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The 80th Annual Forest Industry Lecture

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CCIS L1-140

University of Alberta

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Dr. Tom Fox is a Vice President of Forest Productivity and Sustainability for Rayonier which owns 1.05M ha of timberland in the US and New Zealand. Prior to joining Rayonier, Tom was the Honorable Garland Gray Distinguished Professor of Forestry at Virginia Tech where he taught silviculture and forest soils. Fox has held many awards (eg: Fulbright Scholar), is a registered professional forester, and a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America and the Society of American Foresters.


Market Driven Precision Silviculture: Linking Soils, Physiology and Silviculture with Financial Analysis and Environmental Considerations to Optimize Productivity and Sustainability of Forests

Precision forestry is moving from an abstract concept to an ongoing practice in many regions of the world. Following the lead of agriculture, precision forestry uses detailed knowledge of soils and physiology to prescribe silvicultural treatments that are applied at the right time in the right location to optimize growth and productivity of the forest. This involves matching species and genotype to each site with an integrated silviculture regime with inputs throughout the rotation to produce the desired products when the stand is harvested. Modern technology such as field computers, GIS, satellite navigation, drones, and remote sensing tools such as LiDAR are needed to provide foresters the tools needed to efficiently implement precision silviculture. Precision requires a comprehensive understanding of markets and the short term and longer value of timber needed to justify the expenditures that are being made. In order to ensure that precision forestry is sustainable, environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG) must be incorporated into the decision process. Because of the variation that exists in soils and site quality, growth responses to silvicultural treatments, the local markets for timber, market driven precision silviculture will create a mosaic of different management regimes across the landscape that range from intensive plantation management to extensively managed natural stands to forests managed for non-timber objectives and environmental considerations. This presentation will describe how Rayonier, a timber REIT that owns 2.6 million acres, has developed Market Driven Precision Forestry to optimize the productivity, profitability and sustainability of its forest estate in the United States and New Zealand.

HISTORY

The Forest Industry Lecture Series (FILS) began and was developed as a collaborative event by members of the “forestry community” in Alberta to enrich the Forestry Program at the University of Alberta. The first Forestry class had enrolled in the fall of 1970, initiated as a Faculty program through the vision of Dr. Fenton MacHardy, then Dean of Agriculture. In 1975, Dr. Allan A. Warrack, then Minister of Lands and Forests in the new Peter Lougheed government, made an offer to Dean MacHardy, saying that he had done well in developing the forestry program, but students needed enrichment through speakers from outside who could bring in fresh insights. The offer was that his Department would match any outside funds the Faculty could raise to support a position or lecture series.

Several of the larger forest products companies in western Canada immediately responded and for two years, in 1975 and 1976, this new outside funding supported two visiting lecturers: Maxwell MacLaggan and Dr. Desmond I. Crossley whose expertise were respectively: forest industry, logging and forest products; silviculture and forest management.

In the meantime, Arden A. Rytz encouraged the sawmilling and plywood industries to add their support through the Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA), of which he had become executive director. Arden Rytz was a forester, graduating from UBC after wartime service in south-east Asia. This collaborative approach to shared funding has enabled this lecture series to achieve the level of success that it enjoys today.

The first designated Forest Industry Lecture was given in 1977 by the noted Canadian internationally respected forester Dr. Ross Silversides, who spoke on Industrial forestry in a changing Canada. The University and the Department of Renewable Resources in particular, deeply appreciates the support of its many sponsors.


Dr. Peter Murphy
Professor Emeritus

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University of Alberta

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