a number of years ago, Ontario landowners and farmers
were encouraged to take marginal farmland out of production
and plant row
upon row coniferous trees . This was done to
address serious problems related to the lack of forest
cover, such as wind and water erosion of top soil,
diminished surface and ground water retention and
storage, diminished wildlife habitat and a limited
number of forests to supply wood products.
Under the provincial Forestry Act, "forestry
purposes" include the production of wood and
wood products, provision of proper environmental conditions
for wildlife, protection against floods and errosion,
recreation, and protection and production of water
supplies. Coniferous plantations if managed and thinned
properly will accomplish these goals and produce
the thinnings start, they will foster the regeneration
of a mixed deciduous stand. Just as oats, barley or
other small grain crops act as a nurse crop for a
new hay field or pasture planting, coniferous plantations
are the long-term nurse crop for deciduous regeneration.
In the original planting, the closeness
of rows helped to protect the small saplings from
the elements and forced them to compete against each
other, thus ensuring rapid height growth instead of
a short stocky tree with lots of limbs.
a plantation is not thinned, these tall slender trees
eventually become weak and susceptible to ice, snow
and wind breakage. As thinning takes place, the trees
grow in diameter and become stronger. As they grow
taller, the trunks gain girth. This increase in length
and girth is a tremendous future benefit to the plantation
as a commercial stand, and as a sustainable forest
or woodlot. Thinning makes the remaining trees
healthier and stronger.
plantations planted 30-60 years ago are paying off,
not only in a good dollar return, but also in a healthy
plantation. Those without management are not yielding
wood or dollars, and many are showing signs of deterioration;
some, even death.