December 12, 2018

The very first Atlantic region Urban Forestry conference was held in Moncton, NB, in 2014. This event brought together representatives from municipal and provincial governments, certified arborists, foresters, technicians, developers, planners, landscape architects, architects, nursery industry and related trades, urban forestry students, utility companies, horticulturalists watershed groups, forest pest professionals, teachers and others involved in managing forests at the street tree level and/or stand level. In 2015, as part of Tree Canada’s Canadian Urban Forest Network workshop initiative, in partnership with the ISA Atlantic Chapter in Halifax, NS, the Atlantic Urban Forestry Collective (AUFC), held a workshop to engage the community in strategic planning visioning. In 2017, the AUFC held yet another two-day urban forestry conference in Fredericton, NB.

The AUFC committee is currently working on organizing our 2019 conference to be held in November in Nova Scotia with more details to follow as our agenda and location is determined. Stay tuned for this! 

The first official sighting and report of EAB (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/tree-killing-invasive-beetle-emerald-ash-borer-bedford-park-1.4937367) in Northern New Brunswick came in early summer setting the stage for unpredictability in the Atlantic region. This pest has been our neighbor but now has increased monitoring efforts with all stakeholders completing new inventories of ash in the region. The extent of the spread is being studied and results will soon be available and reported at the Atlantic Canada Forest Health Workshop being held in Moncton from January 15-17, 2019 (see attached PDF for details).

Another busy fall in the Maritimes with warm seasonal temperatures into late October and then winter appeared early November 5th with extreme weather conditions (strong violent winds, early frosts, heavy snow storms, snow remaining on the ground and very cold temperatures -19) affecting large tracks of urban forests with uprooted mature trees, broken tops and high numbers of trail closures in Municipal parks being reported along with forested wildlands having extreme damage.

The AUFC has been working with the large municipalities over the years to ensure management plans are in place, street tree inventories are completed, and maintenance plans are underway; smaller communities tend to not have staff or budgets and the AUFC provides resources to these communities where possible. These regional workshops have increased the networking opportunity by professionals to stay connected and share experiences (good or bad) as they happen. Broadening the exposure of urban forests to issues not yet seen or planned for makes for more of a challenge. Partners guide and share their expertise by providing information and knowledge transfer, this is success moving forward.

Positive steps have been taken by the educational community in the Atlantic region: the new Bachelor of Urban Forest Program at University of NB and the Maritime Forest Ranger School Utility Arborist Program will put more professionals in the workforce.

New funding partners for future conferences are being explored as the AUFC tries to move the conference location around to each Atlantic province every two years, on the off years of Tree Canada’s Canadian Urban Forest Conference.

 

Heather Fraser, City of Moncton
Canadian Urban Forest Network, Atlantic region representative
Atlantic Urban Forestry Collective