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stavrosthewonderchicken's home is dying
July 9, 2008 7:05 AM   Subscribe

Canadian expatriate (and Metafilter member) stavrosthewonderchicken has a detailed and depressing look at the impact of the mountain pine beetle in Northern British Columbia, where a perfect storm of "forest fire suppression, clearcutting (and subsequent replanting), [and] global warming" has led to the destruction of over 130,000 square kilometers of forest.
posted by gen (51 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sometimes I wish the planet would just hurry the fuck up and figure out a way to kill us.
posted by Shepherd at 7:40 AM on July 9, 2008


That was news---there was a link in that post to a CBC article stating that the pine beetle had started feeding off of spruce trees. That's no good.
posted by vernondalhart at 7:41 AM on July 9, 2008


Shepherd: Sometimes I wish the planet would just hurry the fuck up and figure out a way to kill us.

I think homo sapiens is doing a lot better at figuring out a way to kill us than the planet ever did.
posted by gen at 7:52 AM on July 9, 2008


The Southern Pine Beetle is a real problem in the southeast US. Much as in British Columbia, a major factor in its rise as a pest has been clearcutting; in this case the wholesale destruction of biodiverse Longleaf Pine forests and their replacement with acre upon acre of fast-growing yellow pine. Although forestry companies like to brag about how many trees they replace for each one they cut, nothing but yellow pine in straight rows does not constitute a forest any more than a wheat field constitutes a prairie. An excellent book about the disappearing Longleaf ecosystem as well as a memoir of growing up in the south of the 1960s is Janisse Ray's Ecology of a Cracker Childhood.
posted by TedW at 7:56 AM on July 9, 2008


I posted this in an Ask.Me thread awhile back: A list of about 4000 jobs that are being cut because of bad lumber prices and the pine beetle situation.

In an area that only has 100K people, that's an insane job loss percentage, especially given that those are the good, high-paying, union jobs.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:02 AM on July 9, 2008


Wow--scroll around on the Google map of the area to see how widespread the clearcutting is.
posted by MrMoonPie at 8:19 AM on July 9, 2008


All monocroppers come to a realization eventually that monocropping is stupid. What is especially stupid is that we never seem to learn our lesson from disaster to disaster, potato blight to boll weavil, dutch elm to mountain pine, we just keep planting the same things over and over until things go horribly wrong.
posted by Pollomacho at 8:39 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow--scroll around on the Google map of the area to see how widespread the clearcutting is.

Pretty much the whole of BC looks like that (though the clearcuts do tend to get a bit smaller as you go farther south). While it looks like BC is mostly wilderness if you drive along the highway, more than a quarter of the total land area of the province is dedicated to forestry.
posted by ssg at 8:45 AM on July 9, 2008


Good post.

I was afraid in a weirdly longing way of the nukes we assumed would soon be sailing along gravity's rainbow, even if I was confident that up there in the North we'd be relatively unscathed by the coming armageddon. I loved the sulphurous mineral rich town water that stained porcelain orange. I loved the thunderstorms that rolled in from the west over the 60 kilometre expanse of the lake, the bloodsplash summer forest fire sunsets, the northern lights you could almost hear, the way the hip-deep powdery snow creaked and puffed when the temperature got down to 40 below zero and your eyelashes began to freeze together.

I have two things to say about that bit I excerpted: 1) stavros is a hell of a writer, and 2) I'll bet he chose "40 below zero" with malice aforethought, so that in case anyone was incautious enough to say "Fahrenheit or Celsius?" he could snap "At forty below, it's the same, doofus!"
posted by languagehat at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


This sort of story explains my pessimism about the world. Optimism about our future is a function of well-to-do people who live in suburbs and the carefully antiseptic "upscale" sections of cities. Living in a rural area, or a "blighted" urban area, many more of the raw spots are visible.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:59 AM on July 9, 2008


I have two things to say about that bit I excerpted: 1) stavros is a hell of a writer, and 2) I'll bet he chose "40 below zero" with malice aforethought, so that in case anyone was incautious enough to say "Fahrenheit or Celsius?" he could snap "At forty below, it's the same, doofus!"

I agree wholeheartedly with your first point, lh, but I doubt there's anything quite so devious as your second point at work. It's simply the case that 40 below is when your eyelashes start freezing up. Far as I recall, it just doesn't happen at -35 or so, but once it tips past -40, everything starts frosting up.

