A Modest Proposal
To Use the Site C De-Treed Areas of the Peace River Lands
for Silviculture and Permanent Agriculture
by Clive Justice & Jill Whitelaw
Site C is now cleared and graded, lying fallow, and awaiting development proposals from sustainable environmental believers & practitioners with vision and initiative. Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC, the Wilderness Committee & the David Suzuki Foundation are all globally active, locally founded, environmental protection offices in our Province. BC is now working together across political party lines with the Green-NDP Coalition to support appropriate eco-sustainable options for our energy. Let it continue. One suggestion is autumn seeding in Fall 2017, and before the first snowfall with Helio-hydro seeding of winter hardy rye grass, Lolium perenne var. ‘Olds, alta’, followed in the spring, planting Poplars, Populus trichocarpa in the forest, in swales, woodlots, clumps, thickets along the valley bottom and hillsides stands.
What if the pulp were then sent through a pipeline, perhaps even an existing or approved one, through an extended network of woodchip-slurry pipes? What if it were powered by wind generators or solar all the way along?
These Cottonwood hybrids are selected because the wood fibre makes a long-staple fibre suitable for newsprint, copy, kraft & fine papers, books, periodicals, cartons, packaging products, paper towels, tissues & toilet paper. One in particular, the Crown Zee Tacoma Cottonwood Poplar tree Populus trichocarpa Torr. & Gray is one of the best. Another hybrid with very white wood can be manufactured into white paper using little or no bleach.
The BC Society of Landscape Architects / BCSLA’s land management, professional commitment that entails a full understanding of each of the provinces tree species palette [species of conifer & deciduous]: specifications for arrangement of stands of trees for forests, copses, 3, 5 or 7 tree clumps, lone tree landscapes, and edges. The lone tree, for example: fall colour, density of colour, size, scale, how it fits into the landscape, into the meadow. Or, for example, initial planting of a temporary landscape of introduced different Populus species which will be harvested and made into pulp.
What if this Pipeline linked to the to existing operational processing mills, and even closed mills & new paper and pulp mills up and down the BC Coast & Islands: Prince Rupert, the new Kitimat mill, the existing mills in New Westminister Nanaimo, the Albernis, Crofton Cambell River; and mills closed, mothballed or contemplated in process of being built or planned, throughout Pacific Northwest, our neighbours to the South: the mills in Everett, Tacoma, Idaho, Portland, etc.? A Pulp and Paper Pipeline for a myriad of Paper Products, serving not only our country, Canada, but also the rest of the world with our forest resources, technology & experience. Canada has more of this resource than any other part of the world.
We were so distracted by gas, drilling, fracking, LNG, bitumen, and extracting oil and gas from our Canadian prairie, Arctic & subarctic surface lands ruining, destroying & laying waste to our Northern Tundra surface landscape. We should have been ashamed but instead we buried them! Canadians ‘shilly-shally’ on this issue. We want to trust our government to make the right choices, to face up to the fact that fossil fuels, like oil, are carcinogenic and non-renewable. The future of our world ought to remain pristine, natural and beautiful for 7 generations. We have a lot of bio-remediation to get this world back in shape after the promise of the ‘American Dream’.
Each region has its own micro climate, species and visual landscape. What is needed is an Aesthetic, Education and Management Group for deliberating and guiding reforestation and sustainable harvesting. The BCSLA working group with the region’s tree and resource experts, the BC Forestry Service (BCFS), UBC Silviculture, SFU Resource & Environmental Management, local Agronomists, Indigenous Land Management and Permaculture farmers to set planting standards for spacing and species, for the planting and maintaining of Pulp Tree Forests, clear-cuts, other forests, copses and woodlots, thickets and hedgerows, lone tree aesthetic landscapes, plantings by the rivers, and pasture feeding lands for wildlife.
