Bad forestry practices compound climate challenge

By Jamie Simpson, forester, woodlot owner and lawyer
Chronicle Herald
November 3, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada, Canada East

Jamie Simpson

John McPhee’s Oct. 28 article, “Climate change may endanger spruce, fir,” is an important story to tell. Yes, many of our trees will die as the climate changes because these trees are adapted to a more northern climate. But McPhee’s article is half of the story. Part II is the unfortunate reality that these vulnerable trees are unnaturally abundant in our forests because of our forestry (mis)management.  In a process sometimes called “borealization,” we have transformed much of our forestland into something more closely resembling the northern boreal forest. It’s not that balsam fir and white spruce wouldn’t naturally occur in the Maritimes. It’s just that these species would be much less common on our landscape in the absence of clearcutting and past land-clearing for agriculture. We have put our forests in an extremely vulnerable position.

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