in the forest, looking up


fall forest canopy 

In New Brunswick, the spruce tree dominates the forest. At one time, the white pine was plentiful, but these tall straight trees were highly prized for use as ships’ masts — shipbuilding was an important industry here during the golden age of sail — and now the spruce trees grow where the white pine once stood. The white spruce has now reached new heights, as a packet of 24 seedlings from New Brunswick were used for an experiment at the International Space Station last April.

I don’t know the difference between the white spruce, black spruce, red spruce and Norway spruce. All I know is that they are by far the most common tree I’ve seen in this province. When you land at Saint John’s airport, you can see spruce trees in every direction, with a few houses and wetlands to add variety. When you drive North to Fredericton, or in almost any direction, spruce trees line the road for hours, broken by occasional stands of birches, maples, oaks and poplars. There are lots of pines and cedars, tamacks and balsam firs, but when you go for a walk through the forest, the trees you are most likely to bump into — fighting those tough lower branches that catch at your clothing — are spruce trees. I read somewhere that New Brunswick is almost 90% covered by trees, and I believe it. Forestry is still a thriving industry, and with 5.9 million hectares of forest, plus about 30 million new trees planted each year, the province isn’t going to run out of trees anytime soon.

Taken on October 11, 2010

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4 thoughts on “in the forest, looking up

  1. I love the look of trees when you turn your face to the sky, and you have captured an especially nice glade, with the coloured leaves surrounded by green. Beautiful.

    You paint a rosy picture of the NB forest. I would like to believe it, but ah, there’s that cynic raising her voice again…

    It was the Budworm Battle that launched Elizabeth May as an environmentalist. I’m on a movie waiting list to rent the 2004 doc “Forbidden Forest”.

    • Thanks for your comment, barefootheart. When I was writing about the forests yesterday, I must admit I wasn’t thinking about the spraying practices… that particular battle happened when I was living in Ontario, and I must admit I wasn’t paying attention. I will look into it further. And thanks for pointing out the NFB film “Forbidden Forest” — I see it’s available for viewing online, so I’ll watch it sometime over the next few days.

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