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PFLA Newsletter (Spring 2013)


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The spring 2013 edition of Private Forest Matters—a quarterly newsletter distributed to members of the Private Forest Landowners Association. Includes: a visit to Arbutus Grove Nursery, tips for management planning and getting the best value for your forest products.

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PFLA Newsletter (Spring 2013)

  1. 1. Private Forest MattersThe Winter Lift at Arbutus Grove NurserySpring 2013In This IssueThe Winter Lift at Arbutus Grove Nursery 16 Steps to a Successful ManagementPlan for Your Woodland 2The Secret to Getting the Best Valuefor Your Forest Products 3Important PFLA Datesto Remember 3PFLA Hometown Tour:That’s A Wrap 45 Messages Every Candidate ShouldKnow About Private Forestry 4Everything starts somewhere — ideas, au-tomobiles, toaster ovens, plaid pants, eventrees. All of the trees planted here on thecoast of British Columbia owe their start tothe skill, care, expertise and dedication ofnursery workers. Arbutus Grove Nursery,Pacific Regeneration Technologies (PRT)and Sylvan Vale Nursery, all provide greatproducts and service, but when PFLA nee-ded seedlings in a hurry we swung by ourclosest source, Arbutus Grove Nursery.Impressed by the hustle and bustle ofthe winter lift, we couldn’t resist invitingourselves back for a closer look (armedwith digital cameras and hand-heldvideo devices).Thanks to Nathaniel Stoffeslma for taking thetime to tour us around their North Saanichnursery—family owned and operated since1981 when Nathaniel’s father planted theirfirst crop of trees in a lone half-greenhouse.More than three decades later, the nurseryboasts seven guttered-greenhouses, of va-rious sizes, and a reputation for growingCoastal Douglas-fir well.Over the years, Arbutus Grove Nursery hasadapted and persevered to survive uncertaineconomic times in the coastal forest industry.Along with shifts in capacity, they’ve noticeda significant change in expectation,“30 yearsago foresters expected 50% of trees to succ-eed in the field.”Today, customers at ArbutusGrove Nursery expect much more from theirtrees. Nathaniel estimates their trees have agrowing success rate of close to 95 percent.A common misconception about ArbutusGrove Nursery is the perception that theygrow trees for ornamental use. Nathanielexplains,“People don’t understand howthorough the reforestation industry is —probably 35 million trees are planted, everyyear, here on the coast. Across B.C., it’s pro-bably closer to 200 million trees, every year.That’s 100,000 times more trees planted eachyear than the ornamental tree industry.”As a contract grower, customers provide theseeds (generally) and Arbutus Grove Nurserygrows the seedlings to the customers’spe-cifications. Coastal-Douglas fir is the mostpopular species they grow, but they alsogrow other coastal species like Western red-cedar. The winter lift is their busiest time ofyear. Seedlings are lifted, in December andJanuary, when they’re at the ideal conditionfor planting and then preserved in cold stor-age until the spring planting season begins.The lifting shed is the epicenter of thisbustling operation. Millions of seedlings,transferred from trays, travel along conveyorbelts to be checked for quality, wrapped inpacks of five or ten, packed into boxes andstacked onto pallets before being transpor-ted to cold storage. To accomplish this, theyemploy about 70 people, on two shifts, from7 a.m. until midnight.This year, Arbutus Grove Nursery will produceabout 50,000 boxes of seedlings (approxima-tely 12 million trees in total), and roughly 60to 70 percent of those seedlings will beplanted on private forest land.Contact InformationP.O. Box 48092Victoria, BC V8Z 7H5Tel: 250 381 7565Fax: 250 381 7409www.pfla.bc.caRod Bealing - Executive Directorrod.bealing@pfla.bc.caIna Shah - Office
  2. 2. 6 Steps to a Successful Management Plan for Your WoodlandPlanning is a big part of getting the most outof your woodland. Once you’ve conductedyour forest inventory and identified your per-sonal goals and objectives, the next step onthe path to a successful management planis to consider the range of managementoptions available and develop a plan toconnect your options with your objectives.To help you out, we’ve summarized some ofthe thorough and thoughtful advice from“Managing Your Woodland: A Non-forester’sGuide to Small-Scale Forestry in BritishColumbia”for your easy reference.1. Identify your management strategy.Your management options are the range ofpotential and alternative management appr-oaches, actions, and techniques available toachieve your goals. Your management strate-gy represents the overall plan for achievingthe goals and the forest inventory helpsground your expectations in reality.A number of factors determine whatis possible:• Practical considerations(operational feasibility)• Financial considerations (cost and returnon investment)• Woodlot conditions such as age ofyour forest• Biological/ecological characteristics ofthe siteThis is also a good time to consult a prof-essional expert for assistance and advice inchoosing your management options. A mis-take at this stage could prove costly later on.2. Divide your woodland intomanagement areas. It’s useful to divideyour woodland into areas that are similarin terms of how you’ll manage them. Eachmanagement area is comprised of standsthat are similar enough in species, age, sto-cking and site characteristics that they canbe treated as one unit. Management areascan also consist of areas of your woodlandthat you wish, or need, to manage for othervalues, such as wildlife habitat, riparianprotection or visual aesthetics.3. Identify your short-term objectives.Once you’ve defined the management areas,you can identify your objectives for each area.Your objectives should be consistent withyour goals and focus on what you need orintend to do in the management area overthe short-term (five years). These objectivesset the stage for scheduling specific mana-gement activities you intend to follow (e.g.road building, harvesting, planting, standtending treatments).