Retired forester seeks nominations for New Brunswick’s great trees

November 28, 2016

By: CBC News

David Palmer of Fredericton is looking for nominations of a different kind to be included in a new book.

The longtime forester wants nominations for a second edition of The Great Trees of New Brunswick.

The first edition was produced 30 years ago by the late David Folster and the Canadian Forestry Association of New Brunswick.

The book included 50 great trees, but Palmer said a lot of native trees of New Brunswick were left out.

“Going through this book I thought it would be interesting to do a new edition,” said Palmer, a past president of the York Sunbury woodlot owners.

“First of all, let’s go around and have a look at how many of those original great trees we can find, what shape they’re in and document their existence.”

Palmer said white pine, elms and sugar maples were all in the first book and likely will be in the second as well, but he also wants to see the lesser-known native species that don’t stand out.

Trees that didn’t make the earlier work include yellow, grey and white birch, red spruce and black spruce.

“So what we want to do this time around is we want to try and focus on including as many of the native trees, the 32 native tree species in New Brunswick as we can.”

What is a great tree?

Asked what a makes a great tree in his eyes, Palmer said size is one thing and visual prominence is another.

The cover of the first edition of The Great Trees of New Brunswick, published in 1987. (Contributed/Conservation Council of New Brunswick)

“If you go up to Perth-Andover and ask where the greatest tree is, they’re either going to tell you about the pine they moved the highway for, or they’re going to tell you about the big English white oak down on Main Street,” said Palmer, adding that particular pine is the biggest tree measured in New Brunswick

“We look at height, we look at size, but we also look at form,” Palmer said.

The province has lots of trees, the forester said, but there are some rare species, including butternut, found in the St. John River Valley, and bur oak, which can be found in a cluster at Grand Lake.

Black ash can be included in the rare trees list as well, Palmer said.

Finding a smooth-barked beech tree is also rare in the province. Palmer said 96 per cent of beeches are diseased and dying but one in Keswick Ridge has already been nominated for inclusion in the book.

Strong bond

Palmer admitted it is hard to explain the affection people have for certain trees on private or public lands, but he said most people in New Brunswick have had some contact with the forest and seem to have a bond with it.

Palmer said he hopes the book will be a legacy and provide recognition of some of the great trees with a marker or plaque so they can be viewed by anyone interested.

“I think trees are an integral part of the history of New Brunswick, and every New Brunswicker has some kind of connection with trees.”

Nominations for the book can be sent to Palmer at [email protected]ca or the Conservation Council of New Brunswick at [email protected] Palmer said the trees will be verified on a field visit before the final trees are selected for the book.

As for his favourite tree, Palmer said it is the yellow birch.

“I love the silvery yellow bark. There’s nothing quite like it, when you rub the twigs in the spring, even this time of year, when you rub the bark off the twig with your nail you have that wintergreen smell.”

By: CBC News

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