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UBC's Faculty of Forestry launches new Master of Urban Forestry Leadership Program

The Faculty of Forestry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) recently announced the launch of its Master of Urban Forestry Leadership (MUFL) program. With the recent approval from the Province of British Columbia, applications will commence in October 2020, with classes beginning in July 2021.

The first of its kind, both in Canada and worldwide, the MUFL program addresses an ever-increasing global demand. 

“As the population of urban centres continues to grow, cities worldwide are increasingly faced with the challenge of creating and maintaining urban forests and green spaces that mitigate social, health and well-being and climate change issues,” remarked Dr. John Innes, Dean of the Faculty of Forestry at UBC.

The program is a comprehensive 13-month course-based Master’s program that focuses on strategic management, decision-making and creativity. Students will graduate with a multi-disciplinary perspective with courses being offered by UBC’s Faculty of Forestry, the Sauder School of Business, and the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs. Graduates from this program will therefore have a combination of skills rarely offered by a single degree program.

“Graduates from this program will be well-positioned to navigate complex ‘green’ decision making in urban areas, in Canada and elsewhere. They will be able to lead teams of experts from a wide range of backgrounds in designing and delivering urban forestry programs,” notes Dr. Cecil Konijnendijk, Professor and Program Director.

Designed primarily for mid-career professionals who work with urban trees and green space in some way, the approval and launch of MUFL was highly anticipated by many in the field.

“Urban Forestry is coming into its own as a full profession at the same time that many urban forestry leaders are retiring. The timing of the Master of Urban Forestry Leadership program is ideal, in that it will help to prepare people who already have good technical skills for the more advanced management and leadership roles that are crucial to moving the profession forward,” said Owen Croy, Instructor, Municipal Forestry Institute and Adjunct Professor, UBC Forestry.

With climate change, urbanization, public health challenges and community needs continuing to evolve, the demand for urban forestry practitioners who can provide solutions to complex challenges is expected to grow extensively. Already, projections for urban centres across the globe are showing cities will have expanded by more than 2.5 billion people, equal to almost 70 per cent of the world’s population, by 2050.

“The demand for professionals with ‘green leadership’ skills is growing every year and will only continue to increase as more and more cities begin to understand the critical role urban forests and other green infrastructure play in maintaining healthy and sustainable cities. Creative leaders who can oversee strategic and sustainable forestry projects are very much needed now and will be in the future,” says Konijnendijk.

Among organizations fueling those projections is the United Nations which just last year unveiled its plan to grow forests in 90 cities across 30 countries in Africa and Asia before 2030. That plan equates to planting urban forests over an area that is estimated to be four times the size of Hong Kong.

Here in Canada, many municipalities have adopted their own urban forest strategies. In Vancouver, for example, their strategy outlines specific targets that include: increasing the city’s urban forest canopy to 22 per cent by 2050 and doubling street tree density in below average city blocks by 2030.

“Our graduates will be ready to address the many challenges urban foresters will encounter and will have a comprehensive understanding of these challenges and how to meet them,” Konijnendijk added.

To learn more about UBC Faculty of Forestry’s newest program, view the Masters of Urban Forestry Leadership Program at:

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CWFC recovers merchantable wood fibre from two more short rotation plantations

By Tony Kryzanowski

Merchantable wood fibre from two plantation sites attached to the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre’s National Network of Short Rotation Afforestation Sites, one in Alberta and one in Ontario, is now being recovered after less than 20 years of growth on each site.

The plantations have grown merchantable wood fibre on a growth trajectory more than eight times faster than similar trees of the same species grown in the natural forest. Now it’s time to harvest and transport the crop to final users.

Because of their fast growth, these commercially valuable, short rotation plantations also represent a natural carbon sequestration solution that could be part of a national climate change initiative.

Both plantation recovery demonstrations will use conventional equipment to show the ease of logging this wood fibre grown on easy-to-access, high yield hardwood and mixed wood plantations, grown on moderate to good quality agricultural land, close to paved highways, and relatively close to end users.

