The topic that we have been assigned is chapter twenty-three, The Forest Resources of Canada. This extensive chapter covers the many facts of Canadian forests, the types of trees and areas, the necessity of this industry and the methods of harvesting trees. This topic also includes, the different types of mills, the many threats to the forests, changes in the industry and three very controversial topics. The dangers and value of the forests are unknown to many, but are subjects of significant importance.
Forests cover forty-two percent of Canada’s total area, which is 4 187 820 squared kilometres. Canada, along with Brazil and Russia, has more forests than any other country in the world.
Canada’s forests consist mainly of two types of trees: coniferous and deciduous. Sixty-three percent of the forests contain coniferous trees, which are trees with cones and needles such as the pine and spruce. Deciduous trees lose their leaves each year and are mainly poplar and white birch. They cover twenty-two percent of Canada’s trees. The rest of the forests are made up of a variety of different species, which covers fifteen percent.
There are two areas of trees: commercial and non-commercial. Commercial forests are found in warm, wet areas where trees commonly grow rapidly. These areas are close to methods of transportation and are easily accessible by roads. They contain trees that are usually harvested unlike non-commercial forests. Commercial forests have been divided up into five forest regions, which are: boreal, taiga, west coast, montane and mixed.
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Non-commercial forests are unlikely to be cut down because they are unreachable since they are located in the northern parts of Canada. They often grow slowly and do not achieve their maximum growth because of low temperatures and low precipitation levels. To harvest them would be impractical, for the costs of travelling to remote areas would be expensive and a profit would not be earned for the trees may not be mature.
The forest industry is greatly relied on, by many Canadians. Approximately one in every sixteen jobs depend on it and it provides three hundred and sixty thousand direct jobs. If these forests were to ever vanish many Canadians would be in financial trouble and the unemployment rate would increase drastically.
Harvesting trees is one of the main processes in the forest industry. Clear-cutting is when loggers remove every tree and leave an empty area. This is the cheapest and easiest method, however is the most harmful to the environment. Shelterwood logging involves, clear-cutting only a mature forest that has never been cut down. Selective logging consists of cutting only specific trees of the desired size, type or quality.
Pulp and paper is highly used and is greater produced than lumber in all provinces except for British Columbia. Paper is made from cellulose fibres, which comes from wood pulp. Pulp and paper mills are large expensive factories, often costing millions of dollars to install. These plants are found in each of the provinces except in Prince Edward Island.
Lumber is widely used for so many items require it. British Columbia produces the highest amount, as it produces fifty percent of Canada’s entire lumber. Today, more efficient mills that reduce waste all across Canada are replacing old-fashioned mills.
There are many common threats to forests that we need to prevent in order to keep our forest alive and healthy. Acid precipitation is an environmental threat occurring in Eastern Canada caused by the emissions of polluting factories. Quebec City has dangerously been affected along with the coniferous trees from the southern boreal forests. These trees weaken and those that do not die continue growing slowly but never fully mature.
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Insects and diseases are commonly damaging Canada’s forest and are costing forest companies millions of dollars. The spruce budworm, tent caterpillar, and pine bark beetle are only few of the insects/creatures that are ruining and killing the forests. Also, cankers, which are open wounds on tree trunks and fungi, are helping to harm trees. The government is getting very discouraged with the loss of their money, the time put in, and the damage done to our trees.
Forest fires are beginning to be a dangerous threat to forests, for they occur so often. Approximately 9500 fires take place each year, killing three million hectares of trees. These fires occur by two ways: people and lightening. Lightening fires tend to burn out on their own, while people-created fires are usually stopped or contained. These fires are another way that our forests are being wasted instead of being used or preserved.
The British Columbia, provincial, government realized how many people depend on the forests of Canada and decided to make some changes. Now, an ecosystem approach must be used when planning any forest. Cultural connections, archaeologist sites, animal habitats, unique plants, and Aboriginals peoples must all be considered in the planning as well. A watershed, which is an area of high land that separates one drainage basin from another, must also be used in the planning. Hopefully these changes will improve the survival of trees and will make the citizens content.
The methods and aspects of forestry are very controversial topics. There are three subjects that are frequently discussed and debated by environmentalists and companies. The first subject is clear-cutting. The corporate viewpoint realizes the damages that can be done and try to apply the best care for as little change as possible. However, the environmentalists believe this method of harvesting removes ground cover, making the soil wash away into streams. Also, because of a deserted area, temperatures will change and disrupt the ecosystem and wildlife.
The next issue that is discussed is aerial spraying of pesticides. Companies say it is the fastest way to kill all pests before they continue further damage. It is also stated by companies, that the pesticides have a low toxic effect on wildlife for only a few applications are necessary. Many environmentalists disagree with all the facts companies say. They believe silviculture, which is the cultivating of forests, should be done to control pests, instead of spraying.
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Despite our short growing season, Canada is a big competitor among other countries with large forest industries. We have two main goals when growing and harvesting forests: to achieve sustained-yield management, which is, for every tree that is cut another must be planted and reach maturity, and to reduce costs. These two goals of the Canadian forestry must be kept, otherwise profits will decrease and the health of Canadian forests will deteriorate.
The Canadian forests are an important factor in the way our country operates. People need to realize their value and try to prevent further damage to them. These forests affect everyone’s life and our country would change dramatically if the disappeared.