• Will you manage an area as even-aged oruneven-aged?• Do you plan to manage for conservationor agroforestry?• What products will you produce(sawlogs, firewood, botanicals, grazing)?4. Make a schedule for your short-termmanagement activities. A surefire way toachieve the long-term vision you have foryour woodland is to follow an activity plan— a list of short-term management activitiesyou develop for each management area onyour woodland.The activity plan provides the detailed stepsand activities you plan to undertake on ayear-to-year basis. It covers the who, what,when, where and how:• Who will do it: owner, manager,contractor, family members,volunteer group• What will be done: road construction,harvesting, stand tending,reforestation, etc.• Where it will be done: the managementarea location• When it will be done: year, season• How it will be done: methods,equipment, treatment, special guidelinesYou might also want to include:• An estimate of the cost for each activity,and where the money will come from.• Flexibility to allow for unplannedcircumstances (changes in markets,weather, new opportunities).• Contingencies in case you’re unable tofollow through with an activity.5. Define your management standardsand guidelines. It’s a good idea to setstandards and guidelines to ensure yourmanagement plan meets the goals andobjectives you have for your woodland.Anyone who works on your land shouldknow what these standards and guidelinesare. Examples of basic standards include:• Target seedling densities forreforestation work• Wet-weather and fire seasonworking criteria• Maximum skid trail widthsThere’s lots of good information availablefrom a variety of sources (e.g. provincial,federal and U.S. state governments; localwoodlot associations; forestry professionals;Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Reso-urce Operations offices). If you’re a managedforest owner,“The Handbook of Best Manag-ement Practices for Private Forest Land inBritish Columbia” recommends standards tohelp ensure you meet the forest practicesrequirements set out in the ManagedForest Land Act.6. Measure your activities as you proceedwith your plan. Remember:“If you don’tmeasure it, you can’t manage it.”Planningis a continual process. It doesn’t stop onceyou’ve produced a hardcopy, hold-it-in-your-hands plan. As you go along, keeptrack of how well your plan is working —are your management activities achievingthe intended results? The character of yourwoodland, and your needs, will change soadjust your plan to reflect these shifts.Pg 2
  3. 3. The Secret to Getting the Best Value for Your Forest ProductsThe most important thing to remember:you’ve spent a long time growing your trees,it makes good sense to spend some time ma-rketing them to make sure you get the bestreturn on your investment.A number of factors can influence the pro-ducts you choose to produce; for example:• The short- and long-term objectives youhave for your property• The species mix, age and quality ofyour forest• The markets you can sell toLike any decision-making process, a goodway to begin is to make a list. Start by ide-ntifying the personal goals and objectivesyou have for your woodland. In a separatelist, you can itemize the potential productsavailable from your woodland (based on thespecies mix, age, size and condition of thetrees in the stand). The next step is to findthe most effective way to use yourinventory to achieve your goals.If you’re wondering how, we’ve compiled alist of 6 important principles to help alongthe way. Thanks again to“Managing YourWoodlands: A Non-forester’s Guide toSmall-scale Forestry in British Columbia”for the inspiration and the information.Educate yourself. The more you know aboutyour forest inventory, the harvesting processin general and available markets the bettersituated you are to make informed decisionsthat will help you get the best value for yourforest products. Start by talking to yourneighbours, other forest owners, woodlotlicensees — people who have firsthandexperience selling small parcels of logs. Askthem for references, suggestions, tips, mis-takes they wish they hadn’t made. Collectas much information as you can.Do your research first. You’ll get the bestvalue for your timber if you know where it’sgoing before you harvest it. Different mark-ets have different specifications: by cutting tomatch your buyer’s preferences you ensurethe best value for your forest products. Alt-ernatives almost always exist. Find out howmuch you can get for different products soyou can compare their values, costs ofproduction, and the impacts of theirproduction on your woodland.Contact a local broker. If you’re a smallowner, who doesn’t have a lot of recentexperience selling forest products, dealingwith a broker is often your best bet. Invitepotential buyers out to your woods. Walkthem through your stand and show themwhat you’re thinking of doing. Take notes.You’ll learn a lot from this discussion aboutwhat products your stand can produce, aswell as prices and marketing options forthose products.Pay attention to market conditions. To someextent the market is cyclical, but it’s dynamic.What was hot last month might be an oversupply this month. Market conditions willaffect the price you get for your products.Since production costs remain fairly constant,the ability to take advantage of high points inthe market cycle will make a difference in theprofit you receive.Be