We have done a great deal of research to try and get the principles of assisted migration correct. Luckily, we were able to contact some of the authors of the research papers we used. Generally, they all agreed we had the right data. Some were glad to see their research being implemented and some were much more cautious.
We wanted input from the MNRF about our program. In a nut shell, the MNRF is focusing on updating the seed zones and in the future they may be able to deal more directly with assisted migration.
For us, Phase 1, has been to get articles and information available and getting a conversation going. We need to have all industry and government talking. And we need to keep talking. This is not an easily resolved issue nor is it a static program. As climate changes we must reevaluate our targets and watch how our transplanted forests respond.
We will be starting Phase II, this spring, where we will vastly expand our seed collection sites. We need to start growing more southerly originated stock in order to start blending provenances.
We have also created genetic maps for our clients to keep track of seed sources used. In every planting we want to create the broadest genetic base possible. Irregardless of assisted migration, the key to any resilient forest or small planting is genetic diversity.
We will gladly dialogue with all interested parties and government and update our program accordingly.
This is just the beginning…we are going to have so much fun!