Deforestation. Clear-cutting. Desertification. These words are quite wrongfully associated with the forest industry. Canada actually has some of the best managed forests in the world. Registered Professional Foresters Ryan Milne and Megan Finlay made it a career to ensure that our greatest renewable resource thrives and benefits its many communities, today and for future generations.
“Our forests capture carbon and help fight climate change, they are home to countless communities and animal species, they provide leisure and recreation, and they are a driver for our economy,” explains Ryan.
“As foresters, our primary obligation is to make sure that the forest and our operations are sustainable.”
Long before a single tree is harvested on public lands in Ontario, a detailed 10-year Forest Management Plan is prepared. The plan documents forest status and details all activity for that period; from where access roads and bridges will be built, to which areas of concern will be left undisturbed, to which areas will be replanted.
EACOM Timber Corporation is responsible for the Spanish Forest, covering an area of over a million hectares west of Sudbury, and harvests timber for its Nairn Centre, Timmins, and Gogama sawmills. Ryan and Megan are currently working on a new 10-year plan, a lengthy process which involves multiple steps and public consultations. Working with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Local Citizen Committees, First Nations, and other stakeholders, they seek to strike a balance between the different needs of all forest users.
“We can adjust harvesting times to different periods of the year, shift the building of roads to accommodate hunting, fishing, and tourism” shares Ryan. “We are fortunate to be able to resolve most of our concerns with workable compromises. For example, roads are decommissioned with consideration for moose, cold water fisheries values and tourism. We adapt other roads to facilitate access to camps and cabins.”
Originally from Midland, Ontario and an outdoor enthusiast, Ryan completed his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Forestry at Lakehead University. He was attracted to potential for growth and professional development at EACOM five years ago. Based out of Timmins, Ontario, he is now overseeing the preparation work that will eventually result in the next plan for the Spanish Forest.
With a similar aspiration to grow and expand her horizons, University of Toronto Forestry graduate Megan Finlay joined EACOM’s Nairn Centre team last year. She is co-authoring a plan for the first time and learning a great deal about the field in the process.
“Right now, we are getting ready to consult the public at three open houses. We have factored in forest inventory and public desires into our models which look 160 years into the future and provide us with the volumes of wood we can harvest sustainably,” explains Megan.
“Some of the things we are going to share with the public at these open houses include the planned areas for harvest, renewal, tending operations, and road construction. I’m looking forward to getting their input and understanding their needs and concerns, so that we can work together to achieve our common goal: a well-managed, healthy, sustainably productive forest for all to enjoy.”