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Forestry students attend ACF Conference

September 4, 2013
by Derek Lowstuter

The Practicing Foresters Institute generously provided scholarships for three Colorado State University forestry students to attend the 2013 Association of Consulting Foresters Conference and participate in the conference trainings and field sessions.

The conference was held in late June at the Keystone Resort to discuss recent changes in the field of consulting forestry. Late spring wildflowers and snow-capped mountains were a perfect setting for the three-day conference. Consulting foresters from around the United States and Canada attended the conference and shared their experience with their colleagues.

Opportunity to learn more

It was an excellent opportunity for the student attendees to learn more about the practice of private sector forestry. The welcoming atmosphere and the willingness of consulting foresters to share their diverse experiences turned break times into informal training sessions. Forestry discourse in Colorado is dominated by public forest management agencies due to the large area of government owned lands in the state. Private forestry consulting companies help address the needs of the “missing third” of the state’s forests and provide an alternative career path for new forestry professionals.

Technical seminars on recent advances in forestry technology and changes in forest product markets led into field sessions demonstrating the latest forestry gadgets and Colorado forest management. Speakers from around the country, including new Colorado State Forester Mike Lester, discussed the state of the forestry profession. The last day of the conference centered on a visit to the Blue Valley Ranch outside of Kremmling, where conservation issues facing the Rocky Mountain region were discussed. The visit demonstrated how private lands can be managed to achieve multiple management objectives and showed the importance of private lands in landscape-scale conservation efforts.

Forest communities need collaboration

With almost a third of Colorado forested lands under private ownership, consulting foresters help manage private forests to reduce wildfire risks, maintain ecological health and generate forest products. Private forest lands can provide local benefits such as watershed services and wildlife habitat, and can be valuable contributors to local economies. The conference emphasized the need for collaboration between public and private forest managers in order for U.S. forests to be effectively managed for the benefit of forest communities and the country at large.

Contact: Bryony Wardell
Phone: (970) 491-2542