The Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada (WPEFC) has appointed Stephen Joyce as their new seed orchard coordinator.
According to WPEFC, this continues the organization’s tradition of coordinating the establishment of Canada’s first disease-resistant whitebark pine seed orchards and clone bank.
The WPEFC was founded in 2009 and is dedicated to the conservation and stewardship of the endangered whitebark and limber pine ecosystems. These trees are considered keystone species and are of serious conservation concern, as they stabilize soils, moderate snowmelt and provide habitat to grizzlies, birds, squirrels and other animals.
The main threat to these trees is white pine blister rust disease, putting them in a precarious position.
WPEFC said with Joyce as seed orchard coordinator, they are poised to expand and establish new seed orchards in their fight to maintain the integrity of these unique ecosystems.
“We are so fortunate to have Stephen’s experience and expertise on the team, supporting the recovery of endangered whitebark and limber pine ecosystems,” said WPEFC president Randy Moody.
Joyce is a registered professional forester with nearly 40 years of experience working as a seed orchardist and forestry manager, who has worked with the BC government, industry and as a consultant in mixed-wood forestry, silviculture, research and seedling production.
He also has experience managing seed orchards for Western Forest Products and the BC Forest Improvement and Research Management (FIRM).
Joyce has worked with whitebark pine for the past five years and helped establish the first BC whitebark pine seed orchard in Prince George, B.C., alongside WPEFC in 2021.
He recently retired from his role as Manager of Seed Production for FIRM and in his downtime enjoys racing in Masters’ track and field, hiking, cross-country skiing or gardening.