Rural Forest Health Practitioners diagnose, treat and provide forestry prescriptions for rural trees and wooded stands.


Rural property owners as individuals, bear the financial burden of care for their own trees.  This is a sharp contrast to the urban forest which is largely managed by civic and municipal governments of major cities and towns. Accurate diagnosis is essential to formulate effective treatments - the rural forest ecosystem involves highly interdependent relationships within the rural environment. It takes more than  'just 5 minutes to look at a tree for me.'   Trees are social organisms and thrive on healthy relationships within forest communities.  A forest health practitioner must translate a complex 'environmental language' to 'understand the mysterious forest and determine the causes of the forest ailment.  Diagnostic skills involve  both   acquired knowledge  (from  academic study or traditional oral teaching) and  observational knowledge  acquired over years (often several decades) of personal work experience.  A forest health practictioner will often use diagnostic tools in the field. On occasion, identification of specific diseases or other factors may require specialized laboratory testing. A client may be advised to send samples to forestry laboratories in Ontario or British Colombia.


Restoration and maintainance of the rural forest ecosystem yields the most significant health improvements for rural trees and wooded stands. Corrective treatment steps can often be performed by rural property owners empowered with knowledge. They often want to know,   'what is the problem with my trees and how can I fix them?'  Rural property owners actively involved with  implementing corrective treatment steps are often rewarded with the most significant health improvements of their rural trees and wooded stands. Accurate diagnosis  combined with corrective treatments undertaken by the rural property owner, often reduces the need for professional treatments such as foliage sprays, or systemic trunk injections. If professional treatments are recommended,  the corrective steps may improve the treatment's effectiveness.


Rural vetrinarians serve a vital role within rural communities as medical consultants for animal health. Rural forest health practitioners provide a similar role within rural communities.  Just as vetrinary services are essential to the economic welfare of many rural communities, the value of services provided by rural forest health practitioners are similar. Both professions utilize a common medical model of diagnosis and treatment, provide prescriptions and educate  their rural clients - empowering them with knowledge to improve the health and vitality of non-human organisims. As well, the services provided by rural forest health practitioners have significant potential to support new industries and create sustainable economic growth for rural communities.