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2011 International Year of Forests

A digital publication for Silviculture practitioners in Canada and abroad.

65th Ontario Forestry Association Conference will connect with communities

When you hear the word community, what comes to mind first? Is it the community in which you live or work, or the ecological community that surrounds you? Perhaps it is the sense of community that allows one to feel like they are a part of something, whether big or small. Community encompasses structure, people and the environment. Our forests are not just a part of our community, they also are one in themselves. Forests are not disconnected from people and the realization of this is essential in sustainability. Our decisions inevitably have an effect on forests just as the forests are important in contributing to our own communities.

The Ontario Forestry Association’s 65th annual conference will be an exploration of communities in Ontario - the forests and people, and how they work together to adapt to change and thrive. We will explore the landowner and forest practitioner communities, and how an enhanced and reinvigorated sense of community will help increase the resilience needed to make the most of future challenges and opportunities. It being the 65th anniversary of this event and the OFA, we will also explore intergenerational issues and how to sustain the resource for   future generations.  Session topics will include taxation, business planning and accounting for woodlots, and gaining access to local wood markets.

The OFA annual conference is Ontario’s largest forest stewardship event, bringing together upwards of 300 attendees from across Ontario. For 65 years this event has provided a great networking opportunity for landowners, forestry professionals, students and the general public. Working with volunteers from several colleges and universities, the OFA aims to bridge the gap between those entering the forestry sector and established forestry professionals, and bring together landowners to learn from each other’s experiences.

With the recent changes in the management of forests in southern Ontario, it seems that the OFA must stand up to be the voice of Ontario’s forests, now more than ever. Join us on Friday, February 21st, 2014 at the Nottawasaga Inn, Alliston. For more details about the conference including registration and sponsorship opportunities, visit

The conference also features the White Pine Silent Auction, which raises funds for popular education programs including the Ontario Envirothon, Focus on Forests and Forestry Connects. If you are interested in making a contribution to the auction, do not hesitate to contact the Ontario Forestry Association. Donations of forest related items including equipments, tools, experiences and resources are welcome. Support the next generation of those who will care for our forests – donate today.

By Allison Hands
Membership Services Coordinator
Ontario Forestry Association 

Current Issue: Fall 2013
Published October 21st, 2013

Our Fall issue is now available!

Once again, our contributing writers have given us a lot to think about as we close in on the end of another planting season, when questions and concerns around forest management are in the news and the first installment of the fifth IPCC climate change report provides further evidence that our ecological support systems are changing and we all (including our industry) must respond appropriately.

See below for a glimpse at what is offered on the <digital> pages of our Fall 2013 issue, then get reading! 


  • Practicing Mindful Silviculture in our Changing Climate - by Suzanne W. Simard
  • The Importance of a Land Ethic in the Management of Private and Tenured Forestlands in British Columbia - by Fred Marshall
  • Forests, and their soils, are twice as important as Carbon Sinks - by Dale Prest
  • The Challenges of Active Forest Management in an Ecological Reserve- by Andrea Watts


These, along with our regular regional association updates, safety and other regular columns are now available- click on the image of the cover to download the pdf and get started. 

WSCA Annual Conference and Trade Show registration now open!

The WSCA Annual Conference and Trade Show will be taking place Wed- Friday Januray 29th-31st 2014 at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort and Conference Cetnre in Kelowna. Call 250-763-4500 to book a room. 

Visit for the full conference registration and tradeshow booking packages and for more information. 


The Symmetrical Planter: Why ambidexterity is good for you

By Jordan Tesluk 


Every planter does this. You step forward with your right leg- your right hip glides easily forward, and as you bend to plant the tree, your right leg muscles tense up to bear the load of your leaning torso. Meanwhile, your left leg, somewhat straighter behind you, relaxes just slightly, and your left back muscles do the work to maintain the balance of your hips as you overload your right leg and left back muscles. Your left hip remains fixed to your pelvis, and you relax your right back muscles somewhat as the leg takes the load. Meanwhile you slightly pivot your torso to push the shovel handle forward to open the hole, and your left shoulder dips down as you punch the tree into the ground. (Reverse the sides if you are left-handed)


Familiar as this may be, it is nevertheless a highly complex movement. One that you refine by training your mind to send the right signals to your muscles, optimizing your movement. You painstakingly micro-train yourself to be more efficient, and faster at this movement thousands upon thousands upon thousands of times per week, per month, per year, focusing on the fractions of pennies you gain from this refinement of movement. There is a physical aggravating factor, in the form of a bag of trees that is almost always heavier on one side of your body than the other. At the point that you empty your draw bag, your shovel side bag is at least twice as heavy as your draw side, loading your shovel-side leg even more.


