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HOME / ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT / ANNUAL REPORTS / BUDGETS / 2002-2004 / DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND FORESTRY ANNUAL REPORT  2002-2003 /


Forestry and Land Resource Modeling Division

The Forestry and Resource Land Modeling Division manages some 18,900 hectares of public forest land through the Provincial Forest program, and provides advice and assistance to land owners to help them improve the productivity and economic returns generated by their forests, increase the environmental friendliness of farm and forestry operations, and provide forest inventory and land use information services. The division’s primary clients include woodlot owners, those using Provincial Forest lands, and those interested in learning about forests. Other clients include the public and visitors who derive many benefits from forests, as well as forest contractors, wood products manufacturers, other forest resource users, and conservation groups.

Support is also offered through the production of tree seedlings for reforestation programs on private and Provincial Forest lands, special planting such as riparian zone, hedgerows, community nurseries and Christmas trees, and forest inventory and tree improvement programs. Forest fire suppression on private and public lands is also the responsibility of the Forestry and Land Resource Modeling Division. After many years of service, two prominent staff members left the division in 2002/03. Jerry Gavin, who had been the division’s director since 1988, left for a position with Health and Social Services. Keith Haight, who had been the Eastern Forest District’s Provincial Forest Senior Technician, retired after 32 years of service to the Island’s forest community.

Private Land Programs

The majority (88 percent) of Prince Edward Island forest land is owned and controlled by private woodlot owners. The department has a number of programs and initiatives designed to help land owners manage their forest lands for a wide range of values.

Forest Enhancement Program

In 2002, the department initiated a new Forest Enhancement Program which emphasizes:

  • technical forest management advice for land owners;
  • incentives for the enhancement of wildlife, recreation, and biodiversity, as well as timber values;
  • cost sharing with the land owner; and
  • private sector delivery to owners.

The program began operation in the fall of 2002 and, by the end of the reporting year, 80 forest management plans had been prepared by private sector consultants. Once these plans are approved, land owners can begin to access funding for a variety of silvicultural treatments such as pre-commercial thinning, riparian zones enhancement, and crop tree selection.

Forest Renewal Program

The Forest Renewal Program provides technical advice and financial assistance to land owners who want to reforest lands with commercial species. In 2002, some 2,187,200 seedlings were shipped to planting sites on private lands across the province. Maintenance was completed on 586 hectares of previously established private land plantations. As well, client uptake continued to be good for the pruning and plantation cleaning incentives. Both of these treatments will help to improve the growth and quality of timber and sawlogs.

Model Forest Initiatives

The department became an active participant in the newly established Model Forest project. Incorporated as the Island Sustainable Forestry Partnership Coop Ltd., the organization has 15 partners. In 2002, the co-op was able to secure $75,000 from the Canadian Forestry Service for the development and implementation of a work plan. Several projects were approved such as the development of a series of wildlife enhancement sheets and a riparian zone project.

The department participated as an active partner and as a funding partner. A staff member was provided on a cost-shared part-time basis to serve as a project coordinator.

Woodland Stewards Cooperative

In 2002, the division seconded a full-time forest technician to the newly formed Woodland Stewards Cooperative to enable the group to have forest management plans prepared for co-op members and then to oversee management and harvest work on those lands. This new venture is open to any Island woodlot owner and is organized and operated by a group of land owners who see the benefits of joining together to manage their forest, supervise harvest operations and provide educational opportunities for participating land owners.

Woodlot Owner Education

Private land staff continued to participate in a variety of forest education opportunities for Island woodlot owners and school students. In this fiscal year, staff participated in several tours and workshops organized by land owner groups. These events were designed to increase land owner awareness of forest management and reforestation techniques and how they could apply this information to their own land. Private Land program staff also provided woodlot tours to school groups.

The second publication in the Woodland Notes series was released to land owners and the public. Harvest Choices for Island Woodlots focused on three basic forest harvest and management options and how each can be applied in a typical Island woodlot.

Provincial Forests Program

Provincial Forest staff continued to demonstrate sustainable forest management on the 18,900 hectares of land managed by the program. The Provincial Forest system was created in 2000 to enable the province to enhance the economic and operational efficiencies obtained with the management of larger forest blocks while ensuring that these forests are managed to ensure sustainable wood supply, wildlife conservation, biodiversity, recreation opportunities, training facilities, job creation, forest education, and other societal needs.

