Nova Scotia logger John DoreyHands on harvesting approach

Nova Scotia logger John Dorey has been recognized by the Canadian Woodlands Forum for his hands-on approach to meeting the needs of woodlands clients, and excelling at partial harvesting.

By George Fullerton

The Canadian Woodlands Forum recognizes and celebrates the forest industry by selecting the Outstanding Logging Contractor of the Year, and at last year’s spring meeting, held in Moncton, New Brunswick, John Dorey was presented with the award, along with a coveted ceremonial log peavey.

Dorey is manager of Kim Construction Ltd., operating from headquarters in Pugwash, Nova Scotia. The business is the prime contractor for North Nova Forest Owners Co-Operative Ltd, which represents some 280 woodlot owners, controlling more than 61,000 acres of private woodland in the northern corner of Nova Scotia.

“There is definite value and benefit to recognizing logging contractors who do an exceptional job,” said Peter Robichaud, executive director of the Canadian Woodlands Forum. “They are the backbone of the industry—and John Dorey is certainly a prime example of a young businessman who is willing to embrace innovation.”

Robichaud went on to recognize that Dorey is a hands-on manager, willing to try different things, and excels at partial harvesting—and who sees a positive future in the logging business.

Dorey’s harvesting team includes two Ponsse Ergo machines, a Ponsse Buffalo forwarder and a John Deere 1110D forwarder. The harvesting team is supported by two dedicated service trucks, a 2015 Hyundai excavator and a Cat D5 dozer for road building and maintenance.

Dorey enjoyed a modest introduction to forestry, initially helping out family bringing in firewood from their woodlot. At about the age of 20, he stepped out and began testing harvest contracting with a chainsaw, a model 48 Massey Harris tractor and a farm wagon.

With a chuckle, Dorey reminisced: “Yes, I put a lot of energy rolling logs up on that wagon and getting it out to roadside.”

Dorey upgraded to a more modern farm tractor and forestry winch, and then advanced to an articulated Ford Versatile tractor which hosted a variety of small scale harvesting and processing heads. The Versatile harvester was joined by a boggie forestry trailer equipped with a log loader.

Dorey expanded his logging enterprise, taking on stumpage contracts with private woodlot owners around Pugwash and along the Northumberland Strait coast. His clients included a few woodlot owners who were members of the North Nova Co-op and the quality of his harvest work also drew the attention of North Nova forestry staff and other co-op members.

Around 2008, Dorey began working pretty much exclusively for North Nova, and a good portion of that work was partial cut harvests and silviculture. JoAnne Craib, manager of North Nova, estimated that in the past year, more than 80 per cent of Dorey’s work was in partial cut.

“To me, partial cut just seems like the best way to manage a forest,” comments Dorey. “We take out the low quality timber and leave the best quality to add volume. There is always natural regeneration.

Nova Scotia logger John DoreyJohn Dorey (right, in photo) with Ponsse Ergo harvester operator Brad Yantzi. Dorey was recognized by the Canadian Woodlands Forum as Outstanding Logging Contractor of the Year. He’s described as a prime example of a young businessman who is willing to embrace innovation, willing to try different things—and who sees a positive future in the logging business.

“The woodlot owners absolutely see the benefit of partial cut,” he added. “Of course, sometimes the stand type will not benefit from a partial cut or thinning, so we have to do some clearcut. But where it will be effective, woodlot owners generally have a long range view and they see that partial cut harvest will give them the best end result.”

In 2009, Dorey invested in a 2004 Ponsse Ergo six-wheel harvester with a H73 head, which he bought through auction. The harvester went to work, initially with the forwarder capacity handled by a farm tractor pulling a bogie forestry trailer. Late in 2009, Dorey made a deal on an 1110D John Deere forwarder.

As the business relationship with North Nova grew and demand for high quality partial cut increased, Dorey purchased a double bogie Ergo from ALPA Equipment, and later on teamed it with a new Ponsse Buffalo forwarder.

“The Buffalo is a bigger machine than the John Deere, and it has fold-in stakes and a double extend boom which makes it a good fit for working in thinnings,” he explained.

Dorey related that his business relationship with North Nova is very positive and allows him to give more of his attention to managing his operators and getting the best possible harvest work done. He explained that as an independent logging contractor working on private woodlots, a lot of time and energy is invested in finding woodlot owners, looking over their woodlots and drafting a harvest plan and stumpage deal. Even after a deal is inked, the contractor may face additional effort to trace boundaries, laying out cut blocks and roads. On the other hand, working with North Nova, a technician has already discussed the management plan and harvest plan with the woodlot owner, and mapped the harvest areas and roads, removing those details from the contractor’s plate.

North Nova Forest Owners Co-op Ltd. was established in 1976 by group of woodlot owners who thought they could achieve a higher degree of forest management and more effective marketing if they worked co-operatively.

Woodlot owners apply and pay for membership, and in turn get a management plan, which represents the woodlot owner’s objectives. The plan outlines recommended actions and arrangements are made to proceed with the work. North Nova makes application on behalf of the woodlot owner for whatever funding support might be available through mill or government programs for forest management.

