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Debra Dietzman
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USDA Forest Service, Conservation Forestry Network Workshop to promote ecological forestry

GRAND RAPIDS, MN, October 5, 2006 - On October 10 and 11, 2006, the hardwood and conifer forests of northern Minnesota will be a living classroom for more than 50 foresters representing public and private forestry organizations. Attendees will gather to learn about Ecological Forestry – an increasingly popular forest management method that builds on traditional silvicultural practices to promote management that better balances economic and ecological goals.

“Because ecological forestry aims to mimic natural disturbances and forest dynamics, its application isn’t limited by ownership or geography. The goal is to remain adaptive and flexible, principles that can be applied in any forest type,” said Brian Palik, research project leader for the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station (NRS) and one of the workshop presenters.  Participants will also hear from Jerry Franklin, a preeminent expert on the topic of ecological forestry and recent recipient of the prestigious Heinz Award.

The workshop will be held at the 40 Club Inn, 950 2nd St NW, Aitkin, Minn. in Aiken County and is being co-sponsored by the USDA Forest Service’s NRS and the Conservation Forestry Network (CFN) and will be the second one held in Minnesota.  Similar workshops have been held in Oregon, Maine, and Georgia

At this workshop, the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station and the Conservation Forestry Network, co-hosts of the event along with local partners, Aitkin County Land Department, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota chapter of The Nature Conservancy, will also announce a formal partnership to promote the concepts of Ecological Forestry across public and privately managed lands. 

“We are pleased to join with such esteemed partners to help bring about a change in how we think about and manage forests,” said Kim Elliman, chief executive officer of the New York based Open Space Institute, a founding partner of the CFN along with Interforest LLC, a private consulting company based in Connecticut.

The public-private partnership marks a milestone in coordinating exchange of information relevant to management across ownerships. Actively managed forestlands comprise a full 350 million acres, or 14% of the United States, and provide a variety of social, economic and ecological benefits, but fragmented ownership means that there is little to no coordinated management.  Research and application that transcend ownership is essential to fostering a coordinated approach.

As part of its partnership, the Forest Service’s NRS has awarded a $20,000 contract to the Open Space Institute to administer and advise the workshops within the 20-state Northern Station, which was formed recently though the merger of the Northeast and North Central Stations to attain a more integrated cohesive landscape scale research program.

The University of Minnesota’s Sustainable Forests Education Cooperative at the Cloquet Forestry Center is providing local coordination for the event.

Individuals interested in registering for future workshops should contact Amy Offen of the Open Space Institute, 212-290-8200, ex. 311.