New Products: Westwind Forest is first in Ontario to use new non-chemical product for vegetation controlHaving tested a novel biological silvicultural technology for hardwood vegetation control in crown and private forest land, Westwind Forest Stewardship has become the first company in the Ontario forestry industry to use this low-risk alternative to chemical pesticides. Westwind manages 1.7 million acres of public or crown forestland in the Georgian Bay to Algonquin Park regions on behalf of the Ontario government.
The project involved the use of Myco-Tech(tm) Paste to minimize deciduous broadleaf competition in a white pine forest stand, planting white pine seedlings to complement natural regeneration, and preparing the stand for future selective harvests. Myco-Tech is applied to cut wood surfaces of undesirable species in order to inhibit sprouting and regrowth and to support the growth of young trees of the preferred species. The product has been developed and registered by Myco-Forestis, a Quebec biotechnology company.
"The implementation of this new biological silvicultural tool marks a milestone for Westwind Forest Stewardship and follows Westwind's receipt last year of a prestigious award from the International Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)," said Westwind general manager Steve Munro.
The product of years of research and development, Myco-Tech is a biological control method based on Chondrostereum purpureum, a naturally-occurring fungal organism readily found in the temperate deciduous forest. Unmodified cultures of the fungal mycelium are incorporated into a biodegradable gel formulation which protects and nourishes the fungus.
When applied to freshly cut stems or stumps, this gel triggers the natural wood decay process, thus inhibiting sprouting and regrowth. Consequently, the efficiency of mechanical cutting of undesirable brush is increased by 70% to 100%, depending on the species treated.
The product has undergone full human health and environmental safety testing, as well as over ten years of field efficacy trials, and was registered in 2002 by Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency. Currently available only in Canada, it meets sustainable forestry management guidelines, as well as the objectives of government and environmentalists concerned with the use of chemical pesticides.
"We are convinced that this novel biological tool for forestry vegetation management will help government authorities maintain a sustained yield of forestry products while respecting the environment, biodiversity and sustainable development," said Myco-Forestis president and CEO Norbert Major. "As part of a sustainable development of forestry resources, Myco-Tech technology offers a unique ecological solution for vegetation management. There is currently no other biological alternative that allows foresters to maintain their future yield capacity by ensuring sustained productivity of forestry plantations and natural regeneration with mechanical release alone," he added. Major further noted that "since 1998, several industrial forestry companies, such as Bowater and Tembec, as well as public utilities such as Vermont's Green Mountain Power, have experimented with Myco-Tech."
Westwind Forest Stewardship promotes sustainable forestry practices and in 2002 was awarded an international recognition award from the international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for meeting globally recognized standards for good forest management. Myco-Forestis, based in L'Assomption, Quebec, was founded in July 1999 to research, develop and commercialize value-added biological products and services that support sustainable forest management.