THUNDER BAY - One local author believes Northwestern Ontario has the potential to set up itself for wildfire disaster, similar to the current spree in British Columbia.
Malcolm Squires, and his new book “Dynamic Forest” advocates for clear-cutting and even-aged management in order to protect the boreal forest from disastrous wildfires and the threat of invasive species.
Squires has worked as a professional forester for over 50 years, and has been in the Northwestern Ontario region since 1980.
A vocal advocate for his cause, Squires started writing articles in 2012 for the Chronicle Journal. His pieces explained to the local community how the forest behaves relative to natural and human disturbance.
“A few people felt there was enough common sense and rational thinking in these articles that it should be read by people beyond the reach of the Chronicle Journal.”
In his new book, Squires covers the formation of the boreal forest and its modern day implications.
“The boreal forest evolved in relation to fire,” Squires said. “Since the Ice Age, the boreal forest has grown at an even age.”
He advocates that this even aged-condition needs to be perpetuated in order to preserve the forest.
“The alternative, is uneven-aged management, also known as selection harvesting. The trees of the boreal forest will not evolve in a natural condition with an uneven-aged management.”
Squires says an uneven-aged forest will produce a dangerous amount of balsam fir, which can act as an invasive species.
“It’s always there, but if you give it the opportunity to take over, it will.”
Squires also warns the risk of forest-fires can come as a result of this uneven management.
“What happened in Fort McMurray, what’s happening today in B.C., this section of Ontario is set right up for it.”
The veteran forester is pleading for people to put aside biases, wants, and perceptions and address the reality of the situation.
Squires’ book “Dynamic Forest” will be published on August 26, and is available for pre-purchase on Amazon and Indigo.
He will also hold a book signing for at Chapters on the same date.