How can this not breed deep imbalances in your body, and in that part of your brain that sends signals to your muscles to tell you how to move? Of course, after even a few years of planting on only one side, you will likely develop some assymetrical body issues, perhaps pain, perhaps tightness, maybe you pull up sore after running for only 15 minutes and have to stretch your hip. You may find your left hip doesn't want to glide forward as you move because it is so used to being locked in place with your leg behind you as you plant trees. You may find your right leg is prone to tremendous knotting in the muscles due to the exaggerated load that it bears with each tree planted. Maybe you get back tightness when you exercise hard, but mainly on one side. In many activities, you merely compensate, as your body adjusts its tilted axis to what you are doing. Mountain biking, dancing, rock climbing, soccer, and other sports seem to pose little problem. Of course, you're strong from working so hard and it is easy to overlook the physical issues that you have accumulated. However, in a more controlled environment, such as riding a road bike, you certainly notice you don't feel as fluid or balanced, or equally strong in one leg as the other. As you age, these issues, if not corrected, may develop into something more inconvenient than mild discomfort. Maybe you get joint degradation, maybe nerve impingement, maybe just a less than optimally healthy posture and musculature. At work, this may manifest in various diffuse muscle pains that seem more than the impact of exertion. Maybe you plant in pain for a week, maybe you need an extra day off sometimes, maybe you just have the feeling of fighting against your body as you move some days. Not enough to stop you in your tracks, but ask yourself honestly if your body is really moving as well as you would like it, and if you feel balanced in the way you move.


So, don't plant and avoid all this. Or, better yet, LEARN TO PLANT WITH BOTH HANDS. Be an ambi-planter.  The benefit of ambi-planting is not just reducing the chance of tendinitis that may affect your production for a few weeks. Ambi-planting seems to be brought up whenever someone has a hand injury in one hand and switches sides as a last resort to stay working. Should we really be waiting until this point in time to balance our movements? Ambi-planting is about equally distributing the many loads and motions of the planting action, and teaching your mind flexibility in movement, and balancing your muscular development. To be sure, planting ambidextrously will still exert some negative (and many positive) influences on your body. However, planting on only one side has virtually no positive influence except for the perceived advantage in production-- and maybe even this is false. If you grow equally strong on both sides, and your body performs better, should this not amount to better production? Maybe fewer of those days that you miss just because your back hurts and you can't quite put your finger on it? Add to this reduced likelihood of extensive physio and massage to straighten out those nasty imbalances. Can you even put a price on your health?


So why don't more planters ambi-plant? Mostly because we don't want to pay the temporary price of slowing down. As planters we are obsessed with speed, and keeping up, and making the most of every second we have on the ground. However, perhaps this mindset is really borrowing from the future, and the actual cost is greater than what you gain. Why don't more companies encourage or teach ambi-planting? Maybe because they want that extra perceived production also, and maybe because of the independence of the job, and maybe because we (as an industry) have not yet realized the potential benefit of making this adjustment.


So, even if it is just a few bundles a day, bit by bit, teach yourself to ambi-plant. It will cost you virtually nothing to do this. If you're on dayrate- ambi plant. If you're helping someone bag out, ambi-plant. If you're down to your last bag on a part day, ambi-plant. Use every chance you can to bring balance back your body. Do it for yourself, and the kind of body you want to have 5, 10, 20 years from now. Don't try to switch over all at once, as new motions can create problems for your body. So just ease into it as gradually as you can, and certainly don't wait until one part of one side of your body breaks down completely to make this adjustment. As a company owner or crew chief, start your rookies off ambi-planting. They're going to be pretty slow that first week anyway. Get them going in the right direction from the start.


WSCA Annual Conference and Tradeshow -save the date!

This year, silviculture professionals from all across western Canada will be gathering Wed. January 29- Friday January 31st for the Western Silvicultural Contractors Association annual conference and tradeshow. The event will be held at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort in Kelowna, BC. 

Mark the date on your calendar, more information to come! 



Spring issue coming soon!

Planters are already planting up our west coast and elsewhere supervisors are planning the busy season. We're gearing up to publish the Spring issue.. coming soon! Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, have you checked out our facebook page and twitter account? Like and follow us for updates and info between issues!


Happy New Year!

Winter is upon us, a new year has begun and we're getting ready to launch the Winter 2013 issue this month! Sign up to receive the issue directly in your inbox, the easiest way to ensure you don't miss an issue.

Reminder that we welcome article and photo gallery submissions. Showcase your photography or writing in the next issue.

If you are an association or organization that would like to be included in the regional reports section of each issue, please email us for details.

We hope that you had a great holiday season and are preparing for a prosperous 2013!




Building Resilient Communities through Community-Based Forest Management

January 16-18, 2013

Algoma University, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada

 Hosted by NORDIK Institute and the Northern Ontario Sustainable Communities Partnership

 Join us and an exciting group of speakers for  the first ever interdisciplinary conference to address the emergence of community forests and initiatives to promote them throughout Canada.  The conference will provide a forum to advance community-based forest management (CBFM) as a growing model for collaborative decision-making and development, and help establish a national community forest network where researchers, practitioners, government representatives, community members and others can meet to explore and share relevant experiences, resources and tools.

Registration opens Oct. 1, 2012. For details see

For further information, contact Dr. Peggy Smith at [email protected] or 807-343-8672, Lynn Palmer at [email protected] or Meghan Ableson at [email protected]​