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Forest resources department partners to host forest health conference


A forest scene showing trees stripped of vegetation. Damage caused by emerald ash borer (shown here) and other invasive pests is among the many topics to be addressed at the conference. Photo provided by Chris Asaro, Virginia Department of Forestry.

BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 13, 2012 – The Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals will host its 21st annual conference on Feb. 4 and 5, 2013, at the Inn at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. The conference is Virginia’s largest forum on forest health management issues, including forest ecology and emerging pests and diseases.

“This is the best locally relevant technical continuing education program I’ve participated in,” said Adam Downing, Virginia Cooperative Extension senior agent and a member of the conference planning committee. “There is something here for everyone, from urban and suburban tree care types, to rural field foresters and every tree and forest type person in between.”

The conference is open to anyone with an interest in tree or forest health issues — attendees typically include local, state, and federal officials; independent contractors; horticulture and forest industry representatives; and students. The Virginia Association of Forest Health Professionals is dedicated to developing and supplying education and training for natural resource programs.

Presentation topics will range from new insect pests like the brown marmorated stink bug, to the effects of climate change on invasive plants, vegetative management options, the allelopathy (chemical inhibition of one plant by another) of trees, and legal aspects of pesticide use. Speakers include faculty members from Virginia Tech and representatives from state and federal agencies.

Sponsors include Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment and its Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture; the Society of American Foresters; the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service; the Virginia Department of Forestry; Helicopter Applicators Inc.; Valent BioSciences Canada Ltd.; Provine Helicopters; Summit Helicopters Inc.; Fairfax County Urban Forest Management; and Crop Production Services–Timberland Division.

Register for the conference and find conference details online. The deadline for registration is Jan. 23, 2013.

The College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech, which consistently ranks among the top three programs of its kind in the nation, advances the science of sustainability. Programs prepare the future generation of leaders to address the complex natural resources issues facing the planet. World-class faculty lead transformational research that complements the student learning experience and impacts citizens and communities across the globe on sustainability issues, especially as they pertain to water, climate, fisheries, wildlife, forestry, sustainable biomaterials, ecosystems, and geography. As a land-grant university, Virginia Tech serves the Commonwealth of Virginia in teaching, research, and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

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