EMEND Gains More Exposure During Field Tour

You can only get so much out of reading about EMEND (Ecological Management by Emulating Natural Disturbances) research on paper. It’s a far richer experience to be transported out into the field where EMEND is well underway. In February over 50 visitors toured the EMEND site in our forest management area to see just what sorts of harvesting alternatives are being explored. These researchers, foresters, and technicians came from six forest companies, three forest research agencies, the Alberta Forest Service and private logging companies

EMEND research is studying the effect of leaving different amounts of structure, or trees, behind while harvesting. The treatments include clearcutting, leaving 10%, 20%, 50% and 75% structure as well as controls or benchmark blocks that are left untouched for purposes of measuring effects of the various treatments.

Derek Sidders of the Canadian Forest Service organized the tour. “My role in the EMEND project,” explains Derek, “is to assist DMI and Canfor in making the research study treatments operationally realistic and ecologically sound.” The visitors viewed all the treatments during the tour. In all, a total of 60 blocks were harvested which included five different treatments within four different stand types.

The tour group hiked down the five metre wide skid trails reading the signs that indicated the specific features and treatment transitions. “The group also saw how logging was conducted,” says Rob Berndt, woodlands supervisor at Peace River Pulp Division. Rob oversees the harvesting and logging operations for the EMEND site. “Our harvesting contractor, Estabrook Construction, went out of their way to show the group two feller bunchers and two skidders in action.”

Tour members listened as operations staff and researchers working on the site described their involvement and experiences. They were fed what Derek calls “a divine lunch,” prepared by the EMEND camp kitchen staff. Derek is confident that by the time the bus rolled away at the end of the day, the group was “impressed not only with the overall project, but also with specific techniques being used.”

If the EMEND tour helps to influence how others approach forest management, it will have been well worth it. For Derek, whose official title is Silviculture Operations Specialist working in the Effects of Forest Practices National Research Network, the tour gained exposure for research that promises to change the face of forest management. “Having the treatment operations viewed by the participants has done nothing but confirm the quality and relevance of EMEND research to forestry issues today,” declares Derek.