The Provincial Forest program coordinates the tree planting program for private and public lands in the three districts. In 2002, 263,200 tree seedlings were planted on 102 ha of the Provincial Forests. Chemical plantation maintenance under a tendered contract to the private sector was conducted on 43.5 ha after field assessments indicated that manual maintenance would be inadequate to control competing vegetation. As well, 3.4 kilometers of new forest access roads and a bridge were constructed, while 0.3 km of roads were maintained or upgraded. Assistance was provided to several schools on the development and planting of seedlings on the school property. In addition, planting sites were prepared on the Provincial Forest and technical support was provided for the Scouts’ Canada Trees for Canada program and the Batesville Memorial Plantings. Under the supervision of Provincial Forests staff, seasonal forest workers thinned 10.3 hectares of softwood while 90 ha of mature and over-mature timber were tendered and harvested by local sawmills. Along with sales of harvested wood, this brought in revenues of $289,000 in 2002/03. This revenue was reinvested into the management and care of Provincial Forest lands.

The green diamond-shaped Provincial Forest identification signs were erected where forest roads join the public highway system on properties across the Island. These signs were designed to inform Islanders about the location and management of this public resource, and to encourage Islanders to visit and use these properties for outdoor recreation. Signage on the Demonstration Woodlot trail system was upgraded and replaced and staff assisted and coordinated tours with school and community groups, the Public Forest Council, and other groups.

The third annual Provincial Forest Fall Frolic was held on the New Harmony Demonstration Woodlot in October 2002. Some 87 participants came to walk the 4.5 kilometer trail or run the 13.2 km trails and enjoy the natural beauty of the Provincial Forest in fall. Participants raised $685 for MacIntyre House in Souris.

Several very successful chainsaw safety and maintenance courses were offered across Prince Edward Island in March 2003. As well, a balsam fir tipping tender was conducted on Provincial Forest lands in eastern Prince Edward Island to enhance the production of Christmas wreathes for export markets and a forestry intern from Europe was hosted to work on hardwood management and multiple use forestry information development.

General Fire Situation and Statistics

The 2002 fire season was marked by serious fires in Lorne Valley, Webster’s Corner, St Felix, and Dover in late May. For the second time in the Island’s history, helicopter water bombers were required to support fire suppression efforts to protect homes and businesses in the area. The helicopter crew dropped 34,000 litres of water in just under four hours on the Dover fire and was a real asset to division fire fighters, the volunteer fire departments, and other agencies.

Over the season, there were 29 forest fires which burned 132 hectares.

Fires
Hectares
Full
Modified
Total
Full
Modified
Total
29
0
29
132.3
0
132.3

Costs
Values Lost
Pre-
Suppression
Suppression
Total
Forest
Res.
Interface
Improvement
Total
$ 140,000
$97,000
$237,000
$10,000
0
0
$10,000

Fire Prevention Activities

The forest fire weather index components are calculated by the department from the meteorological data collected at three sites using REMS software. It is programmed to automatically fax or E-mail the forest fire weather index code to cooperating agencies. The numerical rating for fine fuel moisture content, duff moisture code, drought code, initial spread index, buildup index, and the fire weather index which are indicators of fire behavior was then conveyed to the district offices, headquarters, and cooperating agencies for posting.

The wildfire danger rating was provided to the local radio stations, Meteo Media, ATV, MITV, newspapers, and other departments through Island Information Services and made available during the fire season via telephone or the internet: www.gov.pe.ca/ Meetings were held with fire departments across the Island to discuss fire prevention and suppression needs.

Training

Fire preparedness workshops were held at the district offices. Training courses were provided to local fire brigades, department silviculture crews, and students from the Holland College Renewable Resources Management program.

Public Forest Council

The Public Forest Council was created in 2001 to:

  • Stimulate public discussion on the wealth potential of the Island’s 33,200 hectares of public forest land, primarily in the areas of non-consumptive and non-traditional uses.
  • Consult with community organizations, community development groups, and private sector entrepreneurs with respect to forest wealth creation opportunities on provincially owned forest lands.
  • Review and evaluate proposals for non-consumptive and non-traditional uses.
  • Solicit proposals and recommend the allocation of standing round wood forest products from Provincial Forests.
  • Review the results of public consultations on public forest land management and provide comments to the minister in this respect.

