Connecting people with nature in Ontario's Mississippi Valley
Mississippi River at Pakenham

Lanark County Forest Habitats

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Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
Submitted by Cliff Bennett
Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2004

Seeing Both Forest and Trees Focus of Naturalists Presentation

Ontario Forest“There are no experts on biodiversity of forests but there are many highly specialized persons who study little pieces of the puzzle” stated noted forest researcher and author Dr. Brian Naylor, at the monthly meeting of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists, held at Almonte United Church on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Naylor, who works for the Ontario Ministry Of Natural Resources out of North Bay, went on to unfold many of the mysteries of forest life and how the puzzle pieces all fits together.

Noting the importance of being able to see both the forest and the individual trees and all of the relationships surrounding trees, Dr. Naylor delved into the more intricate variety and variability among the living species and environmental aspects related to each species. Noting there is infinite genetic diversity within at least 50,000 species of life forms to be considered in a forest, Naylor explained how ecosystems are studied to bring balance into forest products harvesting. “We can harvest wood products and not disrupt biodiversity’ concluded Naylor, “but we have to be very smart about it”.

Introduced by MVFN Director Franziska von Rosen, Dr. Naylor responded to a variety of questions from the large audience. He was thanked by MVFN Director Jim Bendell and presented with a gift basket of local herbal products. Also at this meeting, MVFN President Michael MacPherson announced MVFN had received a $15,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation which will ensure stable funding over the next three years to bring environmental education to schools and youth groups within our membership area.

MVFN Programme Chair Tine Kuiper announced the next presentation in the series on biodiversity. This event will be held on Thursday, January 20 and will feature Biodiversity in the insect world with noted Agriculture Canada entomologist Dr. Henri Goulet.

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
November 5, 2002
Submitted by: Cliff Bennett

Field Naturalists Focus On Community Forest Plan  

TreeWhen the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources downloaded management of County forests to County governments last year, the County of Lanark decided to appoint a team of three experts (The Management Team) to set up a Business Plan to manage the lands. Part of the team’s mandate was to involve the public in consultations throughout the process. Recently, the management team, produced a draft of the plan and sent it out to various groups for comments. Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) was one of those groups.

MVFN has been involved with the process since the beginning. They attended public meetings and responded to survey questionnaires. MVFN member and Chair of the MVFN Natural Resources Issues Committee Dr. Jim Bendell, participated on the plan’s advisory committee. Recently, a small group of interested MVFN members met to pour over the Draft Plan and submit it’s comments on behalf of MVFN.

Key to the response to the Draft Plan was an appeal for inventory of all of the natural aspects of the community forested lands, recognizing that good management of these resources cannot proceed in an orderly way without knowing what is there. In a call for a broadening of the vision for our community lands, MVFN also appealed to the County for more public input into the final document before it goes to County Council on Nov. 13, for approval.

Recognizing that our community forested lands contain more values that just timber production, values such as tourism, recreation, social and spiritual attributes, MVFN recommends that these lands always remain within the public domain on behalf of the people of Lanark County.

MVFN welcomed the opportunity to participate in this important challenge and offers to help to advance the cause in anyway it can. Overall, MVFN congratulates the Management Team of Jim McCready, David Oliver and Chair and chief facilitator Gord Harrison for championing this project. Through their efforts and the process, the public is now aware that these lands exist.

Community Forests Comunity Forests
When the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources downloaded management of County forests to County governments last year (2001), the County of Lanark decided to appoint a team of three experts (The Management Team)  to set up a Business Plan to manage the lands. Part of the team’s mandate was to involve the public in consultations throughout the process. Recently, the management team, produced a draft of the plan and sent it out to various groups for comments. Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists (MVFN) was one of those groups.MVFN has been involved with the process since the beginning. They attended public meetings and responded to survey questionnaires. MVFN member and Chair of the MVFN Natural Resources Issues Committee Dr. Jim Bendell, participated  on the plan’s advisory committee. Recently, a small group of interested MVFN members met to pour over the Draft Plan and submit it’s comments on behalf of MVFN.

Key to the response to the Draft Plan was an appeal for inventory of all of the natural aspects of the community forested lands, recognizing that good management of these resources cannot proceed in an orderly way without knowing what is there. In a call for a broadening of the vision for our community lands, MVFN also appealed to the County for more public input into the final document before it goes to County Council on Nov. 13, for approval.

Recognizing that our community forested lands contain more values that just timber production, values such as tourism, recreation, social and spiritual attributes,  MVFN recommends that these lands always remain within the public domain on behalf of the people of Lanark County.

MVFN welcomed  the opportunity to participate in this important challenge and offers to  help to advance the cause in anyway it can. Overall, MVFN congratulates the Management Team of Jim McCready, David Oliver and Chair and chief facilitator Gord Harrison for championing this project. Through their efforts and the process, the public is now aware that these lands exist.

Stand on guard for Canada!
(an open letter from Jim Bendell)Our lands and waters provide the nature we love and need ~ trees, birds, frogs, soil and much more. Should we not be concerned about the health and care of the provider?Twenty percent of the County of Lanark is land and water that is in Crown Land or our public lands. We are rich in natural resources. The Ministry of Natural Resources looks after our Lanark area forests and decides on their use. Considering the demands on our resources, are we and the Ministry doing the best job of resource care and management?Recently, the Province downloaded our Community Forests to the care of Lanark County. These lands and waters consist of some 43 properties totalling 12,000 acres and were essentially Crown Lands. A big difference now is we are locally and directly in control of this resource. The Council of Lanark County has established a team of consultants to examine and recommend what should be done with our forests. They are: Gordon Harrison, Jim McCready and David Oliver.

