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FOLLOWING PUBLICATION OF EACH ISSUE of the Ontario Arborist magazine, we load copies of our most popular columns and features here in our article bank. In addition to being an invaluable source of information, the online versions contain an added benefit not possible in the magazine – live links. So remember, if you read an article in print and want to visit a link but don't want to type in a long address, simply find the article here and click away. One caveat: articles date back almost 10 years so some of the links referenced in earlier publications may no longer be valid. We do our best to keep them current or remove outdated links but the web changes daily!
Experiments at Guelph University have resulted in double the crop yield in drought years. A farming practice that results in better soil, more earthworms, much higher capture of carbon dioxide, less nitrogen runoff, more birds and insects, and double the crop yield in drought years – it sounds too good to be true. Yet this is exactly what experiments at Guelph University are suggesting. The most intriguing conclusion is that if farmers adopted the practice throughout the 455,000 square kilometres of marginal or degraded land now being farmed, Canada could reduce its annual CO2 emissions by well more than half of what’s currently required to meet its Kyoto commitment.”
After all the scary predictions, climate change is here. Three different climate models indicate that around 1990 that change started to escalate. The sun still rises in the east and the trees are still growing ring upon ring, but we are facing new challenges and there are more to come. Stephen Harper signed a joint statement with Australia saying, “Both countries agree that reducing emissions from deforestation is a key component to global action on climate change.” There are lots of people debating the details but reason says he isn’t planning to reduce forestry or urbanization, so to keep that promise we have to plant more trees for carbon storage.
When the ice storm of 1998 struck eastern Ontario, people were traumatized. Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada, said, “I survived.” Michael was without hydro for eleven days. People and livestock died. Houses and barns were damaged. When the hydro lines were repaired and the emergency past, trees were the lasting reminder every fall of the trauma. Ice storms are a normal part of Canadian weather. If climate change predictions come true, we will see more ice storms and more extreme weather. But Michael believes it will be better next time.
Despite global warming, water temperatures in lakes may be lowered significantly by planting trees, research from York University shows.
Sadly, these pests may turn out to be freeze-resistant, at least in our climate. Dave Roden, an entomologist with the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) at the Great Lakes Research Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, has been studying the “super cooling point” of the Asian long-horned beetle (ALB). That’s the point at which the last drop of water freezes in living tissue...
In this issue's Climate Change Focus, we profile the topic from two very different sources. First, we summarize the Government of Ontario’s position on climate change and present a synopsis of the wealth of information they have available on their website. Included are excerpts from their Forest Research Information Paper No. 143 that will be of interest to arborists. Second, we reprint a recent article by Lawrence Solomon regarding the large academic community who are against the Kyoto Accord.
When we first get that break from the cold in mid-January, all the doom and gloom forecasted by climate change specialists falls on deaf ears. As winter truly lets go and March blows into April, we still look forward to an early spring. It is hard to care about the potential price we ‘could’ pay for the unseasonal warmth. After all, it is SPRING and winter is over! But if the forecasts are right and we don’t start preparing for climate change impacts on our forests, we could be in for a catastrophe. Let’s examine one harbinger of spring that is relatively easy to observe and measure – bud break.
Since I recently had the opportunity to participate in the Tour des Trees, I met Shelley Vescio, Urban Forester for the City of Thunder Bay, and Vince Rutter, President of Trees Thunder Bay, a volunteer tree advocacy organization. Before cycling out of Thunder Bay, Shelley and Vince made themselves available to provide a cycling tour of the city and make brief presentations at the opening dinner/reception highlighting some of the challenges and successes of managing an urban forest in a northern Ontario city.
As much as we'd all like a bargain, the unfortunate fact is that buying used equipment can sometimes be fraught with problems. Buyer beware: What may appear as a money saving deal could be a transaction that leaves you in possession of stolen goods or encumbered machinery.
The Town of Aurora, Ontario is located about 40 minutes directly north of metropolitan Toronto. Like many small rural municipalities, Aurora started off in 1867 as an agricultural community and the head of the rail line. Typical of that era there were a few major industries, most notably the Joseph Fleury and Sons farm implement factory, makers of the famous Fleury plough.
During an interview that was conducted with Dr. Kim Coder at last year’s London conference, he was asked what our industry should be doing to address our declining urban forests. Two of his recommendations included that we should build public awareness about the plight of our urban forest with terms that people can relate to and that we should promote trees for their utility value. The following article is the third in our series focusing on municipal urban forestry and details the Town of Oakville’s recent progressive report "Our Solution to Our Pollution" by John McNeil, Manager of Forestry and Cemetery Services. As work on this report began long before the 2006 conference, the Town of Oakville along with John McNeil and his staff should be applauded for taking on this initiative. This is a document that I am sure Dr. Coder would endorse, and it can serve as a model for other towns and municipalities.
