you Canadians call a
sustained yield has been normal for at least 500 years here.”
....With those woodsy words spinning about
my head I thought back on my recent visit to the Black Forest of West
Germany. Such meaningful words were spoken to me by my friend Wolfram
von Rotenhan, a senior forester in the western part of that impeccably
....It was early May and my traveling companions
and I had just partaken of a fine home cooked German lunch, served up
by my host’s charming wife, Heidi. “It is time,” Wolfram
said, “to be off to the forest.” A trip I had looked forward
to for 13 years.
....Let’s go back – to 1968
when our B.C.C. Festival of Forestry group had been formed for a couple
of years. We were bringing senior forestry students to B.C. from all
over the world. Our tours were two weeks in length and covered all the
exciting parts of our forests and forest industry.
....That summer of 1968 had seen about
twenty five such senior forestry graduates come from Scandinavia, the
British Isles, Central and Northern Europe and from the U.S.A. Wolfram
was the West German delegate, and it was when we first discussed the
intriguing Black Forest.
....Our Festival of Forestry budgets were
healthy then and no effort was spared to enlighten our visitors on the
forestry picture of B.C. I may say that those tours have given results.
Some top notch students returned to B.C. for further studies and eventual
work here. Others returned to their own countries and wrote papers and
gave talks on our forests and products, to hundreds of interested listeners.
....About six years ago Wolfram returned
to B.C. with his bride and
again we had the opportunity
to continue our talks about his forest.
....One does not have to be able to say those
incredible Latin words for trees – like good chap forester Gerry
Burch and his fine colleagues bespeak – to be excited about the
chance to visit the well groomed forests of West Ger-many. As stated at
the beginning, they really have been practicing sustained yield for five
hundred years – and they are very proud of it – and show results.
....First a few facts. Norway spruce ac-counts
for about sixty percent of Ger-many’s species – while fir
is about twenty five percent – with beech and sycamore filling in
the balance. There are about seven million hectares of forest land in
the country, being about one third of Germany’s area.
....One cannot help notice the full use land
has been put to over so many centuries. The Rhine Valley is hill to hill
farms, and as noted, in late April the first crops were coming up.
....West Germany produces about twenty seven
million cubic meters of wood product per year. This is just less than
half her yearly requirements, meaning that she must import about the equivalent
of thirty million cubic meters of product. Russia supplies about a third
of this and the rest comes from Scandinavia and North America.
....It was interesting to note Wolfram’s
words that “Russia sets the price, as they keep their price just
below the Scans in order to hold the market.” He did state that
they problems with the Russian quality control of lumber from time to
time. C.O.F.I. please note!
....There were many surprises in store for
this inlet logger, one being the viewing of B.C. Douglas fir trees about
one hundred and twenty five years old. One has to think of some intrepid
German forester arriving on the shores of British Columbia in 1850 and
gathering up Douglas fir seeds and re-
turning with them – by way of Cape Horn – to plant them
in the forests of Germany. Some of those old time foresters were pretty
....My German forester was very proud of
the big Douglas firs and when asked if they would ever be cut he answered
as an Egyptian would if I suggested the pyramids be leveled.
....Wolfram’s home is in a pictur-esque,
old town of Balingen, just outside the true Black Forest. In our talks,
it was brought home to me the closeness of the world now, when he said,
“Oh yes, Bill, if you go over to our town’s lumber yard
you can buy Canfor’s fibreboard.”
....We walked through a well wooded area
in the late afternoon and I noted the quality of the roads. They were
well laid out, well ditched and cul-verted and well graded. Made from
a limestone, he estimated their cost at $50 American per meter. Those
roads would carry log loads of forty tons, and were built by the government
through crown land and private holdings.
....We tried to find an equivalent title
in Canadian forestry for Wolfram’s job and finally settled on
something like government consultant of forest affairs for the province
of Baden Wurttenberg. He oversees an area of 8,000 hectares and has
eight foresters under him to supervise the area.
....His job entails all things to do with
the forests in that province. He issues cutting permits to both crown
and private forest holders. He issues permits and conducts auctions
for the gathering of firewood. He also issues hunting licenses for the
forest areas. He oversees the private seed orchards in the province
to see that their product is of good quality.
....His duties can also include arrang-ing
the sale of trees from crown or private land to mills in the area. He