In Canada, Canfor’s operations source a significant proportion of our fibre from our forest tenures, where we are responsible for forest management. In the US, we buy logs from private landowners and don’t manage forests directly. In 2015, Canfor planted 78 million trees in BC and Alberta. In addition to purchasing seedling from local nurseries, an important part of our reforestation program in central BC includes our dedicated seedling nursery – the J.D. Little Forestry Centre in Prince George.
J.D. Little Forest Centre had a phenomenal growing record last year with a total of 9.9 million spruce seedlings grown in 2015. This is the largest annual total grown in over 20 years. Since it was built in 1982, the nursery has grown over 270 million seedlings.
There’s a lot that takes place in the different greenhouses from when the seeds are planted to when the seedling are sent out to be planted. In just over a year at the nursey, the seedlings are exposed to the equivalent of three years in the natural environment.
Here’s a quick overview of the life of a seedling at J.D. Little Forest Centre:
- March – seeds are sown in greenhouses and germination takes place within a few days.
- Approximately 4 weeks later – the small seedlings are thinned to one seedling per cavity which gives them the best chance to grow to the specifications necessary to survive in the bush – including ample roots and the proper balance of height to diameter growth. Without this attention, the seedling would be susceptible to snow, vegetation or drought damage.
- Spring and Summer – the seedlings continue to grow through the spring and early summer with nursery staff regulating moisture, nutrients, heat and light.
- July – shade cloths are used to restrict daylight hours to 10 hours a day to limit top growth and encourage the approximately 18 cm tall seedlings to set bud.
- From July until October – the seedling directs its energy to growing roots and caliper (diameter of the stem) and although this stage is less obvious, it is a critical stage in seedling development.
- Mid-October – the trees are lifted, packaged in bundles and frozen. The trees are held at minus 2 degrees Celsius.
- Spring –the seedlings are thawed, a process which takes about a week. The seedlings are then shipped to the bush and planted within a week.
Thanks to our dedicated nursery team, a healthy crop of hearty seedlings is well underway to being ready for the upcoming planting season.