Will the global centre for teak production shift to Latin America?


Taking a look at teak production today and forecasting demand in the future, Latin America has the potential to surpass Asia in teak production. Given a number of contributing factors the author argues that Latin America has what it takes to continue to grow and prosper from it's commercial teak production.

Could it be that Latin America will eventually surpass Asia as the world teak producer? Can tropical American countries rival or even surpass Burma, India and Indonesia as sources of this lucrative species, in the way the British Far East colonies took over from Brazil as the producer of rubber? This happened after Henry Wickham smuggled 70,000 rubber tree seeds from the Amazon to Kew Botanic Gardens in the UK, after which they were sent to Asia in the final decades of the 19th century.


Combined heat and biochar: A revolution for greenhouse bioenergy


Looking at the benefits of biochar and its potential as a greenhouse bioenergy resource, with implications for seedling propagation for the silviculture industry.

In the October 2011 issue of Silviculture Magazine, John Kitchen makes a sensible argument for turning to woody energy crops as a source of clean energy. Many people from around the world share the excitement for biomass' potential to supplement our energy needs. For greenhouse growers and seedling producers, energy costs and productivity are top of mind.

Want to plant more trees this season? Then work harder.


Research on exertion and productivity in planters. Does production increase with experience? Are faster planters exerting themselves more? Are experienced planters more efficient (less exertion for a given production speed)? Exploring the research of exercise physiologist Alastair Hodges.

The physical nature of reforestation work is painfully obvious to anyone who has spent at least one day working as a tree planter. Tree planters like to consider that the work is the most difficult job in Canada, and that the job is as physically demanding as running a marathon every day. But, perhaps due to the isolated workplace, there has been a relative paucity of data on the physiological, metabolic, or psychological demands of the work.

A Global Civilian Conservation Corps


Remembering the Civilian Conservation Corps of nearly 80 years ago can we evolve the process of creating job and productivity stimulus through conservation and ecological restoration to meet today's challenges? Undeniably, environmental issues today involve the global commons and affect the world's communities at large, a new CCC would be global in scope and would have the capacity to bring environmental and socio-economic prosperity to the world.

In January 1933 the United States faced a dire emergency.  They were in the depths of the depression during a catastrophic environmental disaster. The economy of the United States had collapsed and thousands of impoverished young men were without jobs or money and "riding the rails".  A severe and prolonged drought had turned the Great Plains into a "dust bowl". 

Silviculture: The Dilemma


British Columbia (BC) has been developed,
in large part, by exploitation of natural
resources, including large tracts of mature
forests. While forest management has
evolved to provide reasonably sustainable
harvest levels, including protecting (or
minimizing damage to) many key nontimber
values and assuring reforestation
of logged areas, the system is based on
deriving short-term economic values from
forests. The primary beneficiaries have
been corporations, who hold the harvesting
rights, and the BC public, through jobs
and stumpage/tax revenue used to fund
infrastructure and government initiatives.
While this system has shortcomings, overall
it has served BC well.

Notes from the Field


Two springs ago – in May of 2009 – I left
my shovel in the shed. For the first time
in 14 years, I paid rent in the city, and
neither reprised the dance of planting nor
the crewbossing of the last nine seasons.
Instead, silvicultural work became the
spring and summer focus of my MA thesis
which shifted me from fourteen seasons
of ‘doing’ to one season of articulating
the labour of implementing the forester’s
prescriptions. The thesis traced the ways
treeplanters, and treeplanting management
staff, function as invisible transcribers on
the map of reality of these paper and digital
prescriptions. The thesis explores the point
past which foresters are no longer able to
implement – to actually make material –
their prescribed renewal program. From
this beginning point until the trees are in
the ground, the thesis explores how the
outcomes foresters prescribe are wholly
in the hands of the silvicultural workers
and so highlights the role of professional
silviculture practitioners.

Forest Cooperatives in India are a Model for Community Forestry


Forest in India provide a tremendous
diversity of benefits to society, ranging
from local subsistence uses like fodder and
firewood, regional services like water cycle
regulation, and global contributions in
terms of endemic biodiversity and carbon
sequestration. Given this diversity, it is no
surprise that Indian forests are managed
under an equally bewildering diversity of
systems. Some of these can be traced
back hundreds of years (sacred forests),
while others owe their origins to recent
interventions. The patchwork patterns
of forest management evident in India
today can be attributed to a combination
of factors operating over the 19th and
20th centuries, as well as to an evolving
set of objectives of forest management.
Commercial timber production and
biodiversity conservation have been the
two most important policy objectives,
and consequently, forest management
has remained concentrated in provincial
and federal agencies until recently. In
spite of the heavy and direct subsistence
dependence of millions of people on nearby
forests across India, larger economic and
ecological considerations have dominated
forest management systems.

Community Forests for Rural Development


The forest industry plays a significant role in
many communities in Canada. One model
of forest management is that of community
forests. “A community forest is decisions
being made by people who have to live
with the outcome; finding local solutions
to contentious issues; keeping benefits in
the community; a very good idea; and one
of the hardest things I have ever done,”
says professional forester John Cathro.
The concept of the community forest has
been around in British Columbia since
1945, when Mission Municipal Forest was
established, but it wasn’t until 1998 that
the Forest Act was amended to allow for
Community Forest Agreements (BCCFA,

Notes from the Field- Part II


Silvicultural management staff move back and forth between the scientific imperatives of the foresters, and the non-scientist treeplanters – those who actually execute the treatments designed to change the structure of Crown stands. But as skillfully as management staff translate the language of forest science for the labourer, such translations can only ever operate at a representative – an abstract – order. In the final instance, it is always the labourer herself who must translate what she has been told into the material inscription: the trees in the ground.

Root Diseases and Timber Dogs


Root disease is very difficult to locate and study as the infection process takes place under ground where insect feeding is not visible. Disease and therefore pine decline is normally not apparent until you see above-ground symptoms in the crown and by then, it is often too late to save the tree. However, using detection dogs may give us an advantage. A detection dog is a canine trained to work using its senses to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, or blood. In the past decade, the use of detection dogs has expanded from these more traditional targets to a number of ecological targets.