Exploring The Relationship Between Forests, Carbon and Communities
By Olivia Larkin | April 23rd, 2018
A couple of weeks ago I had the great opportunity to visit a client of ours at their operations in New Brunswick. Our clients at Community Forests International are an environmental start up operating since 2007. They primarily work in protecting and replanting New Brunswick forests in order to connect people to their communities and forests and protect the environment through forests that can offset tonnes of carbon. This type of project is new for us as we are not environmental or carbon emissions experts.
After landing in Moncton I met the team and we drove to the organization’s main forest site. It is 705 acres that was owned by Susan and Clark, draft dodgers from New York who bought the land in the 1970s and planted one of Canada’s first Organic Farms. They worked hard to preserve and take care of the land and fought against clear-cutting forests nearby when then could.
We had a lovely lunch with Susan, who still lives on the land, where we heard great stories from the past and some updates on what’s happening to lands around her. We then went to walk around the forest. After talking with the team for hours about their operations and work, I was still learning more. We trekked through the snow while I tried to keep as many forestry facts in my head that I could hold. The best surprise was the tiny houses they had built in the woods! Forest Intl. had hosted two international design competitions to design an eco-friendly tiny home in the forest. The two homes that the team had built were outstanding! The second home had been covered in pine that had been treated with a Japanese method to waterproof and keep the bugs out. The method is essentially to char the outside of the wood, that’s it!
Following this visit we drove up to a site were we could see recent a recent clear-cut. On the drive up we had a very East Coast encounter with a driver of a pickup who wanted to know where we were going and why, just because he was curious. Seeing the clear-cut was very striking as the extent of it was massive. On average, 32,000 hectares of forest has been clearcut on private land every year in NB since 1990.
The next day we conducted a very successful Impakt Discovery Session in an old school that now acts as the Forests Intl. offices. We explored what Forests Intl. does best and how they can position themselves in the best way to potential corporate partners. It was a great kick-off to a very exciting project.
One of the things I love most about working with Impakt is how much I am able to learn about different issues that are affecting our country and our world. With each project I become a mini-expert and become very passionate about that issue. Right now, I know that 25% of the world’s carbon emissions can be offset by our forests, and so now more than ever we need to protect and restore the world’s best “self-replicating solar powered carbon vacuums,”* aka trees.
* in the words of Dale Prest, Ecosystem Service Specialist/ Old Forest Lead (carbon) at Community Forests International