In a vaguely related story, on the local radio station in Cold Lake, Alberta (aptly named town, at roughly the same latitude as stav's childhood home), they would announce how long it took exposed flesh to freeze each morning during particularly cold snaps. Nothing like that groggy feeling in the midst of a "day" that gave you all of about six hours of thin light between sunrise and sunset, the morning sun still just a rumour at 8am as you ate your breakfast, learning that it was a mere 90 seconds of your tuque riding up on your ears without you noticing between you and severe frostbite. We trudged to school mummified. Uphill both ways, of course, in snowdrifts higher than a polar bear's tuckus. Amazing thing was how little it bothered us at ten years old; hell, we'd still play evening shinny until it was well into the negative-thirties.
posted by gompa at 9:11 AM on July 9, 2008


Optimism about our future is a function of well-to-do people who live in suburbs

Really? So now only rich suburbanites can be optimists. Interesting. Someone better tell everyone else to stop caring and to not even bother to try to fix anything. It's all fucked unless you're rich. Hey all you poor optimists...get rich or get cynical!
posted by spicynuts at 9:25 AM on July 9, 2008


Pine beetles==>fires==>FIRE MORELS. One reason to love pine beetles.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 9:25 AM on July 9, 2008


HOLY FUCKING SERIOUSTATO!
posted by eurasian at 9:37 AM on July 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


Good job, stavros. Perhaps a counterpoint to pious North American hand-wringing about South American clear cutting?
posted by Cranberry at 10:18 AM on July 9, 2008


spicynuts, the poor can do very little to affect the trajectory of the world, and most of them recognize that. It boils down to whether or not a person sees the world as trending in a bad direction, and if you live outside the suburbs or particularly nice sections of urbs, it's unlikely that the trajectory seems positive.

It's not a question of not caring, it's a question of understanding that you are an ant trying to push a miller's wheel.
posted by sonic meat machine at 10:31 AM on July 9, 2008


40 below is where the tail end of my braided hair, which was tucked under my chin, simply froze and broke off. Actually, Margaret Laurence has a passage in The Diviners (I think) about how 40 below is a bit of a magic number in Canadian mythology, used to evoke the harshness of the Northern winter.

You have to drive through the forests affected by the pine beetle to really appreciate the damage. It's horrific. It looks like the end of the world.
posted by jokeefe at 11:17 AM on July 9, 2008


There was a fantastic article on the same issue in the Walrus a couple years ago. Well worth reading.
posted by arto at 11:20 AM on July 9, 2008


spicynuts, the poor can do very little to affect the trajectory of the world, and most of them recognize that.

This statement is ridiculous. We had a few revolutions in the world you might have heard of. The poor could do plenty as they outnumber the rich. The fact that they do not do anything has nothing to do with optimism or pessimism. There are entire post graduate degrees and manifestos on why they do not do anything, including theories on ownership of media, lack of access to education, etc etc etc. But optimism vs. pessimism is a ludicrously simplistic take on the subject.

and if you live outside the suburbs or particularly nice sections of urbs, it's unlikely that the trajectory seems positive.

I would like to see your cites to the sociological and other studies you reviewed to come to this conclusion. You think that every rich person in the burbs and in Greenwhich Village thinks the world is trending positively? What percentage of po' folk think the world is trending negatively as opposed to thinking it's the same it's always been?
posted by spicynuts at 11:21 AM on July 9, 2008


Russian log export taxes + declining log supply from Western Canada = Time to get long timber
posted by Kwantsar at 11:52 AM on July 9, 2008


You have to drive through the forests affected by the pine beetle to really appreciate the damage. It's horrific. It looks like the end of the world.

Yes. It's even worse for someone like myself who only gets back there every few years, though there's still a lot of beauty up there.

Back in the 70s & 80s in the Fort, 40 below was the line between our normal winters and the really cold ones. Now it comes every few years, for a day or two.

I used to think of the north central BC plateau as trees and lakes. I come from the land of trees and lakes. Now I'm not so sure what to think.

Stav says it well:

"The forests will come back. ... No matter how it all plays out, a lot of people will be hurt in the process. It takes a lot of good to outweigh the pain that the end of a way of life brings.

It's happening all over the world. They say change is good. They say a lot of stuff.
"
posted by Bearman at 12:02 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I cave, spicynuts. I have no studies to back me up, just my own interpretation of what happens in the world.

I'll be sure to wait ten years for the sociology articles to be published next time I am trying to interpret current events.
posted by sonic meat machine at 12:14 PM on July 9, 2008


The pine beetle situation is pretty goddamn dire in Colorado too, and it's still getting worse exponentially. Millions of acres of standing dead trees blanketing entire mountains. You can hike to the top of a mountain vista and nearly every tree in sight, to the horizon, will be dead, brown, and drying out.

