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UMFK to host "Changing Forestland Use and Ownership in Maine" conference

October 8, 2004

NR04196

The University of Maine at Fort Kent will be hosting an important conference entitled "Changing Forestland Use and Ownership in Maine" on Saturday, November 13, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the Nadeau Hall Teleconference Center.

Panelists from around the state, representing such diverse groups as The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine, RESTORE: The North Woods, Maine Forest Products Council, Irving Woodlands, Land for Maine's Future and The Nature Conservancy, as well as the town mangers for Millinocket and Greenville, will take part. The public is invited to attend and take part in question and answer sessions.

Recent years have seen traditional landowners such as timber companies, sell large tracks to development groups and wealthy individuals, or enter into conservation easements with environmental groups and state agencies.

Lands that had previously been open to the public for various uses may now have limited access. Sustainability and ecological concerns also come into play, as new owners formulate new priorities for the land base.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Lloyd Irland will open the conference. Irland has served as an economist with the Chicago Board of Trade and the United States Forest Service, and has worked as an assistant professor at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

In 1987, he founded The Irland Group, a forestry economics and marketing consulting firm in Augusta, Maine.

"In the past five years, Maine forest landownership has changed at a dramatic pace. I was also saying this five years ago, but the pace has increased far more than I dreamed possible," said Irland. "We can now see that the 20th century was a period of unusual stability in forest landownership in Maine. Understandably, many people are wondering what it all means."

For students at the university, this conference will be a great opportunity to interact and learn.

"Bringing many of the stakeholders of Maine's forest together should provide an excellent learning opportunity for students in both forestry and environmental studies," said Jeff Dubis, assistant professor of forestry at UMFK. "The rapidly changing ownership of Maine's forestland could potentially have a tremendous impact on their future careers as well as their ability to access forestland for recreation."

Funding support has been provided by the University of Maine System's Libra Professor program. The event is being sponsored by the UMFK forest technology and environmental studies programs.

"The intent of this conference is to make the public more aware of the underlying factors that have led to the recent changes in the ownership of Maine's forests and the future impact these changes may have on traditional uses including recreation, and timber harvesting," said Eno, , academic outreach coordinator.

The conference is free and open to the general public, including registered guides, municipal officials, outdoor enthusiasts and others interested in this important issue.

A request has been made to the Maine Board of Licensure of Foresters to offer educational credits for the session.

Pre-registration is required by October 29 as lunch will be provided. Walk-ins on the day of the conference are welcome as space allows, however late registrants cannot be guaranteed lunch.

For more information or to register, contact Eno at UMFK, 834-7835.