Wood is used to build our homes, create paper so we can right literature and history and build beautiful pieces of art and furniture that we cherish for its natural beauty, but we have barely scratched the surface of woods capacity. With new technology we can build taller, stronger, more fire resistant and more beautiful buildings. Vancouver now has a building 18 stories tall built from wood, and potential exists for us to go taller yet. These structures are not only functional and meet all safety standards but are absolutely gorgeous to behold. Nothing quite warms up a room like wood grain. In this episode I talked with Rory Koska from Wood-Works about the potential of wood buildings and why they are a better alternative in many cases to steel and concrete. Topics discussed include changing specs, cross laminated timber, glulam, laminated veneer lumber, fires resistance, how tall can we go, high density wood products, beauty of wood, sustainability of wood, and much more.
Hunting and fishing are seen by many people to be barbaric activities that no ethical person would do, or even more misguided, they think it is mindless and easy. People see the depictions of hunters as middle aged men riding around in a pickup truck drinking beer and shooting everything in sight for the pure joy of the kill. I promise you this could not be further from the truth. Hunting and fishing takes years to understand and master and requires infinite patience and skill to do right. It changes the way you think about food, and your connection with it. You see the full journey from hoof to plate and you appreciate everything that went into getting that meat to your families table. You will never throw out an once of anything you have harvested yourself. I would argue hunters and anglers are more attached and thankful for their food then any non-hunter/angler. Tom Habib came on to discuss the role of hunting and fishing in our society and why it is important. The BHA is a non-profit organization trying to get more people out into the wild. They are also trying to ensure the wild is there to enjoy for future generations.
Topics discussed include, Chronic Wasting Disease, ethics of hunting, connection to the land, requirements of good hunting and fishing, how to begin, issues facing the BHA, much more.
Yup, that's my Dad. He has over 40 years of experience managing forests in Alberta and was apart of a number of committees and boards that changed forest management for the better. We talked about what natural resource management was like in the 70's, how things have changed and where things might go. He has a wealth of knowledge that I think people can learn from. Topics discussed include old school forestry, being resourceful, Jack-of-all trades vs specialization, being self sufficient in the bush, the importance of bringing a compass, models vs. real world, growing trees, scientific approach in forestry, old growth forests, the problem with hemp.
Invasive species have always been a huge concern. Because they are not native they have no natural equalizer that can level off their populations when they start to get to big. This can sometimes result in a total takeover and a complete collapse of the natural species that have managed to maintain ecosystem balance for thousands of years. Prussian Carp are one such species that is very well adapted to taking over our river systems and has the potential to destroy the natural balance. They have been found in river systems in southern Alberta and the Alberta Conservation Association has begun research to understand these creatures.
Alberta's wilderness is incredible to behold. It is a place where thousands of people come to hunt, fish, ATV, hike, camp, ski, canoe and much more. We want to make sure people can continue to build these wilderness values for themselves but also to ensure the environmental integrity of the area for future generations to build the same values. The Canadian Parks And Wilderness Society is an organization dedicated to protecting these wild areas. Chris came on to discuss CPAWS' recommendations to the government. CPAWS is far from the only interested group and many other organizations have an interest in what goes on. In this episode we discussed restrictions proposed and what making this area into a wildland provincial park would mean for recreation and industry in the area.
Mountain Pine Beetle has done a number on North American forests in the last decade. These tiny little insects carry a fungus that can choke out a full grown tree. With a terrifying reproduction rate and warmer winters these dirty little buggers have the potential to decimate our pine forests. Nadir Erbilgin came on to discuss these creatures and the risk.
Women in forestry is a topic not widely discussed. In the past forestry was typically a male dominated industry. Luckily that seems to be less and less true with every passing year. With more women enrolling in forestry and environmental sciences programs now then seemingly ever before, hopefully we are approaching a semblance of equality. Danielle came on to discuss her experience going to school and starting work as a forester in recent years.
Women have not always been traditionally found in forest careers. Luckily that has changed and we are seeing more women in forestry and environmental sciences than ever before. Bev Wilson has nearly 40 years of experience in the forest sector and was able to speak to a lot of the changes she has seen and experienced over the years. With a Career as a Senior Resource Analyst for the province of Alberta she is very excited about how good data can help us be better stewards. We talked about how she got her start, some of the challenges along the way, her passion for forest resource data and Geographic Information systems(GIS), and much more.
Genetics is a topic that is widely misunderstood. Fear of creating non-natural, GMO organisms has people turned off of the topic. Forest Genetics is one of these misunderstood subjects. We talked seed zones, selective breeding, progeny sites, ethics of putting genetically altered trees on the land, climate change and how we can plan for it and a great deal more.
Climate change, Chernobyl, asbestos, drought, fire. What do all these things have in common, they are all concerns that wildfire scientists and managers are keeping an eye on. Edward discuses these concerns in great detail in his book FIRESTORM, and he was kind enough to join me on the podcast to discuss it.
Fire is both a destructive and rejuvenating force in the Boreal forest. It can consume vast areas of vegetation while, at the same time, making room and creating habitat for new growth. In this episode we discuss some of the research being done by Ellen and Dan in relation to forest fires. We discuss the Fire Weather Index and its variables, Fort McMurray and Slave Lake wildfires, burn severity, new growth and much more.
WARNING, do not go looking for factual information in this episode. Three Foresters sit down to discuss why they got into forestry and shoot the bull for over an hour. Tony is the owner of DamagedTimber Apparel and he also discussed his vision with his company and how it is giving back to the environmental community.
The maintenance of biodiversity is a crucial measurement in studying ecological balance and recovery post disturbance. From invertebrates, vascular plants, non-vascular plants, birds, small mammals, trees, the EMEND study has researched it all. Dr. Ellen Macdonald came on to discuss the immensity of this study and the opportunity and answers it may provide. Cutblocks are not the environmental devastation you may think they are.
Our world is changing. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has started a chain reaction, permanently altering the worlds climate. Dr. David Price has spent a lifetime studying ecology and climate impacts and he came on to discuss the results of his research. Find out what changes you can expect to witness in our forests in decades to come.
Clearcuts, Monocrops, Deforestation, Environmental Damage. These are some of the descriptors one might find in popular culture concerning forest harvest. These are wildly misleading labels. Dr.Vic Lieffers has a lifetime of research on forest harvest and regeneration and he came on to help us all understand the truth about cutblocks and the regeneration process.
Forest resources must be protected and managed using the best available science of the time. In order to hold forest practitioners to that commitment, and accountable to the public, a regulatory body was formed. The Association of Alberta Forest Management Professionals is a newly formed regulatory body made of two previously independent ones. Ryan and I discussed the importance of accountable forest management and how that accountability is upheld.
Conservation is the sustainability of all species and habitat over time. This means we have to manage our forest ecosystems to ensure everything remains as sustainable as possible, not only select charismatic species. The Alberta Conservation Association helps with that. They provide a wide range of conservation services that help keep our province's natural resources around for generations.
Climate change has begun to demonstrate its impact on our lives and our planet. One such impact is on wildfire activity. Longer fire seasons mean a higher probability of catastrophic fires. These fires have a drastic effect on our water quality. As more frequent and larger fires occur, our water resources are put at risk. Francois and I discuss his research into this problem.