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
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.
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
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
definitely be a sign of progress.
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