First, do the research. Second, educate. Third, learn more effective ways to ask for the money you need to do your job better. Note to readers: The first half of the article is a lot of money talk. The second half provides the real goods – where to find the information you need to ask council for more funds, to convince clients of the value of your work, or perhaps even more important, to educate politicians, clients and the rest of the general public on the numerous benefits of healthy trees.
There are many quaint small towns in rural Ontario. Creemore remains one of them. The residential main street is lined with majestic old sugar maple trees which provide a shady canopy in the summertime. Numerous cafés, shops and galleries offer interesting spots for visitors. You can learn a lot about the town simply by having lunch at a local café. Some residents have lived in town for many years, while others will be newcomers for a long time. In late 2005, I was informed of the Mill Street Reconstruction Project, Phase 1. This would involve water supply and storm sewer reconstruction, as well as road and sidewalk reconstruction, on the main street of Creemore. Following the construction period, trees would be replaced.
The secret weapon in the city’s battle against climate change is growing in Amanda McConnell’s front yard. Six trees – birch, red bud, willow, two giant maples and a serviceberry – crowd a space shorter than the fading hopscotch course scratched on the sidewalk out front. If it weren’t for the cars, telephone wires and a man across the street yelling at his girlfriend, you would think you had walked into a forest. “There wasn’t a tree when I moved in 18 years ago, so you see what can happen,” says McConnell. “I thought I’d be dead by the time they grew. In fact, the maple is as tall as the house.“
The Town of Richmond Hill is located in the Region of York just north of Toronto with the north third of the town on the Oak Ridges Moraine. Yonge Street is the main thoroughfare, Highway 404 is our east boundary, Bathurst Street is on the west, Highway 407 is to the south and Bloomington Road is the north boundary. We have experienced quite a bit of growth since 1984 when the population was approximately 39,000. In 2007, we were at about 183,000 residents. Over the last several years, there has been increased resident awareness about private tree bylaws resulting from the City of Toronto’s Private Tree Bylaw and the movement of some residents to Richmond Hill with the belief that such a bylaw existed outside of Toronto...
Leaves are prominent on both our provincial and national flags symbolizing the high value we supposedly place on trees. According to Anne Hayes, a biologist with BioForest Technologies Inc., it is a value that many take for granted. Often, people react and spend on trees only when their trees are threatened. We forget about the multiple positive impacts of trees until they are in jeopardy. Unfortunately, by the time we make the long overdue call to an arborist or other professional, tree removal is sometimes the only option. Ted Thompson, a forester for Archipelago Township, was all too familiar with this problem and found a solution.
A healthy urban forest is a great asset to any community, providing stormwater interception, energy savings, pollution reduction, carbon sequestration and social benefits. Promoting these positive attributes of urban trees has been going on for a long time. Unfortunately, for many years we simply had to say ‘Tree are good’ without having hard numbers to document the statement. Thanks to solid research however, many of the benefits of trees can now be documented and some can even have a dollar value calculated for them. The need to get that information out to the general public, but especially to those who make decisions related to trees and budgets, such as mayors, city councils, city staff and others, can be challenging given all the other competing needs in cities. Money for urban tree management is always tight, in part because trees are often seen as a nice extra rather than being understood as cost-effective infrastructure. The tree management budget is therefore often cut when times are tough. If tree benefits are truly understood, it is hoped that adequate budgets will follow.
The Regional Municipality of York is an upper tier municipality located in the Greater Toronto Area. The Region covers an area of 1,776 square kilometres stretching from Lake Simcoe in the north to Steeles Avenue in the south. It borders Simcoe County and Peel Region in the west and Durham Region in the east. The Region provides a variety of services to its over 1 million residents including transportation services, transit, water, wastewater, emergency services, policing, human services and growth management. York is considered one of the fastest growing areas in Canada and its population is expected to increase to 1.5 million by 2031.
Everyone has a tale of the contractor who leveled a historic forest for a subdivision or the cranky neighbour who cut the majestic maple because it shed its leaves in fall. I lost count of the number of people who said in their own way, “people cut trees for stupid reasons” and one guy admitted sheepishly, “like my parents.” In 1970, Joni Mitchell hit the charts and brought the issue to the air waves with the line: “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” But it seems like Canadians are only just catching on to the idea that when you cut down a 200 year-old tree, it will be 200 years before it can be replaced.
One of the highlights of owning property is the ability to plant and grow some of the wonderful trees that one sees while working in Toronto’s better gardens. The best specimen of redbud (Cercis canadensis) I’ve seen was in the front yard of Mrs. Rainsberry at 3 Banbury Avenue in North York. In my second year of monitoring her property (1991), she offered me a redbud seedling, 1 to 2 years old, and I planted it out adjacent to my front window. It is now 15 feet tall, 15 feet wide and has been blooming (and impressing neighbours) for more than five years.