BY TONY KRYZANOWSKI
Up to $3.24 billion has been committed by the federal government for its Two Billion Tree Program which will operate for 10 years, from 2021 to 2031.
The primary goal of the program is to address climate change through carbon capture by incrementally planting and growing trees to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050.
Tree plantings that qualify include afforestation on lands that could naturally sustain productive forests but have not been forested for some time, reforestation to regenerate forest after natural disturbances like wildfire, and urban planting to beautify and help cool communities. Afforestation through planting of fast growing trees will play an important role toward this program’s success.
Trees are natural carbon sinks. A clonal hybrid poplar that measures 30 centimetres in diameter at about 1.3 metres from the ground and measuring about 27 metres tall represents about one cubic metre of wood and translates closely to one tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent of emission reduction. A properly established and managed high yield afforestation plantation can produce between 10 to 14 cubic metres of stem wood fibre per hectare per year till maturity at approximately 20 years old.
Other program goals include biodiversity through the restoration of habitat, contributing to greater well being by creating new jobs, increasing green spaces, providing sanctuary for spiritual meaning, regulating temperatures, improving mental health and also reducing wildfire risks and other environmental impacts. Trees can be planted in areas where there is no formal reforestation responsibility or where reforestation is not a normal business practice and in the case of afforestation, where trees have not existed for a significant amount of time but are site suitable.
The page opposite is a flow chart illustrating proper high yield afforestation planning, operational design, and development management practices, including tree clonal/species selection, site selection, and vegetation management.
The Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC) has created and validated this high yield afforestation plantation roadmap in partnership with industry, provinces, landowners, R & D organizations and service providers. It is supported by 20 years of research, development and knowledge transfer in Canada and is available to anyone interested in using this model to establish afforestation plantations.
The following case study shows in greater detail the necessary steps to establish a successful fast growing, high yield hybrid poplar or select clonal aspen plantation.
The first step is to select a suitable site and hybrid poplar or clonal aspen species depending on the local soil and bio geo-climatic conditions.
The second step is to select suitable planting stock, represented as cuttings or rooted cuttings. A cutting is one-year-old plant material harvested from the previous growing season that features dormant buds. It typically measures 0.3 to 1.5 centimetres in diameter and 15 to 25 centimetres long. Other potential plant material is greenhouse-grown rooted cuttings that have 30 to 40 centimetre tops and established root systems. They are grown from cuttings harvested from stool beds, established intentionally to produce growing stock.
The third step is the handling, conditioning and packaging of plant material. The cuttings or rooted cuttings are packaged to minimize moisture loss and frozen to maintain their dormant state in temperatures ranging from -3 to -4 degrees Celsius. They are packaged in plastic, placed in conventional tree nursery boxes, and stored in humidity-controlled freezers. They aren’t removed until approximately a week before planting to allow them to thaw and to be hydrated/watered.
The fourth phase is site preparation, which should be planned carefully to occur in advance of planting in a timely manner, considering the critical window for your planting schedule. Usually the soils on afforestation sites are moderately compact with little organic material. Site preparation to about 30 centimetres is required. Multiple passes are also required to allow for moisture penetration and finer surface mixing through discing or tillage to allow for a loose rooting environment for trees to establish quickly and capture the organic benefits of the annual vegetation growth usually associated with these sites.
The fifth phase is planting, using mechanical implements or hand planting, where a tree planter carries the cuttings/rooted cuttings in a moisture laden bag and plants it on a marked location. The location is established in advance by using a marking implement that maximizes the distribution efficiency of the trees and allows them to access equal amounts of site resources while leaving space for efficient post-planting vegetation management.
The sixth and final phase is vegetation management. The goal is to manage annual vegetation growth around each planting until the trees achieve crown closure in 3 to 5 years. The more effective the vegetation management, the better the chances of survival and the less time it takes for crown closure when vegetation management is no longer required. The preferred method is mechanical vegetation management using a small tool tractor equipped with a disc, tiller or cultivator.
On the Cover:
The payback in doing your due diligence on mobile equipment purchases can be rewarding in a number of ways, everything from more efficient operations to operator satisfaction—and the Weyerhaeuser sawmill in Princeton, B.C. is seeing that in spades these days, with their new Sennebogen 850E machine, the largest Sennebogen log loader operating in Western Canada (Cover photo by Paul MacDonald).
Log haul convoys being lined up …
Semi-autonomous log haul convoys—that could help address driver shortages—may be in the cards for northern Ontario, with a pilot project having been completed this past summer.
Conference coming up in April
Attendees to the Council of Forest Industries of B.C.’s (COFI) annual convention will have plenty to talk about at the first in-person convention to be held in three years, being held in Vancouver April 27 to 29.
Brothers in forestry...and sawmilling
Two brothers—both foresters—have built a hardwood sawmill chain that works out of the forests of Ontario’s well-known Cottage Country, north of Toronto.
Doing your due diligence on equipment purchases
The folks at a Weyerhaeuser sawmill in B.C. did their due diligence with their new log loader—and that homework is now paying off with a very productive new Sennebogen machine.
Turnkey timber technology
Georgia-Pacific Lumber has brought another new high-tech sawmill on stream, provided on a turnkey basis by B.C.-based sawmill equipment supplier, BID Group.
B.C. salvage project delivers solid results
A few different log harvesting and wood grinding outfits were involved in a recent wildfire salvage project—that delivered solid results—in the Clinton Community Forest in the B.C. Interior.
Included in this edition of The Edge, Canada’s leading publication on research in the forest industry, is a story from the Canadian Wood Fibre Centre (CWFC).
We take a look at the new features in log grapples.
The Last Word
The B.C. government is risking dimming the lights in the province’s forest industry with its recent decisions, including deferring harvesting of 2.6 million hectares of Crown-owned old growth forests.