Pro-tree stand would

be a sign of progress

If a tree falls inthe forest, doesanybody

Once again, the idea of introducing a

hear, or care?

region-wide tree conservation programhas

The answer, of course, is, “Sure,

cropped up at the Prescott-Russell united

everyone loves trees, eh?”

counties council table.

Everyone knows that somebody is

The case for such a policy, the subject of

Photo Richard Mahoney

bound to hear tree “harvesting”

sporadic debate over the years, is strong.

Two men were arrested after a marijuana growing operation was discovered during a

operations because all across the Far East

You’d think it would be easy to take a

barn fire in Brownsburg-Chatham last Friday night.

ofOntario, land isbeingclearedfor crops,

stand in favour of trees.

homes, businesses, parking lots and, yes,

But, we know that profit-driven people

Wrong number: Neighbour tries to

solar panels.

rankle at the whiff of any attempt by

These are the signs of progress,

government to influence the use of private


land. And we know that politicians are

set the record straight

Yet, everyone knows that everyone

naturally nervous about adopting

cares deeply about forests.

restrictions that may impede development.

In fact, nine in ten Ontarians believe

However, studies have proven that for


that the amount of tree loss in Ontario

every dollar spent onmaintaining trees, the


public receives three dollars worth of

to a survey conducted a few years back.


Bruce Scharf was surprised when he saw flames coming from a barn across from his

That poll also showed that 83 per cent

Trees increase property values, and in

home on Route 344 near Cushing last Friday night.

ofOntario residents believe the collective


He was unpleasantly surprisedwhen he later sawhis propertymistakenly identified as

impact of tree loss over the past decade

The loss of habitat has taken a huge toll

the location of the fire and the subsequent arrest of two men.

has created a crisis for Ontario’s

on wildlife, particularly in the densely-

The Sûreté du Québec reported that the incident occurred at 1366 Route 344 in

ecosystem, according to the poll.

populated regions of southern Ontario,

Brownsburg-Chatham, Scharf’s address. “But the barn was not on my property,” he says.

Most rural residents are aware of the

where there are now more species at risk

The occupants, who had listed the address as 1366-B, had been living in the barn for several

impact development is having on our

than anywhere else in Canada.

years. In the past, Scharf has received Hydro-Québec bills that were intended for the barn


Apart from offering homes for forest

occupants. The barn is situated immediately north of hismail box, and his addressmarker.

Ironically, the green movement has

creatures, forests help reduce flooding,

“People now think that I was somehow involved in the drug operation. I had nothing to

also paved the way for the clearing of

providemoredrinkingwater, improve crop

do with it but there’s my address in the paper. There are all sorts of rumours going around

wooded areas. Large tracts of treed


now,” says Scharf. The long-time Cushing resident called the fire department at 9:10 p.m.

properties have been denuded to create

generate fuel, and furnish material for

August 12 when he noticed the flames. “There was an explosion. There was a report to it,

space for vast arrays of ground-mounted

carvers and wood workers.

like a .30-.30 bullet going off,” Scharf relates. SQ officers found 350 marijuana plants and

panels that convert the rays of the sun

Plus, trees are good for tourism. City

arrested two men in their 40s for production of cannabis.

into electricity.

people like to flee the concrete jungle and


take a close-up look at real trees in a natural

the myopic nature of government green


Almost everyone knows that Ontario

energy policies. But you cannot move

forwardwith aworld-leading renewable

needs more trees.

energy thrust without inflicting some

The key to

collateral damage, right?

Forest loss is considered inevitable


wherever “growth” occurs.

As our leaders beat the bushes for new

is the private sector

investors, they have few qualms about

beating up on the bushes. If trees stand in

In the last few years, the Ontario

the way of new businesses and homes,

government has made tree-planting a

new jobs and new tax revenues, let’s fire

component of its climate change policy.

up the saws!


We can expect to see a lot of ash trees

to plant 50 million trees by 2020 as its

biting the dust over the next few years

contribution to the United Nations’ Billion

now that the Canadian Food Inspection

Tree Campaign.

Agency has confirmed that the emerald

In the 1970s and ‘80s, there were up to 20

ash borer beetle is present in Prescott-

to 30 million trees planted in southern


Ontario each year. Since the early 1990s this

The agency is prohibiting the


movement of all ash materials, such as

tree planting, rapid urban growth and

logs, branches and wood chips, and all


species of firewood fromthe affectedsite,

cover in some areas of southern Ontario as

from this region.

lowas fiveper cent. Studies showthat forest

The most commonway for the EAB to

cover of a region should be at least 30 per



materials. The beetle also spreads

The Far East has beenmore fortunate. At

naturally through flight. Research

last report, wooded areas account for about

indicates the adult can fly up to 10

26per cent of the total landmass inPrescott-

kilometres, but generally does not stray



There is ongoing talk of forming a

This is one mean little bug.

coalition of conservationists to raise

The EAB has claimedmillions of trees

awareness of the evils of deforestation’s and

in North America and threatens billions

to eventually lobby for arbour-friendly




We know that the key to the success of

thebeetlecould inflict severewidespread

any suchpushwouldbe the participationof


private landowners – most of the forested

Ash wood is also used to make

land in the region is privately owned.

furniture, hardwoodfloors, baseball bats,

As everyone knows, we all have a


responsibility to protect forests.

and other materials that require high


strength and resilience.

ash borer, except to try to control its

If there is an up-side to this EAB


confirmation it’s that it may serve as a

But therearemanyotherdifferent species

wake-up call for those who believe that

of trees still standing. A concerted, long-

forests and economic development are


mutually exclusive.

definitely be a sign of progress.

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