protects coastal areas, particularly along the north shore, from harsh winter winds. It grows around streams and bogs providing critical shelter and food for many small mammals and birds. And probably most important, it is found in the hedgerows lining Island fields where it reduces soil erosion from wind and water, captures snow and rain fall recharging local water tables and raises field temperatures during the annual growing season.

White Spruce also has a unique ability to reclaim abandoned farm fields so it has been integral to the restoration of forests on PEI. Each year, the mature white spruce in Island hedgerows produce enormous volumes of seed and unlike almost every other Acadian Forest tree species, these seeds can sprout and grow among the tough, dense roots field grasses. Over time, these tiny seedlings out competed the grasses and reclaimed tens of thousands of hectares of abandoned farm fields on PEI. Over time, this process created more forest-like conditions allowing other Acadian Forest trees species to follow.

Given its flexibility, load bearing capacities and abundance, white spruce is also a vital component of our forest economy. Studwood and lumber sawn from white spruce is widely used across North America to build homes, businesses and other facilities and it is also an important species in the production of strong, high value paper products. This activity provides income for thousands of land owners and employment in communities across the Maritimes.

So give a shout out to this wonderful Acadian Forest species and consider the many, many values White Spruce provides to all of us each and every day.

White Spruce Silvics:

Range:                                 Atlantic Canada west to Alaska often growing above the Arctic Circle Height:                                 20+ m Diameter:                            Up to 1m but usually in the 50 – 75 cm range Shade Tolerance:              Moderate Moisture Preferences:   Moderate to high Salt Tolerance:                  High Pollution Tolerance:        Moderate


Legacy Trees

In recent years, the term Legacy Tree has gained importance during discussions on forest health, diversity and forest management.

Simply defined, a Legacy Tree is a large old tree that has survived decades or even centuries of land clearing or disturbances such as harvests, fire or wind storms. In the Acadian Forest region Legacy Trees are shade tolerant species such as sugar maple, white pine, hemlock, yellow birch, red oak and several other species. They tend to be long-lived and produce seedlings that are capable of growing in deep forest shade.

The Island’s pre-settlement forest was filled with large, long-lived tree species that could reach heights of 25 – 30m and diameters of 1 – 2m or more. However because they preferred sites with rich well-drained soils, settlers often valued the soils they grew on more that the trees themselves. Throughout the 1800s, land clearances for agriculture and intense harvest pressure for fuelwood and building materials led to serious declines in both the size and quality of Island forests.

The value of these legacy trees extends beyond their age and size. For instance, their seed often contains genetic links to the forests of earlier times and these genes are important resources for restoring healthy forests. These genes may also be useful when dealing with some of the implications of climate change.

Legacy Trees have the ability to produce large volumes of edible seeds for birds and mammals and they also support different species of lichens and mosses. Many will have large hollows or “cavities” in the trunk that can be used for denning and nesting sites. Taller trees will often offer excellent vantage points for predators, while their large branches provide vertical structure within the forest.

Today, Island forests tend to be less than 50 years old and only about 20m in height and >30cm in diameter. But many Island woodlots still contain at least a few widely-dispersed individual trees or groups of old trees that are still standing because either they were too large to handle or they were growing in inaccessible sites.



A Forest Management plan can identify any legacy trees growing on your land and help you to develop strategies to protect them and utilize the many roles they provide. The Forest Enhancement Program offers forest management advice and financial assistance to Island land owners who want to manage their lands for any number of goals and values.

Adding Nest Boxes to Your Woodlot

Being close to nature and having wildlife in your woodlot can be a very important part of the enjoyment of owning and managing a small part of the forest. There are no words to describe the feeling of seeing or being near a wild creature of the forest. Those of you who have this feeling know how important it is to maintain or even improve the possibility of having wildlife and making them feel welcomed. Managing for “Wildlife” can be a complex process of decision-making and compromises. However, there are some simple things that can make your woodlot or your back yard for that matter, a more desirable place to live.  One simple addition you can easily add to your woodlot are nest boxes. Many of the small, and not so small, birds and animals in the forest are cavity nesters. Primary excavators such as woodpeckers will create their own nest cavity. These may be used over the years by other cavity nesting species, such as chickadees and squirrels.

It may be a bit too late to get a box out this year and have it used but now it is a good time to start thinking about helping out of some of our feathers and fur friends. You should consider putting out a few in the Fall. Nest boxes can be a very helpful way to encourage some species to live in your woodlot or to your back yard.   The size and location of the nest box will help encourage, or discourage, particular species. Suitable sized nest boxes, placed in more open areas will be attractive to tree swallows and possibly chickadees. The same size boxes will be attractive to squirrels if they are close to, or in, a stand of larger trees.   Squirrels are not fond of open areas. There is one species of squirrels that are seldom seen but do live in PEI forests and that is the Flying Squirrel. These cute nocturnal animals will be very happy to use a nest box, if it isn’t already taken by a red squirrel.

You can build and erect suitable nest boxes that many species will take to with great ease. Nest boxes can be built to sizes that attract many different species of birds or mammals of all sizes. Of course the box has to be placed in suitable habitat as well. You are not going to get Barred owls nesting in a box in the city or in the open but you will if you locate a suitable size box deeper in a more mature forest. Yes, Barred owls, our second largest owl, are cavity nesters too.

There is a lot of free information on the web about nest boxes. Designs are usually quite simple. All species have their preferred size of box and opening. The opening size is quite critical to some species. Here is an excellent website to look at for more information:

Nest boxes will need only a little care. They must have a way to open so that the old nesting material can be removed after the nesting season. This will reduce the parasites that will affect next year’s brood. The adults are quite capable of finding new nesting material each year so there is no need to leave the old material in there. The exception might be the owls who use course woody stems for nesting material.

Placing nest boxes in your woodlot is an ideal project that can include children and teach them to enjoy and respect the forest.




*Note: The price locations provided below are only a summary and it is recommended that woodlot owners should ensure they are receiving fair prices for any forest products sold from woodlot transactions.

PRICES SUMMARY – New Brunswick






Chainsaw Safety course

We are planning to schedule another chainsaw safety course. Please contact us to get your name on a participant list.

John Rowe – Chair

Cell Phone: 902-940-1933


Annual General Meeting

Planning is underway by your PEIWOA Board for the Annual General Meeting expected to be late March, 2018. It is hoped that we can have a comprehensive conference with speakers from various sectors of the forest industry in the Maritimes.



John Rowe – Chair

Cell Phone: 902-940-1933


Facebook: PEI Woodlot Owners Association




Thank you on behalf of the board of the Prince Edward Island Woodlot Owners Association (PEIWOA) for your support. The board continues to represent your interests to the government and Industry to add resources for you to manage your woodlots.  Your continued support will enable the PEIWOA to grow and move forward. The simplest way to provide support is to renew your membership. The regular annual fee is $25.00 or you can opt for a 2 year membership for $40.00.


Your prompt response will allow the board to plan events to meet your needs in future years. Please also encourage other woodlot owners to join so we can help even more people to add value to their woodlands.


Check out our Facebook page (PEI Woodlot Owners Association) and our website ( for current and upcoming events.




James MacDonald

Membership Secretary PEIWOA.












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