Friday, 12 January 2018
A Forestry First in Niagara
Paul, his wife Denice and their two sons Reid and Blair, became farmers when they bought a century farm with a 60 acre hardwood forest in Niagara Falls. Paul and Denice began exploring and experimenting with the forest and agricultural opportunities provided by a rural property and have since certified their 22.2 hectare forest to FSC’s forest management standards.
“Our interests in and respect for the Peninsula’s unique hardwood forests has motivated us since we first purchased the property,” said Paul Robertson. “Forest certification under the EOMF Program provides us with an assurance that we are actively part of the much larger process of insuring all stages from growing to consuming forest products are sustainable and based on best management practices.”
Cooks Mills Farms is comprised of three separate farms located east of Welland. The Robertsons purchased the first farm in 1998. Over the next 19 years they added two more properties and were kept very busy with the preparation of a Farm Stewardship Plan, stand improvement harvests, tree planting, removal of Emerald Ash Borer infected ash trees, trail improvements, control of invasive species and wildlife habitat improvements.
The farm is the first FSC-certified woodlands in the Niagara Peninsula and the addition of Cooks Mills Farms adds s to the growing list of private woodlots now certified under the Eastern Ontario Model Forest’s (EOMF) Certification Program.
Jim Hendry, forest certification coordinator for the EOMF views forest certification as an important tool to implement sustainable forest management. “Independent international standards are accountable and ensure credible forest management activities for the woodlot owner and forest product consumers. Managing our forests to a world class standard while providing FSC certified wood to local mills is both good for the environment and the local economy. The certification of Cooks Mills Farms will hopefully lead to a greater awareness of the importance of forests and a network of certified forests throughout the Niagara Peninsula” said Jim.
EOMF Forest Certification Program now includes 120 private woodlot owners, 14 community forests, two private commercial forest owners and six maple syrup producers totaling over 83,000 hectares or 205,000 acres.
Sources: Niagara this week and EOMF