Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Responsible Forestry

One of the things we talked about on our trip across Canada was forestry. Jeff and I are huge fans of trees. They are a natural part of our day-trips and even if we don't see any wildlife we enjoy the view. On our trip this summer we witnessed what we thought was a lot clear cutting (considering the small area we traveled compared to the entire area of the country).

Clear cutting is basically a bunch of men (and a few women) coming in to a forested area with large machinery and chopping down pretty much everything, in search of quality trees for lumbering.

The provinces of Canada supposedly have agreed to "sustainable forestry" (not taking out more than the area can provide) which obviously is great. But everywhere we saw clear cutting nothing was left behind but a mess. Piles of rotting trees, trees that had washed into water systems. One area we traveled through had rotting trees that were floating in the waterways. Bark sinking to the bottome and destroying yet another eco-system. In many places it was obviously more than a year old. Not only was it dishearting, it was disgusting to look at. It is also environmentally irresponsible.

Jeff and I talked about it again on the way home and we think there should be a team mentality involved. The foresters come in to make an assessment, the cutters come in to get the trees, followed by the cleaners, followed by the planters, followed by another assessment. One comes in as soon as the previous job is done and everyone's job is evaluated by the team after them. There needs to be more accountability in this industry.

Now I realize that some members of the Forestry industry are doing their part for the environment and that Forestry has come a long way over the last century but there are still a whole lot of trees being cut down and a whole lot of negligence going on.

I realize we use wood for a great many things. And I'd be the first to say how much I appreciate what foresters do for us but something has got to change. There's no reason for a mess such as this to be left behind. Unfortunately, I'm sure it comes down to costs and in someone's eyes it is cheaper to destroy an eco-system than it is to clean up after themselves.

But I'm just someone from the outside looking in and it is easy to judge.