Council membership is composed of six private sector representatives, two Forestry and Resource Land Modeling Division staff members, and one staff member from the Department of Fisheries, Aquaculture and Environment. The council’s representation includes broad-based expertise relevant to the forest resource and the types of proposals which would likely be brought forward. Forest biology, business economics, community development expertise, forest management, and/or tourism industry expertise are also skill sets sought on the council.

In April 2002, the council held a well-attended public meeting in Kensington to increase awareness of the potential of public forest lands and to obtain public input into the development of non-timber products from these lands. One of the ideas arising from this meeting was to establish a public forest in the area. Council agreed with and promoted this idea. A number of forested properties in the Kensington area were evaluated, and purchase agreements were negotiated and signed for two of these properties.

In addition, the Provincial Forestry Council evaluated ground hemlock harvesting criteria for public forests and, after establishing evaluation criteria, called for expressions of interest for harvesting. The first contracts were awarded through the Provincial Forest section. The council also initiated discussions on the concept of a Forest Learning Centre. This concept was further developed through a joint funding agreement with the Model Forest program and the department which enabled the council to hire a researcher to consult with a wide range of forest stakeholders and interest groups.

Forest Policy
Harvest Trends

Although the shipment of softwood pulpwood was down in 2002 from 2001, overall, the annual survey of markets revealed that the total softwood harvest was up about 10 percent. The 2002 delivered value of all products was also up by almost 16 percent over the previous year.

However, forest inventory information is projecting a significant shortfall of commercial softwood in the next few decades, regardless of silvicultural inputs. This decline resulted from a combination of the harvest of commercial softwood stands, natural mortality of old field white spruce stands, conversion of forests to other uses, and the harvest of immature softwood stands.

Prince Edward Island now imports softwood studwood for manufacture in the province. An estimated 11.7 percent of the 2002 softwood lumber products came from imports. Canada/United States Softwood Lumber Dispute

On March 22, 2002, the United States Department of Commerce issued its final decision in the ongoing Countervailing Duty (CVD) and Anti-dumping (AD) investigations. While the Island’s softwood lumber industry was exempted from the CVD, the United States Department of Commerce did impose an 8.37 percent Anti-Dumping duty on softwood lumber from Atlantic Canada going to the United States. The province worked with the Maritime Lumber Bureau to ensure the region maintained its exemption to the Countervail.

Canada is pursuing several options through the World Trade Organization, by contending that the United States actions were not in compliance with United States and international trade law. The process to reach a decision is expected to take at least two or more years.

Forest Information Program

The Forest Information program coordinates general awareness and youth education programs related to Island forests, and provides communications support and planning services to the director, managers and various division programs.

Six forestry segments were developed for the Island Focus cable-access television show, while 52 radio segments were competed for Agriculture Today. A forestry newspaper insert was prepared and released to promote the multiple benefits of Island forests. In 2002, Forest Information program, in cooperation with the Provincial Forest program, developed and hosted Prince Edward Island’s second ENVIROTHON. ENVIROTHON is a voluntary science education program for senior high school students which emphasizes basic science skills in forestry, soils, aquatics and wildlife. Teams from Charlottetown Rural High School and Bluefield High School worked on the 2002 theme of Introduced Species and their Effect on Biodiversity. Bluefield High School won the right to represent the Island at the international ENVIROTHON in Massachusetts in July 2002.

The department worked with Canadian Woodlands Forum, and other forest sector partners from across the region, to develop the 2002 Atlantic Teachers Tour program and sponsor two Island school teachers. The teachers spent three days visiting forest sites in Nova Scotia learning more about the science used to manage Maritime forests, exploring the economic role of the forest industry, and examining the range of the employment opportunities their students could find in the forest sector.

Resource Inventory and Modeling

Photo interpretation for the Corporate Land Use Inventory and the State of the Forest Report was completed in 2002/03. The project has combined the specifications from the 1990/92 forest inventory with the 1993 wetland inventory and added all the other land and water inside the province. Agricultural crops and field boundaries were captured, and developed areas were described as to use and cover.

