Forest Industry Collaboration Cultivates Sustainability in the Field
Knowledge sharing with industry leaders about wetlands creates a better working landscape for everyone.
During the 2022 field season, industry and conservation staff from across Alberta experienced the Canadian boreal up-close, sharing and exchanging knowledge on wetland stewardship and sustainable forest management as part of the Forest Management and Wetland Stewardship Initiative (FMWSI).
The FMWSI is a partnership between Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) and industry partners Alberta-Pacific Forest Industries Inc., Canfor, Forest Products Association of Canada, Tolko Industries Ltd., West Fraser and Weyerhaeuser Company. This innovative partnership works to advance shared wetland and waterfowl stewardship goals by working together and leveraging resources to advance sustainable forest management and wetland stewardship in the boreal forest.
Under the second FMWSI term (2019-2023), the partnership hosted 7 field tours across Alberta’s boreal forest with DUC and forest industry staff visiting field sites to share and exchange knowledge on boreal wetlands in the context of forest management, relationship building and growing an understanding of each organization’s practices.
Forest industry participants had an opportunity to learn about boreal wetland identification and classification according to the Alberta Wetland Classification System through the lens of forest management in the classroom and then visit several real-world examples to apply this knowledge in their area of operations. DUC staff had opportunities to learn from experienced foresters including planners, operators, road crews and silviculturists to gain a better understanding of forest operations, see firsthand examples of best practices for mitigating impacts to wetlands on the land base, and to discuss some of their challenges and experiences working around boreal wetlands.
Participants from the tours found benefits and connections to their own work, Kris Courser, Area Supervisor at Alberta Plywood, a division of West Fraser explains: “By understanding wetlands and how they interact with our operations we can minimize our impact on the wetlands and what we’re doing on the landscape. It improves our operations.”
Knowledge sharing is a two-way street. Staff from DUC underscored how learning about forest operations benefits conservation efforts: “Having DUC staff out on the landscape and being able to engage with our forest partners helps us understand what their operations look like on the ground. Understanding what each machine does and what harvest layouts look like can help us better understand their challenges and identify opportunities to further our collaborations” says Leanne Mingo, Conservation Program Specialist with DUC’s National Boreal Program.
The field season was a great success, with the knowledge and experiences shared, in combination with the new relationships that were made creating an excellent base to continue the success of the FMWSI and promoting wetland stewardship and sustainable forest management.
Learn more about the FMWSI here.