Steve Luchkow

Steve graduated from the U of A in 1977 with a BSc in Forestry and has spent the last 30 years working in Northern Alberta - 11 years with Alberta Forest Service at a variety of locations and 19 with Daishowa-Marubeni International Ltd. (previously Daishowa Canada Company Ltd.), located north of the town of Peace River.

Steve graduated in a time when the forest sector in Alberta started to flourish. This growth brought with it many opportunities and challenges. He had great fortune to be exposed to all aspects of Forest Management and Operations during his career. Steve has also had the opportunity to influence many projects and programs. The success of projects like Sustainable Forest Management Network Centre of Excellence (SFM NCE), Forest Resource Improvement Program, Mixedwood Management Association, Western Boreal Aspen Corporation and Ecosystem Management by Emulating Natural Disturbance, to name a few, far outweighs the failures he has experienced.

When Steve reflects back, he sees in every case they were team efforts. Working in a team was something he learned at an early age through sports and exposure to some really good mentors of the team approach. He continues to be amazed by what can be accomplished when Industry, Government and Academia are pulling in the same direction. Steve enjoyed the Operations end of the business but finds that it’s the Forest Management work really gets his juices flowing. He has always liked the challenge of managing without complete knowledge and the intrigue involved in seeing whether things turned out the way they were envisioned.

One of the highlights for Steve was involvement in Daishowa Canada’s green field pulp mill at Peace River. This was the first hardwood pulp mill in the province. He found the building, the staff, plans and programs associated with the company’s Forest Management Agreement exciting and rewarding. It was a unique opportunity to start with a clean slate and to apply the knowledge and experience gained to that point in his career.

Steve has had opportunity to work with some good people in industry, government and academia; people who are open minded, committed and truly interested in doing good forest management. He has always viewed the practice of forestry as the application of art and science. Even though Steve says he would have preferred clear, scientifically defensible direction and practices, forestry is a complex system, one that may never be understood completely; this is what makes the work of a Forester so interesting, challenging and rewarding.

Steve laments the current downturn in the lumber and panel board sectors of the forestry industry and the trend that sees support for programs developed in the good years decline drastically during the bad times. This can be very frustrating for a Forester and he hopes that something can be done in the future to ensure that these long term programs can be sustained in both good and bad times. However, he has thoroughly enjoyed the last 30 years in forestry and would not hesitate to encourage others to take up the profession – there will be many new challenges and opportunities as this sector and forest management evolves and as society’s needs change in Alberta.

Added 14 October 2010