Growing up in Englehart and influenced by both parents who worked in the field, Jake Mazzetti learned to love forests early on. Whether it is fishing, hunting, camping, kayaking, biking, or hiking, Canada’s forests offer those who enjoy the great outdoors ample recreational activities.
While studying Forestry at Lakehead University, Jake participated in EACOM’s summer employment program and discovered the opportunities of pursuing a rewarding “green-collar” career. He could follow his passion while working to ensure that the forest he loves is properly managed. Upon his graduation in 2016, he started at EACOM’s Elk Lake sawmill as an Operations Forester.
Foresters write forest management plans, direct harvesting activities, coordinate reforestation and silviculture activities, participate in fire prevention and suppression programs, facilitate road building, wildlife management, environmental protection as well as insect and vegetation control programs. They have all of the latest technology at their disposal, using tablets, working with Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysts, forest modelling, and data.
Before any forestry activities can happen, a forest management plan must be in place. Preparing and implementing this plan is a rigorous process requiring stakeholder, public and First Nation community involvement at various stages. Jake’s role is to help implement the 10-year plan that has been approved by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry as well as ensuring that the sawmill is properly supplied.
“Wood is a great, renewable natural resource that helps reduce CO2 in the atmosphere. As a tree grows, it traps carbon. We harvest the resource prior to decomposition and transform it into dimensional lumber which in turn builds homes and stores carbon,” explains Jake.
Being a forester is not without challenges, the most pressing of which is the imminent retirement of many harvesting and hauling contractors and the constant threat of wildfires.
“We account for wildfires in our plans to a point, but last year was exceptional in the region, and 2019 is predicted to be very hot as well. We work to salvage burnt wood and we have a good recovery rate, but it’s a very time-consuming process. We encourage all forest users to take fire safety measures seriously and reduce the chances of human-caused fires as much as possible”.
In line with this year’s International Day of Forests “Learn to Love Forests” theme, Jake helps promote sustainable forestry by acting as an ambassador of Forests Ontario’s “It Takes A Forest” awareness campaign. Undoubtedly, EACOM’s dedicated team of foresters and certification professionals love the forest just as much as hikers, cottagers, and hunters, and ensure that they continue to be amongst the best-managed in the world.