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Industry Profile: Meet Jean-Pierre Martel

If you’ve worked in the Canadian forest industry, you probably know Jean-Pierre Martel. And chances are, Jean-Pierre knows you, too.

“I’ve always been a people-oriented type of a person.” he says. “I think in some cases, when talking to various groups, we set barriers when we don’t need to. I prefer to start where we agree and get to know each other, and then we go from there. That’s been my approach.”

Over the course of his career, Jean-Pierre has worked in nearly every province in Canada, giving him the perfect vantage for his new role as Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Forest Owners (CFFO). Located in Ottawa, the CFFO promotes the economic and social interests of Canadian private forest owners in sustainable management.

As important as a broad geographic perspective though, Jean-Pierre also recognizes the importance of those he represents in the CFFO – the 450,000 private forest landowners across Canada. “I think Canadians underestimate the importance of private forest land,” he says.

“Private forest landowners are important contributors on the conservation side, and these forests are managed to be the most productive forest lands that we have in this country,” Jean-Pierre says.  “Six percent of Canadian forests are privately owned, yet they provide 18% of the fiber supply. I don’t think people realize how much fibre comes from private lands.”

Jean-Pierre’s path to a career in forestry started when he was a boyscout and worked summers on his uncle’s farm in Quebec. When he was looking for career advice, a family friend and professor at Laval University convinced Jean-Pierre that forestry was a good fit, and Jean-Pierre eventually studied forest engineering at Laval University, followed by a Masters Degree in forest management.

When not advocating for the national voice of Canadian forest owners, Jean-Pierre Martel is an avid cyclist, cross country skier, and fisherman.

On graduation day, the same professor who had coached him into forestry, asked Jean-Pierre what he had learned during his studies. “I told him I learned about trees and soil science, and I learned about wildlife management and water management,” says Jean-Pierre.

“This professor kept asking me, ‘What else? What else did you learn?’ I told him I’d studied forest ecology and forestry operations, and silviculture, and he said, ‘The one thing you should never forget as a forester, is that we need to manage forests not only for the trees, but for the people.’ That always sticks in my mind and is something I bring to my role with the CFFO.”

Susannah Banks, CFFO Vice Chair, describes Jean-Pierre as someone who will work collaboratively to strengthen the Canadian forest sector from coast to coast. “Jean-Pierre’s ability to develop productive relationships will ensure CFFO’s voice is heard,” she says.

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Jean-Pierre Martel is the Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Forest Owners (CFFO), a national federation representing the united voice of 450,000 private forest land owners across Canada. www.forestowners.ca