Forestry Friday … Britain’s New Forest

https://www.zmescience.com/science/northern-forest-britain-09423432/

I found this to be an interesting story on plans to reestablish forests in Northern Britain. It’s a noble goal to be sure. The goal is to plant 62,000 acres back to forest with 50,000,000 trees.  The cost is expected to be $690 million. That’s where I start to cringe.

When comparing projects done in California by private timber companies doing wildfire restoration I think it could be done better in Britain. We would use about 20,000,000 trees to do the same size area. With soil site preparation, tree planting and initial herbicide treatment to control the weeds for a year or two, our reforestation cost would be about $25,000,000 for 62,000 acres. Now, if they were to plant the trees in Britain at a 12’x12’ spacing like we would here, they could cover 165,000 acres.  Our costs here would be approximately $65,000,000. Plus, planting the trees as close together as they propose, about 7’x7’ will require the trees be thinned within a few short years at substantial expense. Otherwise, the trees become overly crowded and stressed.

This doesn’t sound like forestry, because it really has a price tag for landscaping. I believe it’s a worthy project, but can be done better. I realize our infrastructure for these types of projects is different and cheaper, but that is still a huge cost difference. I also know that many American foresters outside of California are thinking my cost estimates are too high. That’s California.  My suggestion is to draft some good Canadian reforestation foresters to come over and lend a hand.

https://www.zmescience.com/science/northern-forest-britain-09423432/

Forestry Friday … Of Trees and Dogs

When I was a reforestation forester, the district I worked on had about 2,600 acres burn in the Gun II Fire. The fire burned over 60,000 acres in total. It was my responsibility to implement the reforestation on our 2,600 acres.

Tree planting, wildfire, fire restoration

Planting trees in the Gun II Burn.

As an artist, I paint on a small canvas. As a forester, I paint on a big one. After a large wildfire, the landscape canvas can be huge. Reforestation on this scale is a lot of work.  It’s very gratifying knowing I had a hand in starting this new forest. Each year when I return, the trees are a little bigger. I picked up and carried every box of trees, hundreds of thousands of trees.

Below are four photo point pictures showing how this canvas has changed over time. I had a few of my friends help demonstrate how big the trees have grown over the last 12 years. It’s a running joke around here, that you must have a dog if you’re a forester.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

May 5, 2001  Immediately after planting.  Hunter and Blaze pose for me.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

February 19, 2006   That’s Hunter and Blaze peeking through the trees.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

July 7, 2010  The trees have been thinned.  Blitz and Hawk pose.

Fire restoration, forestry, seedlings, golden retrievers

October 23, 2013  The trees are over twenty feet tall.  Now it’s just Blitz.

A farmer grows his crop over the course of a year, but our crop takes decades.  Counting each year that passes is an occupational reality of being a forester. Seeing my dogs in these pictures also reminds me of time marching on.  Now, there are new generations of both dogs and trees. To me, their lives are intertwined with the forest. This forest is full of our stories.