A delegate from a visiting Finnish contingent of forest researchers presents forestry information from their perspective to Quesnel counterparts. (Erin Robinson photo)

A delegate from a visiting Finnish contingent of forest researchers presents forestry information from their perspective to Quesnel counterparts. (Erin Robinson photo)

Finland and Quesnel exchange forestry knowledge

Delegation came to Cariboo, return visit planned

Finland forestry experts were in Quesnel, last week, to exchange knowledge on forest health.

The delegation of eight arrived April 14 from the city of Joensuu to open talks on collaborating between researchers, government departments and industrial professionals so both countries could learn from each other, especially on the topic of climate-smart forestry.

The delegation met with representatives from the Ministry of Forests, West Fraser, BC Wildfire Branch, the College of New Caledonia, First Nations, and the City of Quesnel’s forestry initiatives manager Erin Robinson.

“The delegation is part of our ongoing and evolving relationship with Finland, which is part of the City’s continued efforts to lead the process of improving both our forest practices and our manufacturing process in our region,” said Robinson. “Our discussion this time was primarily focused on smarter forest practices; specifically, how we can make better forest management decisions through the use of technology and how using different harvesting equipment will enable us to apply alternate harvesting practices that will help us to achieve our forest health and resilience objectives.”

Representatives for the City updated the Finnish delegation on Quesnel’s Future of Forestry Think Tank process, and the Joensuu representatives expressed an interest in replicating Quesnel’s Think Tank in their community.

A delegation from Quesnel will be visiting Finland later this year to continue these talks.

Jukka Matikainen, managing director of the Nordic Trading House, organized the Finnish delegation and expressed an interest in entering into a formal memorandum of understanding with the City around some specific opportunities. Along with the expansion of the Think Tank process, the Finnish delegation was interested in assisting the City to develop a program with the college to train people on select harvesting techniques using smaller-footprint, computer-aided harvesting equipment.

These operators will be in very high demand in the coming years as the B.C. forest sector undertakes more selective logging and commercial thinning in order to achieve the provincial government’s emerging landscape resilience objectives.

Jeff Mycock, West Fraser’s B.C. Chief Forester, was particularly interested in a presentation about a proprietary software, Arbonaut, that was developed in Finland and is being used for forest fire risk management and as a forest management decision-support system.

The provincial government’s recent announcement that it will invest $38-million to use LiDAR to aerially map B.C.’s forests means both the government and the forest industry will have better data to assist in the management of B.C.’s forest ecosystems and tools like Arbonaut will play a key role in enhancing forestry decisions.

Matikainen plans to attend Quesnel’s upcoming Think Tank session in early May and present an overview of Joensuu’s Climate Smart Forestry program to the attendees.

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