Reporter learns virtues of Canadian wood first-hand

Reporter learns virtues of Canadian wood first-hand

By GLENDA H. CAUDLE Special Features Editor They said, “Have you ever wondered about forests in Canada?” I said, “Every single day.” They said, “Well, come on up and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.” So, here I am. And so far, this is what they’ve said: • Canada is a very big country — in terms of actual land mass, it is the second largest country in the world. That means it’s even bigger than Texas. • Canada has a lot of trees — 10 percent of all the trees in the world, in fact. I don’t know who counted. He wasn’t at the conference. • Canada does not have nearly as many people as trees — in fact, it comes in at No. 219 in terms of population density, with its 33 millions folks spread out from sea to shining sea, mostly along the border with the United States. They are very nice people. And I would say that even if they hadn’t offered to educate me about their forests in an up close and personal way. • Three hundred thousand of those people have jobs that are directly involved with forestry. No word just yet on how many beavers are gainfully employed. That may come tomorrow. • Canada is serious about its trees. There are a whole bunch of them that no one is allowed to cut. I’m not sure what happens to you if you don’t follow the rules, but if you were thinking of coming to Canada and chopping down a tree, you might want to think again. Personally, I’ve buried the hatchet, so to speak. • Ninety-three percent of Canada’s forest are publicly owned and 75 percent of the forests are undeveloped. No word yet as to whether John Q. Public is allowed to go out to one of those undeveloped forests and claim a tree and just sit and talk to it. Or hug it. • Forestry practices are “disturbance driven.” That means people started noticing that nature had a way of bringing down trees – storms, fires, insects, what have you. Those forces shaped Canada’s landscape for a long time, even before men began to have an impact. People decided it might be a good idea to emulate those “nature” patterns in managing Canada’s forests. I’ll clarify the finer points of this policy with Smokey tomorrow. • Canada has a government that intends to make sure its forests are handled in a sustainable manner. I don’t think they’re kidding about this. They’re pretty green — the government as well as the forests. • Canada recognizes that wood has one of the lowest environmental footprints of all building materials. That means its “eco-friendly.” I’m probably not the best person to go into this, but Al Gore has been busy endorsing politicians and simply hasn’t been available. • Wood is good. It’s durable and beautiful and renewable. And it has a proud history as a building material. Look around you. You’ll see a lot of it. • Canada would like the world to build more stuff with wood. • Canada would like to supply a lot of that wood. • Canada can. And still have lots left over. And that’s what they’ve told me so far. More later. Editor’s note: Glenda H. Caudle is special features editor at The Messenger. Recently, she was contacted by the Canadian consulate in Atlanta and invited to attend a forestry conference in Quebec. She arrived in Quebec City, which is celebrating its 400th birthday, Sunday and will be visiting several sights before heading home from Montreal Friday. For more wood facts, check The Messenger. There’ll be a test later, so pay attention. Published in The Messenger 6.18.08

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