From Academic Kids

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Legendary Treeplanter, Franz Otto
Treeplanting is an area of the silviculture, or reforestation industry. It involves planting seedlings into ground where the trees have been harvested or destroyed by fire.

Treeplanting occurs in many regions around the world. If performed properly treeplanting can ensure the successful regeneration of a deforested area thus creating ecologically sustainable resource use. However if deforestation and reforestation practices are poorly operated, ecological degradation can result.

Treeplanting in Canada

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This is an example of a cutblock planted fifteen years earlier

Most treeplanting goes on in northern British Columbia and Alberta on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, but a fair amount goes on in Ontario and Quebec. Planting trees 'out west' vs. planting trees in Ont./Que. is quite a different experience, due to terrain, trees prices, season length, culture, weather and a variety of other factors.

Treeplanting in Canada is hard seasonal labor but is well-paid and working conditions are generally quite good. As a result, it has become popular among young adults to spend the summer treeplanting to pay for a university education or for the rest of the year spent voluntarily unemployed. After several summers, a planter may have planted half a million trees; most people only plant trees for a few years (if they come back after the first time).

Treeplanters normally work for treeplanting companies in camps of less than a hundred. Planters are given specific standards for planting the seedlings (concerning spacing, soil type, and protection from damage - occasionally the cutblocks will be grazed by cows so that the planters must find places next to obstacles to plant their trees). The work is normally spot-checked to verify that it meets these standards. Terrain conditions vary from flat open fields with soft soil to steep slopes, cut brush or rocky soil, any of which make the work much slower. Treeplanting is normally piecework, that is, planters are normally paid by the tree planted, but amounts vary widely to account for differences in difficulty (and the resulting differences in the number of trees that can be planted per hour). As a result, there's a saying among planters: "There are no bad plots, just bad contracts." or "There is no bad land, just bad prices"

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Treeplanters normally live near the land they are planting in a small tent encampment. Encounters with wildlife are frequent, up to and including grizzly bears, but the most common danger to treeplanters is injuries due to the hard, repetitive work. Treeplanting requires a certain amount of strength but requires tremendous endurance.

Why is there so much treeplanting in Canada?

Various forestry and logging industries operate in Canada. Dimensional Lumber mills, Medium Density Fibreboard mills, Pulp and Paper mills, Particle Board mills, amongst many other private and value added forest product companies all harvest or cut down forests for raw material.

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Living conditions can be quite difficult treeplanting

Provincial and Federal legislation requires forestry companies to sufficiently reforest the areas deforested. Depending on the natural regeneration, and local ecologic conditions of the cutblocks, a professional forester will determine the best specifications or prescription for a deforested area. In areas where there is little or insufficient natural regeneration of the forest, planting of seedlings is required.

Each year forestry companies must have sufficiently reforested previous “cutblocks” so as they are considered “free to grow”. In order to do this they contract out the work to reforestation or treeplanting companies. These treeplanting companies hire many seasonal laborer employees who then are responsible for the planting of seedlings according to the forester’s specifications.

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Waiting for dinner

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