Event open to all interested in our forests
On Saturday, March 27, there will be a conference held in Stewiacke on a broad range of interesting topics pertaining to forests and forest management issues. The annual event, which is open to the public, is organized by regional development agencies, Nova Forest Alliance and the Department of Natural Resources. It is one of three conferences being held across the province which rotate locations among counties each year.
The central region conference this year will be held at the new Winding River Elementary School in Stewiacke from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. The Honourable John MacDonnell, Minister of the Department of Natural Resources, will open the conference. Former Woodlot Owner of the Year Award winner Russell McNally of Truro will talk about the many benefits, opportunities and responsibilities of owning and managing woodland.
Over the last few months, there has been considerable discussion and debate related to future protection of wetlands in Nova Scotia and possible restrictions that might limit future wetland use. John Brazner of Nova Scotia Environment Department, as one of the chief architects, will discuss the direction of wetland protection in the province. He will speak about the new policies that are being developed for the province.
Each year, woodland owners express how valuable it is to hear about financial planning and tax tips that may pertain to them. Kelly Kolke of Grant Thornton will provide useful and practical information on these topics. Another popular topic relates to common wildlife issues such as human interaction with black bears and coyotes. Department of Natural Resources regional biologist Doug Archibald will provide an update on these and other wildlife.
From the academic world, participants will learn from Dr. Patricia Stoffyn-Egli of Dalhousie University about research conducted on wildlife use of riparian areas along watercourses.
Dr. Ralph Martin of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College will provide food for thought on the effect of climate change on forestry and agricultural land use.
CBC Radio call-in show guest and wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft will talk about woodlot ecology and managing for wildlife from a landowner’s perspective. Peter DeMarsh, chairman of the Canadian Federation of Woodland Owners, will present the latest developments related to the many ecological goods and services woodland owners provide to society and whether these values should be recognized in some manner financially via our taxation system or another means.
Andrew West, a forest products buyer for HC Haynes, will review market trends and occurrences over the past year. He will then highlight what he sees as emerging opportunities for both timber and non-timber forest products.
One of the more controversial topics to arise in forest circles in recent years is biomass harvesting. The conference agenda includes a panel presentation and discussion on biomass harvesting and utilization. Jim VerBoom of VerBoom Grinders and Jamie Simpson of the Ecology Action Centre will provide their perspectives on the topic and invite questions.
To register or learn more about the central conference or the eastern conference, which will be April 10 in Guysborough, call 888-375-2198 or register online at www.woodlotinfoshop.ca. All those that pre-register will be eligible to win a GPS unit.
Don Cameron works for the Department of Natural Resources.
He lives in Truro.