Faith Formation – Why Reforestation?

Faith Formation - Why Reforestation?
The Health and Happiness of Future Generations

The question of ‘why’ trees, forestry and reforestation should be of interest to anyone studying the broad topic of the environment is an ‘odd’ question to me. Because I have spent my working and leisure years dealing with related activities in forestry, these concerns are first nature to me.

I firmly believe the selection of some aspects of this topic is and will be integral to today’s lifestyle and more importantly to the health and happiness of future generations. I suspect the future is imminent; we have squandered our time to be casual about environment issues.

Let us get some terms straight; sustainable resource (forest) management is the best concept to work with. We have observed that in the Deciduous and Great Lakes Forest Regions of Southern Ontario where we have (had) established forest communities, it may take 80 to 200 years for a complete rotation of individual trees.

The major operations are reforestation (renewal), thinning of the immature forest and then selection for harvest when the forest is mature. Reforestation plantings are monitored for a five year period; after about fifteen years thinning is carried out to allow for proper forest density. Once the plantation/forest is deemed to be mature, selected harvests can begin. In deciduous forests a certain basal area must be maintained to ensure sustainability – no hygrading of prime trees for short term gain is allowed.

These ongoing forest operations extend beyond the lifetimes of present forest owners, so future sustainability must be considered.

Rural lands not suitable for agricultural operations are best moved into a forest management plan. Over the years these operations have cycled between government and private sector programs. There is always great public relations from Government and promised returns, but these programs are seen as short term and forestry requires a long term discipline.

We all know the role of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants in taking in carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen. We also accept that all forest species are beneficial but on barren or scrub lands there is no merchantable crop. Ontario needs forest products and in Southern Ontario we value our parklands and forest trails for recreation. Right now with this Covid-19 pandemic, one of the few safe things we can do is go for a walk in the woods to renew our burnt-out spirit.

An associated point of interest is the rich history that we have here in the Kawartha Region. Lindsay had a large and active Department of Lands and Forests in the 50’s and 60’s which has resulted in numerous forest tracts for the production of forest products and Provincial Parks for human recreational activities. The forests you see today are not what the first Europeans saw and they will change continually based on urban pressure for housing and recreation. We do value the attempts to keep the Oak Ridges Moraine intact as a ground water recharge area for the Lake Ontario urban areas. These are fundamental environmental concepts for today.

It is my hope that our speakers can enlighten us on the local work of the Ontario Woodlot Association. We can then arrange for tours and educational visits to better understand the role of sustainable forest management within our Christian concept of the environmental concerns that we are studying in our group.

I look forward to these discussions and believe that we do have a ’respect for creation’.

Respectfully submitted,

Carl Kimmett

30th March 2020