May 7, 2007

UPM, Time team with NGOs, govt, academic partners on forest biodiversity research

Partners from industry, government, academia and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in New Brunswick are collaborating on a new biodiversity study. Using bird species as indicators of biodiversity in managed forests, the study is expected to contribute to the further development of best forestry practices for the Acadian forest of New Brunswick in particular and for Canadian boreal forests in general.

The project, launched this month is being carried out by UPM, a leading forestry company with operations worldwide, and Time, the largest magazine publisher in the U.S. and U.K., in co-operation with the University of Moncton, the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources, Bird Studies Canada and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The study will utilize publicly-owned land and some land owned by UPM in New Brunswick. In both cases, the forest land is managed and operated by UPM.

The study team aims to develop a methodology which would become a model for future biodiversity studies in other Canadian forests. The findings will contribute to national and international discussions on biodiversity research, forest certification, policy development and forest legislation. The first results are expected in two or three years.

The state of biodiversity in a forest area can be an indicator of the sustainability of forest management practices, and certain species can be used as biodiversity indicators.

"The project is unique in that it combines extensive bird surveys and intensive monitoring of the nests of several bird species," explained Dr Marc-AndrĂˆ Villard, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Landscape Conservation at the University of Moncton.

Several songbird and woodpecker species will be evaluated as bio-indicators, and their reproductive performance will be monitored in treated and control areas.

"The aim is to measure bird responses to different forest management treatments in order to help develop harvest plans and logging methods compatible with the conservation of healthy populations," said Dr Villard. "Presence and successful reproduction of these species in post-harvest stands or landscapes would indicate a good potential for ecological resilience."

UPM has instituted a global biodiversity program for the development of best practices in the company's forest operations, as well as monitoring systems to track progress. That program fits well with the new joint biodiversity study in Canada. Bernard Robichaud, chief forester for UPM Canada, said, "The University of Moncton is responsible for the research project, and the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources will represent the forest land owner. Bird Studies Canada and Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC), two non-governmental organizations, will act as partners and offer their expertise during the whole process."

John Foley, director of land conservation for NCC's Atlantic region, said, "We support this study because it will further develop best forestry practices for some of New Brunswick's, and the country's, most important forest areas."

"Supporting applied research is an important component of the adaptive management approach used for public lands," said Scott Makepeace, wildlife biologist for the New Brunswick Department of Natural Resources. "This study will also provide basic data and information that can be used during the development and refinement of strategic goals and objectives for public land."

More information is available from Bernard Robichaud at UPM Canada, 506/627-3431, E-mail bernard.robichaud@upm-kymmene.com, or Dr Marc-AndrĂˆ Villard at the University of Moncton, 506/858-4334, E-mail marc-andre.villard@umoncton.ca.

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