My family there has had to cut down every single tree on their property, save a small cluster of Aspen. They're cutting down dead trees and planting new ones as fast as they can (the beetles only go after mature pines), but they're fighting the tide.

Within a few years, every older pine (basically every non-aspen tree) in Rocky Mountain National Park will be dead. The whole front range will be dead, right up to the suburban developments.

It will all dry out. It will all burn.

It's enough to drive me to tears.
posted by blasdelf at 12:26 PM on July 9, 2008


From the Walrus article:
BC’s mountain pine beetles have thus far nested in an area nearly twice the size of the United Kingdom, killing some 500 million cubic metres of lodgepole pine — enough timber to build a modest-sized house for every person in Western Canada. The BC Forest Service estimates that 90 percent of the province’s pine trees could die by 2016. ... [I]t is undeniably the case that the bugs, which have been around for two thousand years, are normally held in check by persistently cold winters, and persistently cold winters are a thing of the past.
Yep, global warming, a plot by environmentalists to destroy capitalism, blah blah blah. This is such a crisis it's difficult to even think about it, sometimes.
posted by jokeefe at 1:27 PM on July 9, 2008


The economist had an article about this last week. I found the most worrisome aspect the bit about how the increased temperatures and larger persistent beetle populations combined in a wind driven 300k/year exodus to the east. In the east, there are pine trees that aren't used to resisting the attack of the wee beetles. It seems unlikely that forest can really be saved, unless aggressive control measures are taken on any outbreak between the two.

Would the green contingent support large scale clearcuts and burns to stop the beetles invading Canada's east?
posted by enkiwa at 2:11 PM on July 9, 2008


Would the green contingent support large scale clearcuts and burns to stop the beetles invading Canada's east?

How about when they do clearcut and replant (which they are doing anyway), they mix the type of trees they plant rather than planting row after row after row of the same seedling, bred on the same farm from the same parent trees? That way, when the beetles do come (which they naturally will), they take out a clump here and a clump there rather than the entire range.
posted by Pollomacho at 2:21 PM on July 9, 2008


Would the green contingent support large scale clearcuts and burns to stop the beetles invading Canada's east?

This was already tried last year on the Alberta/BC border-- cutting infected trees to try and create a kind of firebreak for the beetles. As you can see from the articles linked here, it didn't work too well.
posted by jokeefe at 3:49 PM on July 9, 2008


As an aside, one has to commend the eco-terrorists for saving what is the last intact valley bottom old-growth on the BC coast, the Upper Elaho. It contains, among other things, the oldest extant stand of Douglas-Fir, at 1300 years old, and the southernmost remnant of coastal grizzly bear habitat. Looking at it on Google Maps, it's the dark patch in the middle of the screen, with clearcut scars in the river valleys to the north and south.

Interfor, the former owner of "Tree Farm License 38," which is essentially the Elaho watershed, was initially pushing a "compromise" which would have seen the Clendinning Valley protected, and the rest stripped bare. Aside from being only a fraction of the size, the Clendenning Valley doesn't even really have much in the way of big trees, since it lacks much of a valley bottom, and the giant avalanches that roar though it in the winter keeps much of it free of anything but shrubs and saplings.

The pictures I linked to are from this interesting account of a trip through the area.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 4:07 PM on July 9, 2008


Sorry to read that, stav. One thinks of Canada as pristine, a lovely wilderness without the problems we hear about constantly in my part of the world. Here in California, we worry about sudden oak death and things that attack the grape crops, but for all I know, we have pine beetles, too.
posted by Lynsey at 4:44 PM on July 9, 2008


Yes, Lynsey, we have the Bark Beetle hard at work in SoCal forests.
posted by buggzzee23 at 4:55 PM on July 9, 2008


Wow, thanks for the linkage, gen. I sure as heck didn't think I'd end up on the blue!

As I get older, like most folks, I begin to feel more nostalgic about the places where I grew up. It tears me up that the place I spend most of my time growing up is dying, but I do think that long term, it may be for the best.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:05 PM on July 9, 2008


Wow--scroll around on the Google map of the area to see how widespread the clearcutting is.

