Man Versus Nature in the Boreal Forest
by Malcolm F. Squires
Published by Dundurn 2017
Softcover 192 pages $19.95
BOOK REVIEW BY MICHAEL SOBOTA
MALCOLM Squires worked for 34 years as an industrial forester, first in Newfoundland and then in Ontario. Upon retiring from that work he became a consultant on forestry. He currently lives in Thunder Bay.
Dynamic Forest is written in a clear, accessible narrative almost in conversational language. Yet it is a challenging read - not for Squires style but for his content.
Over the course of seven carefully articulated chapters, Squires lays out the case for a managed forest and that, all things considered, industry is best positioned to carry out that management.
In making his case he states that forestry has dramatically changed during past decades, not just with advances in technology - though those have been significant - but in the accumulated knowledge about how healthy forests exist and how today’s forest industry supports the careful nurturing of healthy forests.
A simple example would be his defense of the industry practice of clear cutting, followed by extensive efforts to reforest open landscapes with best practices toward selective planting and faster tree growth.
Squires clearly is passionate about forestry. He uses his long history of working with industry to bolster his arguments about removing legislative barriers that proport to protect forested areas while actually abandoning them to disease, decay and wildfires.
“I changed from a youth who was disgusted with clear-cutting into a forester who prescribed clear-cutting because I learned that when done well, it works,” Squires writes.
While grounded in his life-long experience as an industrial forester, his writing includes extensive chapter notes that cite researched texts and a comprehensive bibliography.
Dynamic Forest is an interesting companion read alongside The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohleben.
Michael Sobota is a Thunder Bay-based writer.