Announcing the Launch of the WWSC

Private woodlots comprise 49.2% of the total productive forest area of Western Nova Scotia (NSDNR figures, February 2016). With private woodlots occupying half the productive land base, it follows that increasing the rate of woodlot owner participation in forest management will increase wood supply, create jobs and generate revenue for woodlot owners and government. Further, high quality sustainable woodlot management, spanning decades, will raise the environmental profile of the forest industry in Nova Scotia. In this document we suggest ways to immediately increase participation rates by creating a business that markets directly to woodlot owners through trusted local service providers. A woodlot owners’ co-operative is proposed to build trust and bolster the private woodlot economy of western Nova Scotia.

This business plan was created in response to NSDNR’s stated intent to move towards a “service area” model (or a 'one stop shop') for the delivery of woodlot extension services in different regions of Nova Scotia. The first of these service areas was the Cape Breton Privateland Partnership (CBPP). The CBPP was created as a pilot project in 2013. It was the mandate of the Western Service Area (WSA) Working Group to improve upon the CBPP experience and create a second service area for the seven western-most counties of Nova Scotia: Yarmouth, Shelburne, Digby, Annapolis, Queens, Kings, and Lunenburg.

The WSA Working Group formed in March of 2015 and consists of forest researchers, managers, woodlot owner organization representatives, and forester consultants. The Working Group was funded by DNR to develop the business model based on their collective expertise and the outcomes from a series of community meetings open to woodlot owners in the seven western counties in the fall of 2015.

The selected business model proposed here is the “Western Woodlot Services Cooperative” (West Nova). Services will be provided from local satellite offices or ‘service hubs’ in five different counties in the first five years, expanding to additional counties when feasible.

A co-operative business model was selected because of the success of the North Nova Forest Owners Cooperative, an efficient long-term business with over 40 years of co-operative woodlot management in its pool of members in Cumberland and Colchester counties. We are following North Nova’s example of longevity and efficiency to build upon the current CBPP pilot project by providing harvest supervision and forest products marketing in addition to forest management plans. Additional services will include operations supervision and monitoring of silviculture, outreach to harvest contractors for crew & fleet development and extension services to woodlot owners.

Mary Jane Rodger