This can be somewhat deceiving. One of the images Greenpeace uses to illustrate the horrors of clear-cutting is, in fact, a natural blowdown. A freak wind in the 1970s blew down every tree in a long north-south valley: so many that it is (was?) easily seen from space.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:08 PM on July 9, 2008


I have two things to say about that bit I excerpted: 1) stavros is a hell of a writer, and 2) I'll bet he chose "40 below zero" with malice aforethought, so that in case anyone was incautious enough to say "Fahrenheit or Celsius?" he could snap "At forty below, it's the same, doofus!"

Thanks, LH. You are kind. And you're right about the 40 below part. Also, like the Bearman said (he comes from my hometown and we've known each other more than 30 years now), that was always kind of the demarcation point between it's pretty damn cold and it's really fucking cold.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:10 PM on July 9, 2008


By the by, you can thank clear-cutting for your cheap wood-framed homes and cheap paper. Everyone loves to bitch about clear-cuts, but everyone loves how cheap wood products are.

This is not to say that I'm a fan of clear-cuts, but I do recognize their necessity. What's needed is not a stop to clear-cutting, but more intelligent design and placement of clear-cuts; and far better reforestation practices.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:15 PM on July 9, 2008


I pretty much agree, fff, as I tried to make clear in my post. I've nothing against the forestry industry per se, but I do have a problem with the lack of stewardship of the resources, and as was mentioned upthread, the monoculture reforestation practices that have helped things reach these dire straits.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:18 PM on July 9, 2008


I don't think monoculture is to blame in this instance. The beetle is chasing mature forest, forest that was not planted by humans. Further, much of North BC is very nearly monoculture: the forests tend to be mainly one type of tree or another for tens of thousands of acres.

If there is a beef to be made about clear-cutting, it's that it's allowed to take place on unstable slopes and too close to streams; and there ought to be blowdown-resistant groves left to re-seed the area. I also suspect slash pile burning is a mistake; it might be better to mulch the waste as fertilizer (too, salvage operators ought to have dibs on reclaiming the slash the big companies leave behind.)

There was a time cut blocks did not make allowance for the need for covered passage for forest animals; I believe they're now designed to make it possible for deer, bear, and the like to keep on truckin' through the forests by leaving bands of shelter between blocks.

It's all moot now, though, because this is almost certainly the summer that BC burns to the ground. The forests up north are dead red as far as the eye can see: it's all kindling waiting for a lightening strike. Forestry as we know it is dead in this province.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:42 PM on July 9, 2008


If there is a beef to be made about clear-cutting, it's that it's allowed to take place on unstable slopes and too close to streams

Yeah, that's one thing my mom mentioned last time I spoke to her -- some of the lakes in the area around Fort Saint James are 6 feet or more higher than they have been in years past this season, and apparently the reason is to a large extent traceable to clearcuts in watersheds meaning that runoff isn't captured, but runs straight into the streams and rivers, taking soil with it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:51 PM on July 9, 2008


By the by, you can thank clear-cutting for your cheap wood-framed homes and cheap paper. Everyone loves to bitch about clear-cuts, but everyone loves how cheap wood products are.

Not really. People want wood that they think is harvested sustainably and are willing to pay for it. Witness the success of programs like the Forest Stewardship Council certification. Unfortunately, these programs don't go nearly far enough, but at least there is some pressure there.

Wow--scroll around on the Google map of the area to see how widespread the clearcutting is.

This can be somewhat deceiving. One of the images Greenpeace uses to illustrate the horrors of clear-cutting is, in fact, a natural blowdown. A freak wind in the 1970s blew down every tree in a long north-south valley: so many that it is (was?) easily seen from space.


Sure, some areas have blowdown that is later harvested, but that's pretty rare compared to normal clearcuts. That's what the landscape looks like and the reason for that is almost always logging. I don't think Greenpeace is editing Google Maps to make it look like there are more clearcuts.
posted by ssg at 12:26 PM on July 10, 2008


fivefreshfish: this is almost certainly the summer that BC burns to the ground.
Maybe not. It was a wet, late spring and summer has been wet, too. But next year..?

Forestry as we know it is dead in this province.
True, that.
posted by CCBC at 2:53 PM on July 10, 2008


Forestry as we know it is dead in this province.
True, that.


I don't really understand this sentiment. Yes, we probably aren't going to be harvesting a lot of pine in the medium-term, but there are many other species in BC (cedar, hemlock, fir, spruce, larch, etc.). Will the BC forest industry be smaller? Yes. Will some areas no longer have commercial harvesting? Sure. Significantly different otherwise? I hope that some lessons about monoculture planting are reinforced, but otherwise, I'd be pretty surprised if things aren't business as usual.
posted by ssg at 3:31 PM on July 10, 2008


ssg: I don't think you understand just how immense the fires will be.
posted by blasdelf at 4:18 PM on July 10, 2008


ssg doesn't understand much about lumber. Clearcuts are a sustainable growth practice: they're all replanted and maintained.

