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Silviculture students experience sustainable forestry first-hand

ECU Silviculture students with FPC's Andrew Lyon and Jon Brand
29 April 2016

Students from Edith Cowan University’s (ECU) silviculture unit are experiencing sustainable forest management first-hand, thanks to Forest Products Commission (FPC) Manager of Industry Policy, Andrew Lyon, who is teaching the unit.

In March, the students were hosted in Gnangara by FPC Manager Northern Operations, Andrew Milne, who discussed issues surrounding pine silviculture, such as fire management and Carnaby’s cockatoos. Afterwards the students spent the day in the Gnangara pines practicing some of the mensuration techniques they had been learning in the classroom.

April saw the students head to the South West to learn about sustainable forest management in eucalypt forests. Their first stop was a hike into the Wellington Discovery Forest research area, set up in 1991 to educate people on all aspects of the jarrah forest – ecology, timber production and its value to the community. The students were able to develop some practical skills in thinning trial plots, by measuring tree diameter, height and stand basal area, with the help of Senior Forester, Jon Brand.

The tour continued in jarrah and karri forests west of Manjimup with the FPC’s Community Consultation Officer, Peter Beatty and Senior Forester, Martin Van Rooyen. Karri planning, harvest and regeneration operations were examined in detail, with an emphasis on applied sustainable forest management. The field activities concluded with further thinning trial plot measurement work, in 80 year old karri regrowth at Treen Brook, and an inspection of a blue gum eucalypt tree farm near Pemberton.

The students were extremely appreciative of the opportunity to see the processes involved in sustainable forest management. They found the field trips helped them to turn the classroom theory into relevant applicable knowledge.

The silviculture unit at ECU has been running for many years and has always had a close relationship with the FPC. ECU’s Dr Eddie van Etten of the School of Science said “FPC’s involvement has been crucial in the provision of a modern, relevant course with access to a breadth of knowledge and experience that exists within the forest industry.

Thanks to all the FPC staff involved in the tour.