Keira Tedd: Homeward Bound

Keira TeddKeira Tedd: Homeward Bound

Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award winner Keira Tedd writes her third and final blog post from Algonquin Provincial Park, Ontario, where she has been interning with the Algonquin Forest Authority. In her last month she discovers the boreal forest of northern Ontario and reunites with some old friends at the CIF-IFC conference.

As my three (and a half) months in Canada draw to an end I can honestly say this had been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Not only have I expanded my knowledge and understanding of forestry but I have also had the opportunity to meet and interact with a whole host of Canadian foresters. This month has included adventures in Algonquin Park as well as a conference, trips to the boreal forest (which is a long way-away!), tours and celebrations. 

Silvicultural Effectiveness Monitoring (SEM)

My last month spent with the Algonquin Forestry Authority has been an excellent finale to my time spent there. After familiarising myself with the processes of tree marking, harvesting and renewal within the park, I had some hands-on experience with the silvicultural effectiveness monitoring team. These avid trackers of regenerating trees (and shed moose antlers) are charged with collecting data on the success of areas being regenerated after harvesting.

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As you can see from the pictures, walking was tough going and the likelihood of an encounter with a bear unnervingly high (thankfully no teddy bear picnics were scheduled for that week!). Once collected this information is then used to determine if the site is free to grow (i.e. regeneration is successfully established and in no danger of failure) or if it requires additional silvicultural input (i.e brushcutting to control competition or planting in areas with low stocking).

Boreal Forest

I was also given the chance to head up to the boreal forest (and dip my toes into Lake Superior, the huge body of water that remained hidden from my gaze due to an incessant wall of fog). The species composition here was very different from the Great Lakes/St Lawrence forest I had spent the rest of the summer in. Jack pine, black spruce and white spruce dominate with the tenacious balsam fir working hard to outcompete them. Aspen and white birch represent the broadleaved contingent in these landscapes with a few other hardy species.

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Left: A very chilly paddle in Lake Superior. Right: the boreal forest of northern Ontario.

After a very long drive….I got the chance to investigate some more conventional forestry operations within Ontario. These clearcuts are typical of the boreal but still look very different from those I see in the UK. Twenty-six live trees that are representative of the forest cover are left per hectare when clearfelling.

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Clearfell sites with retained, representative trees.

I also got to see some more harvesting and processing machinery in action! Feller bunchers and de-limbers got the timber felled and ready for the slasher whilst the chipper and grinder were used to reduce the levels of slash/brash left on site. The rocky ground of the boreal also poses an issue for ground preparation within these forest types which can lead to difficulty when re-planting.

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The feller buncher (Left) clearing an area of Jack Pine whilst the chipper (Right) processes tree lengths for the pulp mill.

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Left: Grinder breaks down the brash piles after clearcutting. Right: De-limber…pretty self-explanitory…

CIF Tour/40th Anniversary Celebrations

I was able to attend the annual CIF tour in the park which this year was incorporated with celebrations for the AFA’s 40th anniversary. The tour looked at a variety of sites including tree marked areas, active harvesting sites and those harvested in previous years. The tour was rounded off with a trip to McRae’s sawmill (my second visit to the mill, but no less interesting!).

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Left: Final stop of the day, a tour around McRae’s Mill. Right: A lovely view over the lake at Camp Ahmek.

That evening, a veritable feast was laid out beside the BBQ (Cheers Jeff!) before we all headed in doors for the talks. After some words on the 40th celebration and the current outlook of the AFA, it was time for my bumbling presentation on my time in Canada preceded by a few words from Geraint Richards (Head Forester for the Duchy of Cornwall and one of the masterminds behind the Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award).

CIF-IFC AGM/Conference

Getting to attend the Canadian Institute of Chartered Foresters (CIF-IFC) AGM was brilliant (thank you Dana and Maddie for organising!) .The conference was also a chance to re-unite with my fellow Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award lady, Jackie Hamilton (Ross and Dave are indeed allusive creatures)!

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Left: The very ‘deco’ styled Lakeside Inn where the CIF-IFC conference was held. Right: The two Prince of Wales FLA ladies dipping our toes in the Lake outside the conference centre!

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Left: Kenora – Lake of the Woods. Right: Field Tour A group at a growth and yield plot. One of a network across Ontario.

This conference was a great opportunity for me to meet other members of the CIF-IFC who also play key roles within the Canadian forestry industry. The talks (all focusing on the conference theme of ‘Sharing the Forest’) were engaging and informative whilst at the same time being fun (Tequila tasting is apparently a major part of these conferences…I feel we in the UK may have to take note…).

And so concludes my Prince of Wales Forest Leadership Award exchange to Canada. The knowledge and experience I have acquired as well as the contacts and friends I have gained are invaluable and I was strongly encourage any student considering applying for this award to do so!

Thank you so much to the Duchy of Cornwall, the Institute of Chartered Foresters and the Canadian Institute of Chartered Foresters for organising and supporting the four of us and also to TD Bank for funding this wonderful experience.

Now ….does anyone need a recent BSc Forest and Woodland Management graduate???

Connect with Kiera

Keira Tedd on Twitter >> 

Keira Tedd on LinkedIn >>

Past Blog Posts

Algonquin Bound >>

Tree Marking to Tourist: My Illuminating Month at Algonquin >>

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