Over the past two decades, CWFC has developed and proven the technology to design, grow, and manage hybrid and clonal hardwoods at an accelerated rate in orchard-style tree plantations, as well as plantations that feature hardwoods and softwoods established on the same land base. The goal now is to encourage uptake and commercialization.

The Alberta site north of Edmonton was established as a next step after the initial and first site in CWFC’s National Network of Afforestation Sites was established within Edmonton’s boundaries in the Ellerslie district, in 2002. This site was harvested in 2019.

The site north of Edmonton was established in 2009 and features 16 hectares of hybrid poplar and 8 hectares of selected, root-propagated, clonal aspen plantations grown in partnership with the forest industry in Alberta.

A feller buncher will log the site, followed by on site, hot chipping and transportation to the final user.

The Ontario site near Guelph was established in two phases, with preliminary plantation establishment in 2005 to determine which hardwood clones would grow best in this geographic area. By 2009, CWFC had determined which clones had the best potential for Ontario and various selected hybrid poplar clones were planted. The total plantation site is about 28 hectares.

The Guelph site will also be logged with a feller buncher. A skidder will drag the logs to roadside for hot chipping, weighing, and transportation using walking floor trailers. CWFC and local partners will conduct selective time and motion studies in conjunction with this recovery demonstration for use in economic feasibility models.

Portions of the plantations established in both Alberta and Ontario have tolerant and semi-tolerant softwoods, specifically white spruce and white pine, planted in the understory to demonstrate CWFC’s mixed wood plantation model. It shows potential adopters how to grow two valuable commercial crops on the same land base. Having been left to grow between 6 to 11 years, the softwoods have achieved between 2 to 5 metres in height. In addition to recovery of the hardwoods, these softwoods will also be recovered for windbreak, landscape, habitat enhancement and aesthetic use.

“The data that CWFC and its partners collect from these demonstrations will provide us with recovery volumes and some closure to the full loop as it relates to the full lifecycle of our short rotation initiatives,” says Derek Sidders, Program Manager, Technology Development and Transfer at CWFC.

CWFC is happy to share its knowledge associated with deploying this short rotation plantation technology as an afforestation commercial crop; for land regeneration and rehabilitation; as a natural climate change solution since trees consist of about 50 per cent carbon and protect land, water and air; or for habitat enhancement and diversity, especially by deploying the mixed wood plantations model, which closely resembles a natural forest.

For more information about opportunities in short rotation afforestation plantation management, contact Derek Sidders at [email protected].

Logging and Sawmilling Journal

September/October 2020

On the Cover:
Freya Logging has proven to be a versatile and diversified logging contractor in the B.C. Interior, taking on a range of logging jobs, including commercial thinning, with a variety of harvesting equipment, such as a Ponsse Buffalo King forwarder. Watch for the story on Freya Logging in the next issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal (Cover photo courtesy of Freya Logging).

Keeping the pedal to the metal in beetle battle …
Alberta is working hard to keep its foot on the gas in battling the mountain pine beetle, but the beetle keeps knocking on Saskatchewan’s western door.

LSJ Exclusive—Sawmill Supplier Forum
To help readers keep on top of new equipment in these uncertain times, and help mill equipment suppliers share information with their customers, we’ve included a special feature in this issue of Logging and Sawmilling Journal— “The Sawmill Supplier Forum”.

Maxing out on communications tools—in logging
Alberta logger Seth Dickinson is gaining benefits on a number of fronts using communications tools now available on John Deere logging equipment.

B.C. firm key to building new Alabama sawmill
A new sawmill to make use of under-utilized small logs is now turning out upwards of 200 million board feet of lumber a year at the relatively new $65 million (U.S.) Two Rivers Lumber sawmill in southwestern Alabama—and B.C.’s BID Group was instrumental in building the state-of-the-art mill.

Tolko’s new pellet, energy plant in Alberta
Despite the COVID-19 situation, Tolko Industries has been busy of late, completing work on a new state-of-the-art $60 million pellet plant, and $33 million energy facility, in Alberta.

The Edge
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, are stories from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC), and the Faculty of Forestry at the University of B.C.

The Last Word
B.C.’s forestry communities are fed up and frustrated with the industry’s ups and downs—and loss of jobs, says Jim Stirling.


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