Haliburton Forest preparing for beech bark disease
To the Editor,
As the owners and management of Haliburton Forest, we appreciated your article (“Beech bark disease rolling through county,” 15 December 2015) highlighting the seriousness of beech bark disease.
However, we wanted to emphasize there are three reasons to be hopeful about the future of our hardwood forests in Haliburton County.
Firstly, in partnership with other forest managers and scientists, we are developing practices for helping the forest recover from beech bark disease. This includes intensive harvests that are part of a long-term recovery strategy.
Secondly, we are adding value to every harvested beech tree, using local timber and local labour. We do this at our sawmill, our wood shop, and our paddle shop, and we thereby create economic activity from a resource which otherwise would be completely lost.
Thirdly, we are actively managing for other species like red oak that provide nuts throughout our forest. On an experimental basis, we are also planting various oaks and hickories that are native to southern Ontario, which may prosper up here due to climate change.
Beech bark disease is one of the greatest environmental disasters facing Haliburton County, and we are doing our best to mitigate the effects of this disaster. Public education is a critical part of our strategy, and so we thank you again for bringing much-needed attention to this issue.
Peter Schleifenbaum, Registered Professional Forester Director of Haliburton Forest
Malcolm Cockwell, Registered Professional Forester General Manager of Haliburton Forest