Photo: World Forestry Center
The World Forestry Center’s International Fellows recently toured the Land Trust’s Pine Creek property to learn about conservation forestry.

 

The value of our forests cannot be underestimated. Trees feed more than 80 percent of the Earth’s terrestrial biodiversity, refill aquifers, create jobs, purify our air, and shelter us. The forests of the Northwest are core to cultural identities, our region’s history, and the health of the future. That’s a part of the mission for our partners at the World Forestry Center, an organization connecting foresters and natural resources professionals from various countries to the forestry practices happening throughout Oregon and Washington.

Last week, Columbia Land Trust’s Forest Conservation Director and World Forestry Center board member Cherie Kearney, along with Land Trust Stewardship Director Ian Sinks, hosted eight International Forestry Fellows on a tour of our Pine Creek property, located on the south shoulder of Mount St. Helens. To date the Land Trust has conserved more than 13,000 acres of forestland against the threat of development surrounding Swift Reservoir, and aims to protect upwards of 20,000 acres total. We’ve selectively thinned trees in our effort toward creating an ecologically intact, old-growth forest to support various species of wildlife from northern spotted owl to bull trout.

“Our conservation forestry practices really resonate with people from various backgrounds,” said Kearney. “The Land Trust is thrilled to not only share our efforts with these fellows, but to learn about forestry issues occurring across the globe.”

This year’s World Forestry Center fellows hail from all over the world: Slovak Republic, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, Nepal, Guatemala, Scotland, and India. The fellows also come from diverse backgrounds in the world of forestry ranging from law, soil science, forest fires, landscape management for wildlife, water resources, and even data collection and modeling to help predict climate change. The group will visit 20 sites in the Northwest over the course of six months from April to October, where they will learn more about various forestry styles and ultimately how to promote best practices when they return home.

“The whole idea of the program is that the fellows already come with critical thinking skills,” said Shadia Duery
International Fellowship Program Manager with the World Forest Institute. “We want them to see different examples and experience different cultures of forestry management. Out of sharing comes a lot of inspiration and new ways of thinking and doing things in their countries.”

The World Forestry Center’s museum is located across the street from the Oregon Zoo, where people can learn about the diversity of forests from Russia to Africa’s Congo Basin, all from the comfort of the Pacific Northwest. The center hosts events and gatherings throughout the year and fosters conversations that advance forest management practices all over the world. Taking time to learn how the Northwest’s forests are managed is important not just to foresters, but to all of us. Learn more.