PORT HAWKESBURY: A local woodlands conference was so popular, organizers had to turn people away.

Last week, the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre was the site for the “2017 Eastern Hardwood Conference: Exploring Hardwood Potential and Innovation,” hosted by the Nova Scotia Landowners and Forest Fibre Producers Association (NSLFFPA) and Cape Breton Privateland Partnership. The day-long conference featured talks from various shareholders in the industry on topics such as management and hardwood markets.

The 2017 Eastern Hardwood Conference: Exploring Hardwood Potential in Port Hawkesbury was sold out.

Kari Easthouse, a forester with the NSLFFPA, said the conference looked at how moving towards hardwood-based management would be a help to the environment and local woodlot owners.

“There is information about hardwood management, the products that can be produced, and the treatments required to achieve that,” he said.

“It’s specific to eastern Nova Scotia but we’ve got a few speakers talking about what’s being done in other areas of the country.”

Easthouse said a lot of local woodlot owners have properties with significant portions of hardwood or areas that could be hardwood and are currently softwood. The hope, he said, is to raise awareness about the potential of hardwood.

The Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre hosted the 2017 Eastern Hardwood Conference: Exploring Hardwood Potential and Innovation on March 2.

Adrianna Sullivan, an environmental technologist with the NSLFFPA, said the response to the conference was positive. Typically around 50-80 people show up to the annual conference but around 200 signed up this year, leading to organizers having to turn people away.

“We did a lot of it focused around hardwood management and I think everybody was quite interested,” said Sullivan, noting there will always be a market for hardwood.

“I’m happy people are interested in it. It’s always good to see people interested in hardwood management, especially eastern Nova Scotia, where we have an abundance of hardwood.”

Easthouse said the area can produce high quality hardwood products that can’t be grown in other parts of the world. He said this is an opportunity people should embrace.

“It’s a long-term investment and something that we’re hoping to start moving towards,” he said.

“It is a long-term project but we’re hopeful to get people interested in it and thinking about different ideas to move towards that.”

Port Hawkesbury Paper representative Andrew Fedora spoke about hardwood management during the Eastern Hardwood Conference last week.