The 2017 Doug Little Memorial Lecture

Andy MacKinnon, retired RPBIO and RPF
Honorary Doctor of Science, Simon Fraser University
Forest Ecologist

Date:         Thursday, November 23, 2017
Time:         7:30 pm
Place:        Canfor Theatre (Room 6-213)
Andy MacKinnon is a forest ecologist who lives in Metchosin BC. Since December 2014 he has also served as a Councilor in Metchosin, and in spring 2017 he was the provinicial Green Party candidate in the riding of Esquimalt-Metchosin. He began his career in Prince George, where he worked as a research ecologist for the BC Forest Service from 1982-1988. Until his retirement in 2015, he worked for the BC Forest Service on and off for three decades, mostly on BC's coast, where he was responsible for ecosystem classification and mapping and a program of forest ecology research focused on old growth structure and composition, effects of climate change, and BC's native plants and fungi. Andy has also been involved in defining and implementing ecosystem-based management, in Haida Gwaii and the Great Bear Rainforest. He has co-taught rainforest ecology field courses in Bamfield and Tofino (for the University of Victoria) and Haida Gwaii (for UBC).
Andy is co-author of six best-selling books about plants of western North America. He's an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University, and a (retired) Professional Forester and Professional Biologist in BC. Andy was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science degree by Simon Fraser Universtiy in 2013. He enjoys drinking good whisky and playing mandolin.

Competition and Collaboration

When I began my career with the BC Forest Service, in the 1980s in Prince George, many of my research projects concerned competition between conifer crop seedlings and another plant species ('competition vegetation'). I was a partner in research trials looking at various methods - especially mechanical site preparation - for preparing sites for conifer regeneration, and for controlling this competing vegetation. Collaboration to study competition.
But even at the time, I was working with colleagues who were considering some of the potential positive influences of other plant (or even microbial) species on conifer survival and growth - projects such as white spruce regeneration under trembling aspen, and lodgepole pine growth with and without Sitka alder (whose roots host N-fixing bacteria).

My work in Prince George was primarily with plants. And for some in BC, I am perhaps best known for co-writing a series of plant guides for western North America. But my MSc was in Mycology - the study of an arguably much more interesting Kingdom of organisms, the fungi. And so I gradually found my way back to my 'roots' - or hyphae - and became involved with projects studying forests and fungi. Fungi are interesting, and plants are interesting. But the various and diverse collaborations among plants and fungi are perhaps the most interesting of all.

Most of this talk will be about those collaborations - and how studying them, and learning about them, has ultimately and fundamentally transformed my understanding about how forests work. And perhaps taught me just a little bit about the benefits of collaboration.

The Doug Little Memorial Lecture will be webcast via livestream.
The link for this webcast will be as follows:

History of the Doug Little Lecture Series

The Doug Little Memorial Lecture Series was initiated by the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environmental Studies at the University of Northern British Columbia in the Fall of 1996.  The annual event commemorates the late J.D. Little, former Senior Vice-President Forest Operations, Northwood Pulp and Timber Limited.  Doug was a founding supporter of UNBC and a recipient in 1986 of the Distinguished Forester Award from the Association of British Columbia Professional Foresters.  Doug Little's philosophy was that with appropriate forest management, the resources of the forest can be sustained for future generations. 

The lecture series is supported by an ​endowment form Northwood Pulp and Timber Limited now Canfor.

Archive of past Doug Little Lectures

2016:  Dr. Susan Wood-Bohm, Alberta Innovates - BIO Solutions
"BioCleantech: New Opportunities for Canada's Forest Sector"

2015:  No lecture

2014:  Dr. Richard H. Waring, Oregon State University
"Managing Forests That Won't Stand Still"

2013:  No lecture

2012:  Dr. Fred L. Bunnell, University of British Columbia
"Her Majesty, Social License and Astonishing Opportunity - Observations of a Bystander"

2011:  Dr. (M.A.) Peggy Smith, R.P.F., Lakehead University
"Giving Voice to First Nations' Views of Land Stewardship: Moving Beyond the Boreal Conservation vs. Development Debate"

2010:  Dr. Briony Penn, University of Victoria
"The Big Burn"

2009:  Dr. Robert Kozak, University of BC
"The Conservationist’s Axe and Other Thoughts About Forests and Communities  in Transition”

2008:  Dr. Winifred Kessler, US Forest Service, Alaska Region
"Revisiting Forestry's Crystal Ball"

2007: Dr. Christian Messier, Université du Québec à Montréal
"The Decline of the Forestry Profession: Causes and Solutions?"

2006: Dr. Ben Cashore, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
"Sustainable Forest Policy Development in the Global Era: What Role Ought British Columbia to Play?"

2005: Dr. David Lindenmayer, Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies at the Australian National University
“Salvage Harvesting and Environmental Responses – Australian Perspectives”

2004: Dr. Raymond Guries, Forest Ecology and Management, University of Wisconsin
“Forestry Education:  Meeting Expectations in a Changing World”

2003: Dr. Yvan Hardy, Chief Scientist for Natural Resources Canada
“Natural Resources Management:  Positioning Science a Step ahead of the Issues”

2002: Larry Pedersen, Chief Forester, Ministry of Forestry, BC
“Bob Dylan was right – The times they are a changin!”

2001: Dr. John Zasada, US Forest Service, Grand Rapids, Minnesota
“Goods from the woods, Alaska and Minnesota Style”

2000: Dr. Gordon Weetman, University of British Columbia
“Distinctly Canadian silviculture and forest management”

1999: Dr. Linda Coady, MacMillan Bloedel Ltd.
“What I saw of the revolution that you won’t find on anybody’s website”

1998:Dr. Jack Ward Thomas, University of Montana
“The worst of times, the best of times:  Forestry at the millennium”

1997: Dr. Gordon Baskerville, University of British Columbia
“Canadian Forestry in the rear view mirror”

1996: Dr. Rod Carrow, University of Toronto
“Canada’s quest for forest sustainability:  Options, obstacles and opportunities”