Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Today, this marvelous Elm, along with all the other trees in this hedgerow, were cut down.  This hedgerow measures 2000 feet  or 600 m in length, and features beautiful mature trees such as the elm above, interspersed with maples, ash, birch, beech and aspen, to name but a few.

Today, this is what's left:
Basically, it amounts to a whole big pile of "sweet fuck-all".  At least, that what we call it in french.
The brush that was stripped above will be left here to rot over the next 20 years or so.  No one's coming to clean this up - that would be too easy.
 Note the old cedar fence-post in the above photo.  It gives you an idea of the scale of this tree.
As it is, our white birches have suffered heavily in Quebec.  They're top-heavy trees that split during our ice storm on 1998, in addition to being attacked by leafminer.  There were a lot of healthy specimens in this hedgerow.

This is what remains of the beautiful Elm in the summertime photo above, one of the last standing in this region.  Those that weren't decimated by Dutch Elm disease are now killed by man.  It probably took 30 seconds with a chain saw to cut down this 100-plus year old tree.  The travesty defies logic.
Is this what we call sustainable land-management?

Is this responsible stewardship?

Does this make any sense whatsoever?

Why is the Ministry of Agriculture subsidising us as a MAPAQ-registered farm to plant windbreak trees,  when these mature and healthy trees are being cut down on neighboring MAPAQ fields?

Who makes these decisions and who approves the desecration of these necessary and beautiful trees?
Trees clean our soil through phytoremediation.  That's a fancy word for saying they purify the soil, especially important in areas where fertilizers, pesticides and animal wastes are used, such as the fields above.  Water from these fields leads to run-off that leads to streams that leads to rivers that supplies us with drinking water.  Not to mention the corn, wheat and soy and their by-products that are grown here are found in probably 90% of all processed foods, in some form or another.  You should be worried.  Very worried.

Trees act as a windbreak and a sound-break, especially important considering this hedgerow is a mere 2000 feet or 600 m from THE most heavily-traveled route in North America, the Quebec City - Windsor Corridor.  Again, logic is defied.  We're putting up man-made, hideously disgusting sound barriers that are so unaesthetic people would rather hear the drone of traffic rather than view the concrete monstrosities we're currently putting up.  Let's not even bring the cost, funded by your tax money, into play.

Aren't we supposed to lessen our carbon-footprint?  Aren't we supposed to be concerned about climate change?  Trees act as a carbon sink.  According to stats from the USDA, one acre of trees take in 6 tonnes of carbon dioxide, and put out 4 tonnes of oxygen.  Last time I checked, oxygen was a pretty rudimentary necessity.

The senselessness of this act shocks and dismays me on so many levels.  The utter disregard of nature, logic and common sense can't even be measured.

I am dumbfounded and saddened.  Those who understand the intangible energy and spiritual significance  these trees emanate know where I'm coming from.

And those who don't?  They'll never know just how much they're missing.


kristieinbc said...

I am so, so sorry. It takes my breath away. Is there any media outlet you could contact with the story?

Shim Farm said...

Kristie, I am so dumb-founded and shocked, I don't know what my course of action should be.

Activism and environmentalism can be all consuming (ask me how I know), and I don't have the emotional energy to deal with it anymore.

I've already called the city and asked for a municipal inspector to come by. First steps first...

Nothing can replace those trees, and I've shed more tears in the past 24 hours than I have in the past 5 years.

I feel like I've been wrung out.

eagergridlessbeaver said...

what a shocking loss. was that a favorite tree of yours? I feel really bad about this waste. there should be something done about this to prevent this from happening. I agree I would get on the horn and get some media out there..it looks like every tree is gone and there are limits for cutting all trees down when harvesting..but that might only apply to bigger parcels. It is carnage either way.

Shim Farm said...

Hey Beav, yeah, that WAS my favorite tree. I walked over to it and bawled my eyes out when I saw what was left. It's gone forever. There is NOTHING they can plant that could replace that old Elm - NOTHING. I drove by the farm where the logs are stored and it's shocking - the amount of wood is unbelievable. It's all being transformed into firewood.

Today I told Eric if we were to put a For Sale sign up on the farm - I'd be outta here. I don't think I have "the fight" left in me.

We're not idiots. Walmart is already 5 kilometers away as the crow flies. It's just a matter of time before it'll all be paved over.

You know, you have days, where you keep your nose to the grindstone and keep chuggin' along, because it's the right thing to do?

And other days, you look up and say, what the #$%@ are we doing this for?

Well I'm having one of those weeks.

Demelza said...

I am shocked and saddened by what has happened to the trees. Sometimes the decisions made by man just totally defy all logic. No wonder the world is in the mess it is in.

You may not have the energy for activism etc, but you are doing something by writing your blog to highlight the issue.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Demelza, sorry I missed your comment from last week! I haven't even followed up with the city regarding their course of action, but they did send an inspector out to have a look. I saw him walk up and down the hedgerow. I also spoke to a lawyer friend who said as a farm, the owner can do whatever he damn well pleases, which is not right. I am still dumbfounded. I've looked on-line, can't seem to find any Canadian legislation regarding the protection of hedgerows like they have in the UK. The UK legislation is under fire since it only protects approximately 20% of a farm's hedgerow, however, it's a start. At least the government acknowledges there is a need. So I have more letter-writing in my future, and we'll see what we can do.

Robin said...

That is so sad and awful. It was really pretty before. Lee and I probably wont be at our place forever either as city limits expand. Our place will probably end up sub divided and all that. :(

Shim Farm said...

Robin, I swear I was in tears when I saw what was left. As near to hysterical as I've been in decades. It's just so disgusting and mindless.

I don't know what's going to happen here, development-wise. We're on prime land and we're close to Montreal. There's a dezoned development to the north and south of us already, but still lots of farm land surrounding us. If only we had a crystal ball...

You know the crazy people who chain themselves to trees or buildings as loggers and developers with bulldozers come through? That's my style, and I see it in my future. We need to rethink our whole urban development, increase property size in certain areas, decrease, i.e. allow multi-family housing in other parts, and again, the NIMBY syndrome is prevalent. We can't have our cake and eat it too, but sustainable thinking isn't everyone's forté, unfortunately.

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