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Demo2000 is the place to be

Technological advances in logging and forest management will be front and centre at Demo 2000 International in Kelowna.

By Tony Kryzanowski

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If you are serious about learning where technology in the forest industry in North America is headed over the next four years, it is highly recommended that you attend Demo 2000 International and its companion conference in Kelowna, BC from September 11 to 16-it's clearly the place to be.

The show will feature over 100 exhibitors demonstrating 300 new pieces of equipment and systems on over 200 hectares of forested land. All demonstrations, however, will take place in a compact area along about six kilometres of roadway for safe and easy access.

Among the forest management areas represented will be the latest conventional and cut-to-length harvesting systems, commercial thinning, cable yarding, hell-logging, chipping, road construction, transportation, GIS/GPS, site preparation, planting and stand tending. This lineup illustrates why Demo 2000 is North America's largest active exhibition of wood harvesting and forest management systems.

"By attending the show, many people hope to get a better appreciation of what the latest technology is capable of doing in a real live setting," says Wayne Novak who was hired on contract by CWF to manage the show. "Demo provides them with that opportunity. They can see the equipment operating in a real forest and it usually reinforces their decisions on whether to go in one direction or another with their own companies ." The show not only appeals to logging contractors,I but also to woodlands personnel who may be deciding what type of harvesting systems will be used on their forested lands in the future.

More than 100 exhibitors will give live demonstrations featuring 300 new pieces of equipment, making DEMO 2000 North America's largest active exhibition of forest harvesting and management systems.

Held only once every four years, 40 per cent of the show's participants have tended to be new exhibitors. So it is highly likely that attendees will witness new technology and approaches not seen before.

The show features a PreDemo 2000 conference at the Grand Okanagan Hotel in Kelowna from September 11 to 13. Hosted jointly by the Canadian Woodlands Forum and the Council on Forest Engineering in the US, the theme of the conference is Technologies for New Millennium Forestry.

The demonstration portion of the show will take place on a site 40 kilometres west of Kelowna, donated by Riverside Forest Products. All the wood harvested during the show will be processed by Riverside in order to help the company recuperate some of its costs in donating the demo site. Later, the site will be rehabilitated to BC government specifications.

Bus transportation will be provided to the demo site from Kelowna and there is vehicle parking available near the site on a pre-registration basis. Transportation to demonstrations will also be provided from the parking lot.

In terms of Demo 2000 itself, attendees are in for a treat as Novak expects the show to be the best in the last 16 years. "The site really represents just about every timber size that we find in North America from coast to coast ." He adds that attendees can expect to find average tree volumes, heights and stand conditions typical to Eastern Canada, as well as some of the larger tree sizes found on the BC coast.

"We also have a tremendous variety of topography," he says. "We'll have flat ground, steeper ground, and slopes up to 60 per cent where you can get into the more sensitive types of harvesting systems like cable yarding, and perhaps even heli-logging as well ."

Although up to 30 per cent of attendees come from the US, Demo 2000 draws exhibitors from about 25 countries around the world. An aggressive marketing approach aims to improve attendance from Western Canada this year.

While the show will lean heavily upon established trends within the industry, such as commercial thinning and advances in cut-to-length equipment, it is also an opportunity for logging contractors to make up their own minds on such issues as cable yarding outside of BC and the Pacific Northwest.

By holding the show every four years, attendees are practically guaranteed to witness new products. It also helps organizers prepare properly for what is an expensive show and one that has many logistical issues.

This is the second time that Demo has been held in Western Canada since its inception in the 1960s and show organizers expect to attract 8,000 to 10,000 people. Although attendance from Western Canada didn't meet expectations in 1992, attendance from Eastern Canada and internationally from the US and elsewhere remained steady.

"The site really represents just about every timber size that we find in North America from coast to coast ."

This show has traditionally had a decidedly international flavour. Up to 30 per cent of attendees come from the United States and a further 10 percent from as many as 25 other countries. The exhibitors themselves represent the top 100 industry suppliers from around the world.

This time around, organizers have taken a much more aggressive marketing approach to improve attendance from Western Canada and the mood of the industry itself is working much more in the show's favour.

"The mood of the industry and among supplier companies appears to be very upbeat and optimistic," says Novak. "I think everybody is looking forward to this event. I haven't personally sensed this much optimism since the late 1980s. I think the 1990s were a very difficult decade in many respects-from an economic perspective, environmental perspective and so on. The industry has made great strides in the 1990s and people appear to be looking to the future with optimism ."

He adds that those from Western Canada who attended in 1992 came away with very positive experience and word of mouth is expected to have a major impact on attendance this time around. Many of the exhibitors are themselves promoting the show very aggressively with their clients. A further positive contributing factor is that since 1992, the event's owner and prime sponsor-the Canadian Woodlands Forum-has established six regional coordinators on a permanent basis across the country. They organize national and regional events, conferences and workshops on an annual basis.

"They are promoting the event at every opportunity," says Novak. "That's something we've never had in the past ."

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