Another success! PFLA organizers were delighted by the turnout and participation at the 2011 Private Forestry Forum.

Held June 16th, 2011, at the Prestige Conference Centre in beautiful Sooke, BC, a series of engaging presentations sparked interesting debates, encouraged thoughtful questions, and provided an opportunity to connect with forest landowners (large and small, coastal and interior); government representatives; industry experts; communication specialists; and international presenters.

For those of you who missed it, here are some of the highlights:

Tom Niemann, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations: Wood Market Update & Outlook presentation.

Highlight: Amazingly detailed, colourful and comprehensive graphs and charts depicting the forest sector’s business cycle over the past 10 years.

Key point: This is not a regular business cycle – both the product mix and the markets have changed. Tom advises policy makers, foresters, and landowners to think creatively about adjusting product mixes to match market demands.

Matt Walsh, New Zealand Carbon Farming: International developments in forest carbon trading.

Highlight: An international demand for carbon credits (created by voters and consumers pressuring governments and corporations to off-set negative environmental impacts) means “sinking” a forest, and selling carbon credits rather than logs, may prove as, if not more, lucrative.

Key point: International examples from New Zealand and California indicate the carbon credit industry is developing quickly. By 2012, we’ll see open trading in carbon credits in order for companies to meet their Kyoto Protocols. The Darkwoods carbon pilot project (June 2011) marks the first carbon sink deal in BC  (Using the Trees to Save the Forest).

Mike Brooks: Detailed scan of B.C.’s political landscape.

Highlight: Continued political uncertainty puts two of PFLA’s key issues – maintaining policy distinction for private managed forestlands and positive change on log export policy – at risk.

Key point: There’s hope. We’re harvesting well under the average allowable cut, each year, in this province. This is a new concept for citizens. Undercutting public lands reframes the debate about log exports in a new light. It’s important to find a way to communicate this new message to the public.

Laura Coward, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, spoke briefly about recent shifts in government ministries. Laura reaffirmed the government’s commitment to work with the PFLA to ensure that government remains alert to the perspective of private managed forest owners.

Ron Davis, Private Managed Forest Land Council also provided a brief update on the council’s activities over the past year.

Did we miss anything? Want to know more? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.