Some 804 field plots were established on a sampling grid across the province. At each plot, trees, shrubs, regeneration, herbaceous vegetation, wildlife use, and soils were examined and the details recorded. The plot methodology follows the new National Forest Inventory (NFI) standards.

Corporate Land Use Inventory

Work continued on the Corporate Land Use Inventory. The inventory records land use for every property on Prince Edward Island in data layers. Work was initiated on the development of an internet-based tool that will allow landowners, community planners, policy makers, emergency planners, and others to acquire this land use information for their lands or more generic community information for planning. In addition, Resource Inventory and Modeling staff conducted many special projects to support sustainable resource policy initiatives and the development of the State of the Forest Report. 1990-2000 State of the Forest Report

The 1990-2000 State of the Forest Report was completed in March of 2002 and was received by the minister who will release it in the 2003 spring sitting of the legislature.

This is the Island’s second State of the Forest Report. It captures a picture in time of forest conditions and updates and builds additional layers of information on the 1990 and 1980 forest inventories.

The report indicates that the Island has lost six percent of its forests over the 1990-2000 period due to forest conversions to agriculture and development. As well, due to high harvest rates, the commercial softwood resource has been reduced to the level where the Island’s softwood-dependent industry will experience significant shortfalls over the next few decades. Modeling of various forest management options including expanded reforestation and thinning has indicated that this shortfall cannot be alleviated. The information from the public forest perspective is better with these lands being managed sustainably.

Nearly 90 percent of the Island’s forest resource is owned and controlled by some 12,000 woodlot owners. This means that their attitudes and goals for their woodlands have a major impact on the forest as a whole. The University of New Brunswick, in cooperation with the Canadian Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture and Forestry, surveyed some 2200 Island woodlot owners to determine their feelings on why they own forest land and how and why they make forest harvest and management decisions. Approximately 60 percent of the surveys were returned. A summary of the survey results was outlined in the Woodlot Owners of Prince Edward Island: A survey of their forest use, management, and values was incorporated into the State of the Forest Report. Growth and Yield, PSPs

Staff conducted a Year-15 Plantation Assessment study by examining 124 plots in white pine, red pine, white spruce, black spruce, and larch plantations. The study sought to create a snapshot of the health and productivity of typical plantations by collecting data on stem diameters, tree form, dominance, insects and disease, defects, and natural regeneration and vegetative biodiversity.

Seedling Production
J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery

The J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery produces quality tree seedlings for reforestation projects and wholesales ornamental trees and shrubs to the retail landscape trade. In 2002, some 2.7 million seedlings, representing 13 softwood species and 10 hardwood species were planted on cut overs, riparian zones, hedgerows, and special areas across the province.

Staff from the nursery offer tours to interested groups and individuals to show them Prince Edward Island’s largest seedling production facility. In 2002, 488 people toured the J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery facility. The nursery also offered advice and assistance on insect and disease problems for ornamental plants, trees and shrubs, as well as advice on landscape problems to thousands of property owners. Staff provided insects anddisease analysis for 436 samples and made 40 site visits with landscapers and Island communities to provide detailed information on landscaping and plant health issues. Nursery staff delivered a 60-hour ornamental horticulture course for golf courses through the Atlantic Tourism and Hospitality Institute. This course will help golf course developers and staff establish and maintain plant materials which enhance and promote the value of golf courses.

On June 5, 2002, some 200 people toured the Environment Week Open House at the J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery to see displays on public and private forests, riparian zone management, environmentally friendly agricultural practices, horticulture, farm safety and many other matters related to natural resources.

Nursery staff also worked with federal and provincial agriculture partners on an agro-forestry initiative.

Tree Improvement

Two yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) tests were established at Dover by the department and the Canadian Forest Service to determine how this species will grow and develop under Island conditions. Four survival tests for red oak, yellow birch, white birch, and white ash seedlings planted in late summer were established on a Provincial Forest site in Brockton.

Hardwood fill plantings were conducted on five properties, while hardwood survival checks were completed on properties in Watervale, Camp Tamawaby and Valleyfield. Improved seed was collected from the Dover Orchard for the production of high quality seedlings at the J. Frank Gaudet Tree Nursery. As well, 366 new grafts were completed on white pine, white spruce, red spruce, larch, and balsam fir, while 379 grafts were planted in Dover, Beach Grove, Upton Road and Southampton.

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