Southern Post | Natural parks: the challenges behind cutting 20,000 trees

Along the trails of the Boisé Du Tremblay, trees and plants rub shoulders with the remains of healthy ash trees. Since the fall, the city of Longueuil has begun an extensive process of cutting down 20,000 trees in its landscape gardens, including nearly 17,000 ash trees. Besides the significant transformation of the landscape, this approach poses many challenges to the city.

“It’s complicated because these are sensitive environments. In places where there is water, you have to act when the ground freezes, because you can’t interfere in wetlands. Elsewhere, we can’t interfere with the habitat of the tree frog, or the habitat of migratory birds,” explains Friedrich Naud, Environmental Analyst at Longueuil Engineering.

The city plans to complete the cutting in 2024, a deadline that would have been brought forward were it not for the difficulty of finding staff.

Municipal council member Jonathan Tabbara asserts, “We could have gone faster if the shears in the market were ready to receive contracts, but we see them in the invitations to tenders, there is no bid.” They do not have the internal capacity to carry out an operation of this magnitude.

“Not many companies that are doing this, and those that have the necessary equipment, are also losing their employees,” Mr. Naud adds.

(Photo: Le Courrier du Sud – Michel Hersir)

Refill wooded areas

Without setting a date, the city intends to reforest the various spaces in the coming years. Mr. Nodd stresses the importance of maintaining environments with new plants, in particular to avoid the spread of invasive species.

“In the Parc de la Cité, for example, in some places, 95% of the vegetation on Earth is invasive species. There are dead ash trees on top, and there are species you don’t want to have, which replaces the desirable ones. In the long run, It will not give a good result if we do not act to ensure the preservation of the wooded island,” he emphasizes.

However, reforestation may pose supply challenges.

Municipal Councilor Jonathan Tabara and Environmental Analyst in the Department of Engineering Longueuil Frédéric Naud. (Photo: Le Courrier du Sud – Michel Hersir)

“The nurseries are usually small family businesses, which make a maximum of two, three or four types of trees. There you reach the city or the assembly and say: I need 15,000 trees! Capacity is not available”, notes Mr. Tabra, who ensures that the city Ready to put in the amounts needed to get there.

“We’re also looking at what we can do internally, but even if we start from a nursery here in Longueuil, we have to find the land and it can take up to 10 years before we start to get over our problems.” .

The latter also states that reforestation in Michel Chartrand Park is impossible as long as deer slaughter does not proceed.

“We have created farms for citizens with or without containers. Inside exclusion, the survival rate is 70%. Outside is 0%.

From Ash to Ash

In the past, very large numbers of elms were found in the Montreal area. In the 1940s, Dutch elm disease wiped out many species. The alternative species chosen was ash.

“About one in five trees in the city was ash. It was one of the best choices we could make in the urban environment, because it was resistant to insects, diseases, de-icing salts and had a great canopy,” explains Frédéric Naud.

However, in 2012 the emerald ash borer appeared in Longueuil and spread uncontrollably, killing ash trees at high speed.

She’s from Asia and she wasn’t causing any problems there. It’s as if our ladybird has landed in Africa and is going to wreak havoc on the sweet potato harvest,” explains Mr. Naud.

“Then, we better learn to diversify farms!” Mentionsed.

wood evaluation

(Photo: Le Courier de Sud – Denis Germain)

The wood of felled trees is used in different ways. In Michel-Chartrand Park, where it’s easy to get out of the woods, the city focuses on high-value timber. The latter allows in particular to make wood or hardwood floors, for example.

The city also sells grade B lumber, which is smaller, from pulp and paper and the lumber is shredded, among other things to industries that want to substitute fuel oil to heat their industrial process. She can also use the chips in landscaping.

At Boisé Du Tremblay, the wood is mostly crushed into chips and left in the woods.

arcade

If the trails of the various nature parks have to be closed, it is because fallen trees are such a great danger to pedestrians, the city emphasized in the fall. The danger was also greater where the dead ash trees were.

“Unlike other species that will remain upright even after they are dead, the roots of the ash tree will rot at the base and the tree will fall,” explains Friedrich Naud.

The tracks are now reopened to pedestrians, except for a portion of the Boisé Du Tremblay and the tracks used for winter sports in the Parc de la Cité and Parc Michel-Chartrand. For these last two cases, the city plans to carry out work in the fall.

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