by Bill Moore

They are obviously taking forest production very seriously, given that they planted four billion seedlings last year alone!”
....This remarkable statement came from Warren Mitchell of Williams Lake, who in a recent letter told me of his experiences on last October’s Festival of Forestry tour of China’s forests.
....The tour consisted of 24 of British Columbia’s young foresters, all graduates, with several years field and work experience. They were the front half of a reciprocal exchange that will bring 24 Chinese foresters to British Columbia in May as guests of Festival of Forestry for a tour of our forest areas.
....The exchange is the result of three years of nego-tiating with the Chinese Society of Forestry in Beijing – formerly Peking. Dr. Oskar Sziklai of the U.B.C. faculty of forestry was in charge of the tour and he did the job as an old China hand would do it – efficiently.
....This writer is always in awe of the learned professor. He has traveled the forestry world, drops me notes from the sands of Egypt (he says there used to be a forest there a few million years ago), or from a tree on a Greek island that some doctor swore under, thus the medical profession’s Hippocratic oath.
....For the past several years, Dr. Sziklai has been invited to China to give forestry lectures to advanced forestry students. It is well known the Chinese forestry people think most highly of him, and the 24 B.C. foresters that accompanied him were the beneficiaries of all this.
....By all accounts it was an exceptionally good tour. Letters and photos from the participants have been high in praise for their hosts.
....John Pichugin of B.C. forest Products says: “Our Chinese hosts treated us like royalty or diplomats 24 hours a day”


....The tour was flown by Cathay Pacific Airways from Vancouver to Hong Kong, a long 13-hour flight. The group then flew from Hong Kong to Beijing, one of the three capitals of the People’s Republic of China. Here they spent the next four days getting acclimatized, having professional meetings with Chinese foresters, attending banquets and visiting the great cultural sites nearby.
....Paul Birzins, with the ministry of forests in Prince George said: “The most spectacular historic site was the Wooden Pagoda, the oldest wood structure in the world. Built in 1056, this 67 metre larch and elm building has survived earthquakes, wars, and time. It is a testimony to the desirable building properties of wood.”
....Warren Mitchell – speaking of the Beijing area: “We were taken to some of the most important archeological finds of our times. Perhaps the terra-cotta army of the Emperor Qin was the most outstanding of these.”
....Gord Slugget of Skeena Sawmills: “In Beijing we were introduced to Dr. Wu Chung Lun, president of the Chinese Society of Forestry, who gave us an introduction to forestry in China at the Academy of Science buildings. A banquet hosted by Dr. Wu completed the formal visit to Beijing and the remainder of our time then was spent visiting the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace, Tianamin Square and shopping.”
....After these four days the tour broke up into three groups, each heading for a different forestry province in China.
....This group visited the Institute of Tropical Botany near the Burma/Laos border on the Mekong River.
....Here they saw research into agro-forestry, the combination of agricultural crops and trees such as alter-nate plantings of 2 rows of rubber trees with 6 to 8 rows of tea plants. They saw Ethno-botany – a research that
                                                         (Cont’d on pg. A8)

A6                                                                                                                      British Columbia Lumberman January, 1986

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    Bill Moore . . .
(Cont’d from pg. A/18)

studies the relationship between the native people in this sub- to tropical forest and the plants and trees they utilize.
....“We saw fast growing tropical tree species which were 70 to 80 feet in height, 14 inches dbh and 10 years old. Bamboo 40 to 50 feet tall. Teak sold by weight for $1.00 U.S. per kilogram.”
....Dr. Sziklai pointed out a hillside of odd looking pine trees that were all trunk with only a tuft of green at the top. This was caused by the heavy demand for firewood and the ripping off of the lower branches from 10-11 foot trees. The population of Yunan is huge and every twig is picked up for use.
....Louis Gagne, who works for the forest service out of Campbell River was also on the Yunan tour and adds his remarks. “Their forests have a high social value compared to our eco-nomic value. Production of food, energy and basic building material for local requirements seem to be as important as our production of timber for lumber and pulp.
....“Logging and sawmilling utilization appears very good. Productivity is not as critical as keeping a large number of people employed.”
....Mark Atherton of Victoria writes of the second group and their visit to Szechuan Province toward the center of China. This is a rarely visited area and they were to find the forest situation quite different from Yunan Province. They flew from Beijing to Chengdu.
....“The first area we visited was the Wolong Nature Reserve set aside because of its unique Panda bear habitat of critical importance to the survival of this endangered species. High elevation (3000 metres plus) reforestation is practiced in the reserve but once the plantation is established some of the follow up techniques and later seedling care leave a bit to be desired under our standards.”
....The third group went north to Shansi Province and landed in Datong. This group was to see more forestry than the other two and Randy Trerise,


forester for Pope & Talbot at Midway writes: “We toured Shansi Province where our itinerary concentrated on cultivation of high yield poplar as well as environmental protection (erosion control) of forests of black locust (acacia) pine and larch. To produce the poplar forests they use their improved strains of poplar which are planted as three-year-old trees. The planting holes are huge (2 feet x 2 ft. x 3 ft.) and are dug the year before planting. They are scheduled to be harvested when they are 10 years old.
“The wood yield is impressive, but it is hard to get used to a forest with one species planted in straight rows – as far as the eye can see!”
....As this is the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Forestry program (Sept. 1985, B.C. Lumberman) I would be remiss if I did not wave a flag a wee bit for all the committee people who have contributed their time and expertise to its quiet success.
Gord Sluggert makes the point for us in stating: “Now that I’m back, my wife says that I can wear her Festival of Forestry hardhat. Before we met she was an education student at Simon Fraser University and in the summer of 1973, SFU, UBC and University of Victoria students traveled to Ontario for a province-wide forestry tour sponsored by the Festival of Forestry (B.C. Lumber-man, July, 1973). She saved the hardhat, and until she left teaching in 1979 regularly, had a forestry program for her grade 5 class.”
....The second part of this reciprocal program will see the 24 Chinese foresters here in B.C. from May 11th to 25th, touring our forestry sites. If you should see them in your area give them a nice smile.
....Oh yes, come to think of it – did you know that we planted half a billion seedlings in all of Canada last year? Sure – give us time, we’ll catch up to the four billion seedlings in Chinas – some day. Or will we?

Keep out of the bight,

Bill Moore

A8                                                                                                                       British Columbia Lumberman January, 1986