A great practice would be to modify the arable Peace River Valley into grass hillsides, and rolling slopes with a series of berms and swales along contours, where trees are planted. Debris such as leaves collect in the swales to support the tree crops, as well as rainfall or water released from small earth dams or bodies of water above and channeled into them. This aids retaining the Beauty of our Landscape by inter-cropping our fast growing trees with nitrogen fixing trees and plants, cold-hardy and useful vegetation, cash crops, native plants, edge and companion plants for pest management, wildlife foraging, flowers for bees, creating a poly-culture rather than a mono-culture, all eventually successioned by replanting a natural selection of Canadian trees of that region.
This land has been disrupted, and needs to regain biodiversity and balance. Mature forests have mushrooms and shade loving groundcovers, shurbs and native wildflowers under the tree canopy. The more mature the forest the more there is in it. Paul Stamet’s has a product called the LifeBox, a box filled with our Pacific Northwest trees as well as mushroom spores. Stamets, from Oregon, also migrates through this region and may even help us design a very local LifeBox. Trees and mushrooms make up the bottom most and top most elements of a forest. In between are the other layers of the forest, such as shrubs and vines, which if they were native edibles such as small berries, native potatoes like plants which could be highly productive for edible species and wild-crafting the commons and allowing even more opportunity for a balanced economy for all Canadians.
There is a need for improvement throughout the Peace Valley lands & unflooded bottom lands from just below the Site 2 dam structure to just below the site C area with the reservoir area, and the surrounding areas to the natural boundary at the BC-Alberta boundary. The top water line to the lower water line we can’t landscape, but all of the lands around and above, that will be these gardens. Plant on cleared areas or in valleys on rolling terrain in plantations or in designated large farm areas.
Different ornamental gardens could be added. For celebrating Canada’s Confederation of 150 years, for example, honouring pioneers, explorers, settlers and natives could include Landscape Heritage gardens from England’s settlers, the Garden in Memory (CWLA, CLJ Chapter 11, 2013.) which they brought to Canada to live in this harsh landscape as pioneers, learning from Canada’s landscape and plants and first peoples to survive. To celebrate this vast tract of land in good commemorate & try to reflect the made improvements. Capability Brown, was an English landscape architect. He is remembered as “the last of the great English 18th century artists to be accorded his due”, and “England’s greatest gardener”. He designed over 170 parks, many of which still endure. He was nicknamed “Capability” because he would tell his clients that their property had “capability” for improvement.” (wiki) Each park farm or garden to contain heritage plants, such as trees, flowers and ornamentals developed by Canadian horticulturists, Frank Skinner of Dropmore, Manitoba for roses and Lilacs, and Isabella Preston of Dominion Agriculture for Lilacs and Lillies, and the ornamental Crabapples, Malus niedzwetzkyana hybrids.
With the onset of computer technology everybody thought we were going to a paperless society, when in fact we could become the greatest paper, wood, fibre society ever. Look around, there are more newspapers than ever before, we still use and read books, give birthday cards, send and receive mail, ship locally and in cardboard boxes, ad infinitum. Canada, especially BC has experience with paper production technology and could be a market leader throughout the world. Pulp & paper technology puts Canada in a position to be one of the largest pulp & paper producers & exporters in the world, with the possibility to become very rich, a very un-Canadian idea, however, The Pulp & Paper industry, is a low carbon industry. Carbon in our atmosphere is called Carbon Dioxide, which many people attribute to climate change. By sequestering carbon into trees, and keeping that carbon in solid carbon form, that is, not burning it, but by turning it into pulp and paper, as well as furniture, shelter, garden trellises & structures, books, etc., we bring down the global carbon balance closer to 350ppm, a place where our storms subside, and our climate and biosphere may return to normal, pre-industry levels of atmospheric carbon, recreating our natural ozone layer. The Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve is a great example of sinking carbon indefinitely.
Clive Justice is Landscape Architect, Urban Planner & Garden Historian. He lives and works in Vancouver BC.
Jill Whitelaw is a Graphic Designer & Book Publisher with BC Bigleaf Maple Books. She is also a Permaculture Consultant & Educator living in East Vancouver.
Landscape photo can be found on flickr Thank you to tuchodi https://www.flickr.com/photos/tuchodi/3551991021
*links are found on the pdf /digital version for further info. See http://bcbigleafmaplebooks.ca