Photo: white pine silhouette

 

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OLD GROWTH MYTHS

Old growth is red and white pine

Yes, red and white pine can become old growth, but it is not the only tree species that reach old growth stage. Most tree communities can. So far, other species of old growth identified in Temagami are black ash, white cedar, black spruce, sugar maple and jack pine. 

Until recently, the only tree species that the Ontario government recognized as old growth were red and white pine, contributing to this myth.

The trees will fall down and die

Yes, all trees eventually die, but pine trees have been found in Temagami that are  380 years of age. The implication, used to justify logging of trees when they reach 100 years of age, is that they will suddenly just die. This myth is also used to undermine the preservation of old growth.

Photo: pileated woodpecker searches for insects in an old-growth snag

Tap-tap-tap-tap a common sound in old-growth forests. Above a pileated woodpecker searches for insects in a snag. 

Old growth is just unproductive trees

Productive implies use exclusively for industrial purposes, for forest products. The forest industry treats wild lands as tree farms there to supply raw materials for its mills. Old trees do not grow as fast as younger ones, and often have rot. Rot does not immediately kill a tree, but rather slows its growth, therefore slowing production of the "fiber" that industry wants. So forest companies want to cut down old forests so they can be replaced by younger, faster-growing trees.

All Temagami is old growth

The true extent of old growth is not yet known as only red and white pine have been studied. But many areas have faced fire, disease, insects, windstorms and logging so contain younger, non-old-growth forests.

Old-growth pine is not endangered

With less than one percent of the world's old-growth red and white pine ecosystems remaining, it is endangered. 

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