North Nova puts marketing wood products as one of their top member priorities. They make sure they get the best deal possible when marketing wood, and that includes the optimum silviculture support, which all wood product buyers in Nova Scotia are required to subscribe to in some manner.

While several mills directly support planting and pre-commercial thinning silviculture, one of the highest subscribed forestry support programs for North Nova members in recent years has been the category 7 silviculture program managed by the Association for Sustainable Forestry.

Category 7 silviculture is structured to promote tree quality and multiple age classes. The treatments include crop tree release, crop tree pruning and selection management. Crop tree release and crop tree pruning improve the quality and value of individual trees, while selection management either creates or maintains uneven-aged stand conditions, enhances growth, and encourages natural regeneration of shade-tolerant species.

Category 7 has been available over the past five years, and currently about 80 per cent of North Nova’s harvests fit category 7 criteria. In years prior to the availability of category 7, North Nova members engaged in a higher degree of clearcut harvesting.

North Nova manager JoAnne Craib explained that John Dorey has embraced category 7 work, saying this type of harvest work fits his commitment to forestry and customer service. “John wants to be part of good forestry and providing quality service to woodlot owner clients.”

Nova Scotia logger John DoreyA Ponsse Buffalo forwarder brings out a of load balsam fir (above). Contractor John Dorey switches Olofsfors tracks on the forwarder, to match ground conditions. Once snow accumulates, tracks are removed to avoid damage from snow build-up.

Greg Watson, forest technician with North Nova, commented: “John is very conscientious, and does very good work. He is an excellent communicator. He listens to and works well with our staff and the woodlot owners. He is definitely a hands-on guy. John is on the operation every day, and he is in an operator’s seat anytime one needs filling.”

As an example of going the extra mile to do good job, Dorey actually switches between Olofsfors Baltic and Olofsfors Magnum tracks on his Ponsse forwarder to better match ground conditions and terrain, which provides better root protection to trees along the harvest trails.

Dorey explained that his new Hyundai excavator and Cat dozer are a good fit for his contracting operation. Owning the equipment means he can offer fast and dedicated service for woodlot owner clients. Having the equipment available means he can plan road building well ahead of beginning the harvesting, and it also allows him to make repairs while the trucking is underway, so things go smoothly for truckers and the environment.

On the logging side, rookie operators are typically trained on a forwarder and if they show initiative, Dorey will offer a try-out operating a harvester. Dorey exercises a good deal of caution when starting out new operators, starting them off in less challenging terrain before sending them into very steep ground with big timber.

“Putting a new operator in an unfamiliar machine in challenging conditions is not fair to the new operator and it could very easily lead to damage to a machine,” he says. “Once the operator gets familiar with the equipment and our operating system, we can move them on to more challenging sites.”

Dorey related that the North Nova woodlot owners are very dedicated forest managers. “They take a long range view of forest management, and they are enthused about partial cut harvesting. They also see the economic and environmental benefit of natural regeneration.”

Woodlot owners who have had Dorey operating on their woodland have much to be pleased about, by all reports. The partial cuts are impressive, with scar-free, well spaced, high quality trees. The trails and yards are litter free, and there is a minimum of soil disturbance.

On a recent operation at Collingwood on rather hilly ground, the harvest operations maintained a mix strong on tolerant hardwood and softwood species, along with some intolerant species, including aspen, mixed in to maintain spacing.

Dorey’s nomination for logging contractor of the year was made by ALPA Equipment, an associate member of CWF.

“John is very worthy of the honour of Outstanding Logging Contractor,” commented Jim Buntain, manager of ALPA’s Truro facility. “He operates his business very professionally, with a lot of attention to detail. John understands the business, from detailed monthly statements all the way through to working with technicians to figure out mechanical issues on his equipment.”

John credits his wife, Kim, for business management skills, bookkeeping as well as general support for the business. John related that Kim recently commented to him that she no longer panics when she enters six digit figures into the company books.



Logging and Sawmilling Journal
May/June 2016

On the Cover:
On the B.C. Coast, it’s about getting the wood to the water, but before it hits the water, it needs to be harvested in the woods. And this September will see the full range of harvesting equipment working at the DEMO 2016 show being held in Maple Ridge, B.C. Please see the preview story on DEMO, beginning on page 28 of this issue. (Photo of B.C. dryland sort by Paul MacDonald).

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Full details on the upcoming largest logging equipment show in Canada this year: DEMO 2016, being held in Maple Ridge, B.C. from Sept. 22-24, with all of the major logging equipment manufacturers represented.

Hands-on harvesting approach
Nova Scotia logger John Dorey has been recognized by the Canadian Woodlands Forum for his hands-on approach to meeting the needs of woodlands clients, and excelling at partial harvesting.

Getting more control over log hauling
Weyerhaeuser’s Grande Prairie, Alberta timberlands operation is phasing in more tire pressure-controlled equipped log haul trucks, allowing them to increase their access on steep logging roads, even in bad weather.

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