prepared to take advantage of marketconditions. If you follow the ups and downsof the markets you’re selling to, and you’reready to act when markets are paying topprices, you’ll get the best value for your pr-oducts. To do this, have your roads in placeand your production processes clearly out-lined. Decide, as early as possible, what yourrole is and identify potential sub-contractorsfor felling, skidding or hauling.Look for opportunities to increase the valueof your products. Market conditions willlargely determine selling prices, so look foropportunities to increase the value of yourproducts (e.g. forest certification, log exports,specialty products). A process like forest ce-rtification or a change in production maycreate a higher value product that appealsto different markets. Adding value can beas simple as bucking or as complex ashandcrafting furniture.Want more information? We’ve compiled alist of contact information for local buyersand brokers. If you’re a forest owner who’dlike more information, or if you’re a localbuyer who’d like to be added to our list,please email: info@pfla.bc.caor call: 250 381 7565.Important PFLA Datesto RememberPFLA Annual General MeetingJune 19th & 20th, 2013Save the Date! We’re pumped to announcethe 18th Annual PFLA Field Tour, ForestryForum and AGM will be held June 19thand 20th, 2013 at the Coast Bastion Hotel inNanaimo, B.C. We’re gearing up for anotherinformative and engaging event chock full ofinteresting opportunities to connect. Look formore schedule and registration informationin your mailbox soon!Rudi Kind Memorial ScholarshipJune 1st, 2013 deadlineThe Rudi Kind Memorial Scholarshipcelebrates founding PFLA member RudiKind’s contributions to private forestry.Applicants must be entering a forestry-related, natural resource program andpreference is given to family membersof managed forest owners.For more information, please or visit the www.pfla.bc.cato download an application.Private Forest Stewardship AwardJune 1st, 2013 deadlineCalling all nominations! Each year PFLArecognizes a managed forest owner foroutstanding commitment to private foreststewardship in B.C.Please submit nominations for the 2013Private Forest Stewardship Award, via email,to Include the name of yournominee, and a brief description illustratingwhy they make an excellent candidate forthe Private Forest Stewardship Award.Pg 3
  4. 4. PFLA Hometown Tour:That’s a Wrap!The PFLA hometown tour is all wrapped upfor 2013. We traveled up and down the island,and across the province, to meet face-to-facewith forest owners and hear firsthand what’simportant to you. We’re gushingly grateful toeveryone who took time out of your busyschedules to join us. We can’t emphasizeenough what an integral contribution yourfeedback makes to the overall wellbeingand direction of the organization.As always, we found managed forest ownerscommitted, engaged and keen to hear aboutpolicy development issues. Reported impro-vements in lumber markets have spurred anincreased appetite for timber harvesting andowners are interested to learn more abouttimber harvesting, reforestation and standtending. We look forward to incorporatingsome of this information into the upcomingfield tour and forestry forum at the AGM inJune. We’re also working with the PrivateManaged Forest Land Council to put tog-ether a technical workshop. PFLA continuesto meet with the Wildfire ManagementBranch and advocate on behalf of forestowners about changes to the firefightingcost sharing agreements.Thanks again for your continued interest andsupport for PFLA activities and programs.5 Messages Every Candidate Should KnowAbout Private ForestryWith any election comes a swarm ofpre-election activities — candidates areselected, platforms are decided, campaignsare forged, community meetings are plan-ned, doors are knocked on, information isdistributed and babies are kissed.Because B.C.’s private managed forest landsare located around some of Canada’s fastestgrowing communities, we can be certainprivate forestry will be talked about in theupcoming provincial election.You can imagine a host of new candidates— bombarded by 30-second sound bites,conflicting opinions, varying perspectivesand deliberate misinformation — might feeloverwhelmed. Our goal is to make it as easyand painless as possible for candidates tolearn the facts about private forestry.If a candidate knocks on your door, or you’reinclined to knock on their door, or for someother reason you find yourself with 60 seco-nds to talk to your local candidate, here arefive key messages to share about privateforestry in B.C.1. Private managed forest owners are theonly landowners in B.C. committed andlegally bound to grow and harvest trees.We’ve planted more than 100 million treeson private forest land in the past 10 years(that’s a lot of trees!).2. Private managed forest land is governedby over 30 acts and regulations that protectkey public environmental values includingwater quality, fish habitat, critical wildlifehabitat, soil conservation and reforestation.3. Forest owners are responsible neighboursto some of B.C.’s fastest growing communit-ies. The timber crops we’re harvesting todaywere planted decades ago, long beforeexpanding communities built subdivisionsnext door to our forests.4.We have a solid track record of resp-onsible practices and community comm-unications. Nobody likes surprises (exceptmaybe lottery winnings) so we make everyreasonable effort to talk with our neighboursand let people know what’s happening withour operations.5.We value healthy dialogue. Invite yourcandidate out into the woods to see firsthand how we manage our forests. Offer tohelp with any other questions they mighthave. Let them know: we’re part of thesolution and we’re here to help.Keep it simple, keep it positive, keepit friendly!Pg 4