Where the savings come from clearcutting is that it's dead easy and damn quick. Eliminating clearcutting as a harvesting method means going to selective logging. Selective logging means you have to use chainsaws instead of harvesting machines; means you have to drag logs out of the forest instead of stack-and-rack; means using smaller machines; etcetera.

The consumer market is not willing to bear the cost of selective logging. No one wants to pay an extra $20k+ for their home construction.

He also completely failed to grasp what I said about the Greenpeace photo of the visible-from-space "clearcut," which was not a clearcut in the least, but a freak blowdown in a valley to the West of Prince George during the 1970s. It was several hundred kilometers wide and incredibly destructive... and not at all man-made.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:42 PM on July 10, 2008


ssg is also clueless about "monoculture planting." Massive areas of BCs forests are naturally monoculture. Trees don't typically mingle.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:44 PM on July 10, 2008


five fresh fish, I'm not really sure why you have such an axe to grind. I get it that you don't like environmentalists for whatever reason, but I don't think making up facts is going to help you here.

Eliminating clearcutting as a harvesting method means going to selective logging. Selective logging means you have to use chainsaws instead of harvesting machines;

Have you ever been near a real selective logging operation? Selective logging can be done and is done in BC with machinery, not chainsaws.

No one wants to pay an extra $20k+ for their home construction.

You just made that number up and obviously have no idea what the difference in cost would be.

Massive areas of BCs forests are naturally monoculture. Trees don't typically mingle.

Some areas tend to single-species stands, some don't. I never said anything to the contrary. Planting single-species stands in areas that naturally have multi-species stands is not the best thing ecologically and, it would seem, economically in the long run.

He also completely failed to grasp what I said about the Greenpeace photo of the visible-from-space "clearcut," which was not a clearcut in the least, but a freak blowdown in a valley to the West of Prince George during the 1970s. It was several hundred kilometers wide and incredibly destructive... and not at all man-made.

When we are talking about Northern BC as a region and the area around Fort Saint James in particular, I don't think it helps much to harp on and on about one particular incident from many years ago. The existence of the Bowron whatever-you-want-to-call-it does not somehow disprove the observation that there are many clearcuts in Northern BC.

Finally, if you want to disagree with me, you can address me directly. This isn't politics and there is no need for your "ssg is this, that, and the other thing" approach.
posted by ssg at 5:43 PM on July 10, 2008


Forestry as we know it is dead in this province.

Clearcutting anfd monocropping in your replant is hardly forestry. Lumbering, sure. Forestry, no.

five fresh fish, I'm not really sure why you have such an axe to grind.

Clearly because he's a lumberjack, silly!

ssg is also clueless about "monoculture planting." Massive areas of BCs forests are naturally monoculture. Trees don't typically mingle.

It is true that old growth forrests tend to be of a single or few species, but the process prior to that is full of mixed trees. Fields give way to edge trees, edge to the climbers until eventually you get the old mighty massive trees with a spread canopy and a nearly bare floor.

Also the kind of monocropping they do in poorly managed lumbering is to replant vast, strait rows of plants that are all bred from a handful of parents at a tree farm. When a disease comes in it moves right up and down the rows and wipes out the whole lot for miles. In some places the trees are replanted so close to one another that their roots intermingle and the vector for the disease doesn't even have to travel from one tree to another, the trees infect each other underground.
posted by Pollomacho at 6:20 PM on July 10, 2008


The genetic variation in BC's replanted areas is about the same as that found in natural forest. The province has genetic diversity standards that the forestry companies are required to meet.

A third of BCs forests are single species. After replanting, these areas are less of a monoculture, because (a) competing species have a chance to set root; (b) the replantation effort usually mixes in a percentage of other species to encourage forest health.

Straight-row planting isn't really a big concern in BC: there's a lot of very mountainous and rocky terrain, and while the tree planters are trying to walk from point A to point B, the practicality of it is fairly diminished. Not only is their path going to shift as they work their way around natural obstacles, they need to find suitable planting locations. It's certainly not as random as natural forest, but most of the replanted forests don't look as if they were laid down using a straightedge.

Clearcut practices three decades ago were pretty bad. These days, they're pretty good. The cut block size has been markedly reduced, and there is much more consideration given for preservation of reseeding stands, animal sanctuary, and reducing post-logging blowdown. Where we continue to fail is in preserving riparian (stream) environments: cutting is allowed much too close to streams and little thought seems to be given regarding the post-logging stability of steep slopes.

