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Record Turnout at the Forest History Ontario Session at the Forests Ontario Conference.

The annual Forests Ontario Conference held February 28th in Vaughan, Ontario included, for the first time, a speaker’s panel on forest history. We invited 3 speakers and was ably hosted by moderator, Dr Amelie Roberge, Director General, Canadian Wood Fibre Centre, Canadian Forest Service (Ottawa).

First speaker up was Lacey Rose RPF, County Forester, County of Renfrew who provided a very engaging talk on the history of human impacts on forest landscapes of the county with photos of original homesteads now completely engulfed in forest cover with some of their fascinating histories. Next up Dr Dave Martel, Professor Emeritus Institute of Forestry and Conservation, University of Toronto who looked back to numerous provincial strategies, policies, reports and zonation that has shaped wildfire management over the decades and will equip Ontario to manage fire in a changing climate and the huge challenges that presents. Finally , Ken Farr, Manager, Science Integration, Canadian Forest Service (Ottawa) presented a very well researched and presented timeline of forest and tree changes over the millennia and fast forwarded us to the last century and the major causes of urban tree losses and canopy changes across southern Ontario. While the presentations were not recorded, we plan to have their slide decks posted on our website shortly.

Ours was one of 2 concurrent sessions and the room was full, with over 100 very engaged and diverse attendees who posed many questions to all of the speakers, so much so that they had to be wrapped up due to time constraints. This was an excellent opportunity to showcase Ontario’s forest history and we are very grateful to Forests Ontario for inviting us to be part of their annual landmark event. We are already starting to think about next year. A special thanks should go out to Brooke McClelland, our Treasurer, who on very short notice was able to salvage the annual book sale, whose proceeds in the past went to Forests Ontario, but this year will go to the Frank MacDougall Forest History Trust Fund. Terrific work Brooke.

Speakers II