I was sure they would outlive me.”

This morning’s Citizens’ Alliance Newsletter included Gary Schneider’s comments from this weekend’s post-Fiona ”Tree Tribute” in Bonshaw; in part:

I wish I had something really inspiring to say, but like all of you, I’m heartbroken by the damage Fiona inflicted on our beautiful trees.

I’m heartbroken for all the wildlife that may not have nesting habitat or  source of food for the foreseeable future.  I’m saddened when I think of not only ourselves, but our children and grandchildren, not having the pleasure of spending time in the wonderful woodlands.  The damage has been traumatic.  In many many ways, we have lost old friends.  There are trees down at Macphail — big pines, a huge hemlock, — that have stood beside me for decades.  I was sure they would outlive me.

Yet when I step back and try to make some sense of this madness, I have to admit that our forests were already in bad shape.  Though we have trees in the Wabanaki / Acadian Forest that can live up to 450 years old, before Fiona our trees averaged about 50 years — a result of overharvesting and land clearance.

Our practices led to the many shallowly rooted White Spruce stands, Trembling Aspen, White Birch; and not enough Red Oak, Sugar Maple, Yellow Birch and Red Spruce.

Gary is, for many of us, our diplomatic representative to the kingdom of the trees, so what he says bears careful listening to.