Western Forestry Contractors’ Association
Rumour Mill RoundUpDate
12 March 2021
Volume 21 Issue 3

Warning: No blockchains were used to generate
any of the value contained in the facts published in this edition.

Seedling Nurseries Growing,
Forest Consultants Consulting,
West Coast Planters Planting as
BC’s Second Pandemic Reforestation Campaign Starts

Nurseries continue to successfully operate under COVID-19 conditions. Workers seen here are tending some of the seedling crop being grown to plant in 2022.

A year ago yesterday the World Health Organization declared the world’s first coronavirus pandemic. Next week Tuesday will mark the anniversary of BC’s ongoing Provincial Health Emergency. Last week planting crews started work on the B.C. west coast—our second pandemic planting campaign and forestry field season. Just as they did last year, seedling nurseries today continue to tend their crops under COVID-19 conditions so we will have seedlings to plant next year. In 2020 we grew and planted 300-million seedlings: a record year. This year another 300-million are again planned. For 2021 on the coast we expect around 500 workers to mobilize and plant following the snowmelt up inlets and to the back of drainages until May. By then the first of up to 4,500 additional workers will begin work on the valley bottoms and south-facing slopes in the interior. Last year at this time our country was averaging 21 new COVID-19 cases per day. The national daily average today is more than 3,000 with over 500 added yesterday in BC. Last year in British Columbia and Alberta no planters tested positive for COVID-19. The BC Provincial Health Officer’s COVID-19 Orders and Guidelines set out last summer pertaining to industrial camps and other accommodations including tents and motels still apply in British Columbia. MFLNRORD’s Forest Sector Operator Screening remains in effect requiring employers to attest the location of their crews in BC. Emergency Management BC does not appear to be providing security guards this year at motels accommodating tree planting crews. MFLNRORD still has its hot-line to report tree planters who appear to be violating COVID-19 rules.

Planters on Vancouver Island have been at work since the beginning of March following the same protocols that kept themselves and communities safe from COVID-19 last year.

WFCA Looks at Live-Streaming Parts
of Future Annual Conferences

The WFCA’s success with last month’s first ever virtual annual conference, expo, and AGM has planners now thinking the association should combine in-person and live-stream sessions in the future. Virtual attendance peaked at 366 on day one of the conference; many of them workers invited by their employers to take part in the safety program presented that day. The workers’ response was, Why haven’t you always been doing this? It’s apparent that employees appreciated hearing things first hand, seeing information in its broader context, and being able to better understand the roles of the BC SAFE Forestry Program and the WFCA. Other attendees admitted they got more out of this conference because, somewhat ironically, they weren’t distracted by socializing. Plans are to hold next year’s conference in person in Kelowna in February. Who knows what the future may bring? If things go as planned, we may broadcast some of it from our conference floor. Conference attendees can watch recordings of this year’s conference through the post-conference thank you email we sent (let us know if you would like us to resend it to you). Others can arrange to see parts of the program for a fee by contacting admin@wfca.ca

Another Ocean Blob to Watch: This One Portends Worse

The north Pacific warm “Blob” that we’ve tracked previously has cooled, but is forecasted to return this summer. Meanwhile a cold Blob in the north Atlantic is forming as the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift appear to be weakening.

We at the RoundUpDate remain fascinated by the appearance of so-called ocean temperature Blobs; not just because calling them Blobs reminds us of something scary out of science fiction. But more importantly, they could be deeper planetary problems announcing themselves—particularly to do with climate and weather—affecting forests, wildfire, and our general well-being. This seems to be the case with what the ocean cooling scientists are now seeing in the north Atlantic. They attribute it to a weakening of parts of the Atlantic’s thermohaline circulation that brings warm air and water to northern Europe from the tropics. The Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift are slowing as Arctic rain and melting ice flood freshwater into the ocean. As a result, parts of Europe could cool considerably during winter as a result of global warming, but still have drought in the summer.  
Speaking of science fiction, the late astrophysicist Fred Hoyle in his 1957 novel The Black Cloud has an enormous, well, blob of interstellar gas envelop earth and block the sun. One of the fictional catastrophes Hoyle imagines, besides the end of photosynthesis, is the cooling of the Gulf Stream and the consequences of that. Hoyle wasn’t exactly talking about climate change then in this novel. But he was ahead of his time imagining the vulnerability of planetary environmental systems very similar to what concerns us today. His book also reminds us we may not have a monopoly on anxiety as we sit here amidst climate change and a pandemic. Back in the 50s, when Hoyle was writing, the emerging cold war held the prospect of nuclear war to keep everyone on edge. It is interesting that with no meaningful progress made to date on disarmament we seem to have become inured to it as a threat these days.