Selective logging is not a panacea. It disturbs the soil more frequently, because the machines return every to harvest more trees, while a clearcut is undisturbed for about a century. Selective logging is far more dangerous for the loggers. It requires much more road construction, which is terribly destructive to the soil. Blowdown risks are increased. And because the best trees are removed, the genetic diversity of the forest is reduced and what's left are crappy genetics; the forest that grows from that seed is going to be shite.

Best practices are very likely to be in the middle: clear cutting, so as to reduce soil disturbance, road construction, and costs, and to increase genetic quality through replanting; with select stands of high-quality trees left undisturbed to provide animal shelter and natural reseeding; and preservation of wildlife corridors and better consideration for riparian and steep slope terrain.

BC has, in the past, had horrifically poor forestry practices. It has improved a lot over the past decade or two, and continues to improve (ignoring the temporary setback of the current provincial government). The forest companies have come to realize they need to do long-term planning if they expect to be in business a hundred years from now: they know it's in their own best interests to ensure the forests remain productive. And public pressure has increased a lot, providing further incentive for both the government and the forest companies to use better practices.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 PM on July 10, 2008


Forestry as we know it is dead in this province.
True, that.

ssg: I don't really understand this sentiment.


It's fact, not sentiment. The pine beetle, fires, and so on are part of the equation, but not all of it. I have lived in the West Kootenay for 35 years. When I first came here, there were many small mills and small communities that depended on them. The small mill has gone. The forest industry has "rationalized" production and huge factory mills (such as those around Vancouver) are the new reality. The big mills are more automated, hire fewer people, and draw timber from all over the province. In addition, Free Trade has come to mean the shipping of raw logs (and jobs) across the border. The small town whose mill has been rationalized out of existence will die. That's one part of the human picture. Here's another: the IWA, at one point the biggest and most important union in BC, no longer exists. What unionized forest workers remain are organized by Steel. But mostly the big forest corporations contract out to small, unorganized companies whose highball tactics have led to a terrible death toll among fallers and other workers. So, ssg, the fact is that forestry, as we have known it, is dead in this province.

Then, there is this: in my area the climax growth is spruce but the mean temperature in the Columbia Valley has climbed 3 degrees Celsius since 1945. It's getting too warm for spruce. The new climax growth will probably be cedar in the wet belt and, in the dry areas, pine. But even assuming spruce will be replaced by marketable timber like cedar ignores the fact that these forests grow slowly -- no three-to-six-year turnarounds like in Georgia, here it's fifteen to twenty. So, it takes a while for one ecosystem to replace another. Maybe the huge fires that are expected will accelerate that process. Maybe we should all be hoping for more fires. I don't know, maybe you just meant to say that things change but life goes on; that's pretty much what Stavros said, too. Maybe all this pain is for the best in the long run, but right now it just hurts like a bitch.
posted by CCBC at 11:47 PM on July 10, 2008


Sorry, I should have said 1.5 degress C. I tried to shift to Fahrenheit and... forget it.
posted by CCBC at 12:02 AM on July 11, 2008


Shipping raw logs is the stupidest thing we've ever done to forestry in this province. Absolutely criminal practice, that.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:32 AM on July 11, 2008


Forestry as we know it is dead in this province

So, ssg, the fact is that forestry, as we have known it, is dead in this province.

I think that's where the disagreement comes from here. Those two statements are completely different. One is about forestry "as we know" it, which I would take to mean forestry in the recent past and the other is about "as we have known it", which you take to mean thirty years ago. Different questions, different answers.

I'm just over the mountains from you, CCBC, and I fully realise that the forest industry is changing in the area. I'm just not so sure that the practise of forestry, in broad strokes, is all that different now than it was 10 years ago. Mills have closed and will continue to close, there are fewer jobs, and so on, but trees continue to be cut, hauled, (mostly) sawn, and pulped.

I was talking to a forester friend a while ago and he was convinced the economic outlook was good in the long term for his company once the glut of beetle wood on the market dries up. They'll lose a lot of pine too, but they have other species to harvest.
posted by ssg at 9:40 AM on July 11, 2008


I know you're in Kimberley, ssg, and I'm glad you're aware. Not going to get into word issues on this. I'm happy your forester friend thinks the "glut of beetle wood" will dry up.
posted by CCBC at 12:54 PM on July 11, 2008


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