Conifer reforestation irks Thunder Bay cottager

A century ago, conifer trees played a more dominant role in Thunder Bay area forests than they do today — but a local cottage owner says the replanting of those species is changing the landscape too much.
Replacing a deciduous forest with pure stands of conifers disrupts the biodiversity of the deciduous forest, a northwestern Ontario cottager says. (Supplied)

A century ago, conifer trees played a more dominant role in Thunder Bay-area forests than they do today — but a local cottage owner says the replanting of those species is changing the landscape too much.

Don Stacey says he appreciates the view of the trees and the hills when he looks out over Prelate Lake, southwest of Thunder Bay.

(Google)

But Stacey said that view will be destroyed when a logging company harvests the deciduous trees and replants the area with conifer trees.

"Environmentally, what they're doing is upsetting because what they're doing is replacing the clear cuts primarily with conifer reforestation,” he said.

However, replanting with conifers is common, says an associate professor at Lakehead University.

Nancy Luckai said the industry tries its best to mimic the natural forest and the region should actually have more conifer trees.

"Particularly in northern Ontario, in pre-industrialized forest ... one hundred years ago, or perhaps a little more, there was more conifer than there is now," she said.

A northwestern Ontario cottager says his view will be destroyed when a logging company harvests the deciduous trees and replants the area with conifers. (Supplied)

The Ministry of Natural Resources said there are specific re-generation goals for forests, including the one around Prelate Lake.

It says about 40 per cent of the trees should be hardwood, about one third softwood, and less than a quarter mixed forest.

From his perspective, however, Don Stacey says the logging will have a negative impact on the environment.

"You shouldn't be replacing deciduous forest with pure stands of conifers. You're totally disrupting the biodiversity of the deciduous forest."

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