Most conifers should be outside a ring of fire resistant broadleaf trees that protect our cities and towns.

Most conifers should be outside a ring of fire resistant broadleaf trees that protect our cities and towns.

The Weed Warrior: Managing forests for diversity

For years, forestry in B.C. has considered Aspens and other broadleaf trees to be weeds that compete with lumber producing conifers like fir and pine.

According to a CBC article, there is B.C. legislation that requires the government to spray Roundup on any Aspen or birch grove that makes up more than five per cent of a block of regrowing forest.

However, as we just saw with the Lytton fire, conifers with their needles full of oils, explode like a line of Roman Candles, and in windy conditions can destroy a town in minutes.

Yet, firefighters know that a line of Aspens can hold up a forest fire long enough for a crew to mount a defense.

So, in my opinion, conifers like spruce, fir, pine and cedar that are near or in a town are the dangerous explosive weeds, during fire season.

Most conifers should be outside a ring of fire resistant broadleaf trees that protect our cities and towns.

While we are on the topic of forest biodiversity, maybe we should be planting more broadleaf trees like maples and oaks in B.C. clearcuts, to give us more timber options that can be logged for furniture, etc, and protect our forests from raging wildfires at the same time.

Instead of treating manmade climate change as a bogeyman that many people pretend doesn’t exist, this TED Talk suggests we treat it as an amazing challenge for future opportunities.

We can choose to modify the landscape around the perimeter of our communities to include some shallow seasonal ponds that capture snowmelt and give spring runoff a chance to soak into the ground to support fire-resistant broadleaf trees as fire protection for our neighbourhoods.

We could also bring beavers back to our remote mountain forest streams to slow down spring runoff, so that aquifers can be fuller to support local ranching and hardwood groves. I say remote streams because beavers near communities have been known to interfere with water systems.

Do we have to keep on managing our forests the way people did in previous centuries, or can we adapt to Climate Change and provide a bright future for the people of B.C? Aspens and Maples help protect my home.

Weed Warrior Frank