The team has held two public meetings and organized a steering committee to represent the views of the people. The committee includes a logger, trapper, hunter and fisher, snowmobiler, teacher and others, including me, for the Naturalists.

The team seems open to all kinds of suggestions and to want a best outcome for people and the land. Our Issues and Natural Resources Issues Committee have met with them, discussed the issues, and planned to visit some of the properties. All our welcome.

Where do we stand?  There is much interest in the properties from a number of users who make compelling arguments. A general view is that the forests must make money and not be a cost to the tax payer. We agree with the use of our resources, of course, but want to be sure that they are used well. Our history is replete with squandered natural wealth.

Good land use depends on good planning. For good planning there must be adequate inventory and evaluation of features as they are and might become. For example, where do we have an adequate and representative forest of old  growth Sugar Maple and how is it protected?  What will it return in tourism, recreation and knowledge? What helps in our management of Sugar Maple? We fear an adequate inventory of our resources has not been done. Yes, the trees have been mapped in standard forestry fashion(FRI maps) but there is much more to the forest than trees! What about ordinary, rare and uncommon features such as ecosystems like bogs, rocks and minerals, glacial effects, plants and animals scarcely looked for?

A second fundamental of good planning is to provide protected areas of representative and adequate natural features, especially those that are rare and uncommon. There are many reasons for this need but paramount are: to see, enjoy, and understand how nature works without the impact of humans and to obtain a base line to measure our progress in managing resources beyond our preserves. Give nature a chance!

We are convinced if nature in our Community Forests is adequately inventoried and protected we will derive the greatest benefits of all kinds. We produced a position paper as such which follows. We gave this to the consultants and members of the steering committee and hope it influences the outcome of their work. At present, their response is favourable but what action is taken remains to be seen.

What do you think should be done with our Community Forests? Will you help in our efforts? What should be done by the MVFN?

Please contact our President, Sandy Atack, at 256-6912 if you wish to talk about this important issue. It’s your environment.

Jim Bendell, Chair, Natural Resources Committee, MVFN.

MVFN’s position on our Community Forests
(Summary Approved by the Board of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists)

1. The Community Forests of Lanark County, as with associated Crown Lands, contain many features that are unique and uncommon globally. Included are: rocks, minerals, fossils, glacial features, soils, waters and wetlands, plants, animals and human history.

2. The Community Forests and Crown Lands are public lands and the public determines their stewardship.

3. Natural features have immense values, including economic, cultural, spiritual, ecologic, educational, scientific and recreational.

4. The inventory of natural features on our public lands is
inadequate and therefore careful planning for their use is severely compromised. Immediate attention must be given to an adequate inventory of our Community Forests.

5. We must have protected areas that are adequate and representative of all natural values. Protected areas are essential to obtain the greatest benefits from natural values and from the best use of areas beyond ­ that are managed.

6. The MVFN will help as much as possible in the identification and care of natural values. We welcome questions and comments.

Press Release
Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists
April 23, 2002
Submitted by Cliff Bennett

Lanark County Forest Certification Project

Forest FernA small but enthusiastic group of members of the Mississippi Valley Field Naturalists met at the Almonte United Church on April 18, to receive an update on Forest Certification. Guest presenter was Scott Davis, coordinator of the Lanark County Forest Certification Project. This meeting was a follow-up to an initial forest certification meeting held by MVFN in October of 2000. MVFN members are always concerned about what happens to our forests.

Scott Davis opened the session with a visual presentation explaining what forest certification was and how the Lanark County Group Forest Certification Project was organized. The Lanark Forest Group Project is a function of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest.

Forest certification is based on the concept of sustainability and provides for 3rd party verification that forest management practices comply with established standards. The programme is voluntary and market based in order to give consumers choice. Through the purchase of certified forest products, the buyer makes the statement of supporting forestry practices that ensure wildlife habitat needs and the environment are not compromised. In Europe, demands for certified forest products greatly exceed the supply.

Scott went on to explain the formation of the Lanark Group Project was to test the feasibility of group FSC forest certification for owners of small woodlots. Funding for the project comes from the Richard Ivey Foundation and is the first of its kind in Ontario. One aim of the Group is to develop non-timber forest products such as maple syrup.

Two local operators, Terry O’Conner of Clayton and Bert Treicher who owns forests around Robertson Lake in Lavant, were introduced as panelists for discussion with the audience. A lively question and answer session followed on topics such as quality of certified products, financial viability and marketing.

The evening was hosted by MVFN member Franziska Von Rosen, who introduced the guest presenters. MVFN member Jim Bendell conducted the question and answer period and presented the guests with a copy of the book Biotic Forest Communities in appreciation.

The next MVFN event is a Spring Nature Walk with host Martha Webber, who will discuss edible wilds. This event will be held on Saturday, May 11. Details available on mvfn.ca or the local newspapers. Also coming up; the Annual General Meeting of MVFN, May 16, at Union Hall.

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FULL-SIZED  CALENDAR WITH DETAILS

MVFN natural history talks:  7:30 pm on third Thursdays of Jan, Feb, March, April,  Sept, Oct, and Nov at Almonte United Church, 106 Elgin St. Almonte ON. All welcome! Non-members $5. 

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