exploration Archives | West Wind Hardwood
Get Lost in a Forest

Get Lost in a Forest

Sometimes you just don’t know how important something is until it’s gone, or until you go somewhere that doesn’t have it.  Travel is that way.   Much can be learned by watching the land from the window of an airplane, train, or car. It opens the eyes; gives one pause to say, ‘Wow, I had no idea’.  Forests can be that way too.

But what is a forest?  The food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) defines forest land as an area where the tree canopy covers more than 10% of the total area and the trees, when mature, can grow to a height of more than 15 feet.  It does not include land that is predominantly urban or used for agricultural purposes.  And land that temporarily has no trees can still be considered forest when the disturbance is known to be temporary and trees are expected to grow back soon (i.e., after harvesting). Naturally caused additions/removals of tree cover (i.e., fire or pests) are included.

Stats…well, they can be manipulated any which way but here I go.  Forested area: (as of 2010) Denmark has 12.8%, the UK has 11.9%, Australia has 19.4%, Germany has 31.8% and Canada has a whopping 42%.

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Photos by Jan Nielsen – December 2011 – Denmark
Notice the farmer has tilled around the mound of trees; I am told most of these mounds reflect Viking burials (Left)
Beech Tree Forest with Jan’s Cousin/Wife and Me (Shelley) (Right)

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Trees of the Southwest Corner of Down Under

Trees of the Southwest Corner of Down Under

The region of Western Australia is a special corner of the world – now one of my favourite places for bush walking and just being out in the woolly wild. Well, it could be if I lived there  Much of the plant life in these forests is unique to the south-west of Western Australia. Trees such as the tingle only occur in this small area and as such provide a window to the past. Some of the plants have origins that can be traced back 65 million years to the super continent Gondwana when Australia was joined with what are now Africa, India, Antarctic and South America.

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Australia: My Country

Australia: My Country

“I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding plains”

by Dorothea Mackellar Originally titled “Core of my Heart”


Australia may not be ‘my’ country but my youngest daughter lives there, and her heart is in Australia.  Nor was Australia on my ‘bucket list’ prior to her relocation but having just spent 4-weeks enjoying Western Australia, I know I’ve left something behind and I’ll be back, no question!

Jan read Bill Bryson’s book “In a Sunburned Country”; I’ve just finished it.  It’s apparent we are in awe of this country.  So little is known; so much yet to explore; so many wondrous things to experience.  Absolutely loved the dry heat!  Let me say unequivocally, “moss doesn’t grow there” and I’m a Vancouver girl – born and bred.

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From There And Back

A Journey by John and Phyllis Wrobel

On December 3, we embarked on our journey to South America aboard the Golden Princess leaving from Los Angeles (temp 64F).

Cabo San Lucas, Puntarenas and Peru all shared desert dunes, high humidity and throngs of people selling everything on the streets.  Alpaca clothing was popular in South America.  Four stops in Chile gave us time to enjoy the lush regions, historic sites, local markets and the Casablanca Valley wine region. Read more

Forest Fact: What’s in a Name?


Logger – usually refers to a number of workers whose job it is to harvest timber and bring it to a mill. The term “lumberjack” is similar to logger but is not used in BC. It is an eastern North American term.

Faller – Fallers are specialists who may have voluntarily become certified for this dangerous position. They are specifically trained to hand fall trees and are highly skilled.

Forester – usually refers to a Registered Professional Forester (RPF). Foresters have university degrees, or equivalent, specializing in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Tech or Technologist – usually refers to a Registered Forest Technologist (RFT). RFTs have a two-year college diploma, or equivalent, in forestry and have spent at least two years articling before passing a rigorous registration exam.

Accredited Timber Cruiser (ATC) – a cruiser is a specialist who is trained to accurately figure out how much and the quality of each tree species is available for harvesting. A cruiser has on-the-job training and must demonstrate competency before being allowed to use the title ATC. Note that RPFs & RFTs may also be ATCs.

Accredited Timber Evaluator (ATE) – a timber evaluator is a specialist similar to an ATC however, the timber evaluator has more experience and is able to supervise a team of cruisers. Like ATCs, ATEs must demonstrate their competency before being allowed to use the ATE designation. Note that RPFs & RFTs may also be ATEs.

My World of Wood

Wood is my world; the world that gives me an opportunity to exist; to raise a family; make my mark in life. The cycle of dependence is large and varied. It’s a world of relative grace and comfort thanks to that wood in those trees. Yet the term ‘wood’ is rather loosely used, and I often wonder what defines ‘wood’ in other people’s worlds.

How do we find wood useful? Could a rough board or an old stump qualify? Some suggest it would best be served in its original ‘tree’ state. Loved but untouched.

Culturally modified & will live to see another day.Culturally modified in a very utilitarian, one-time fashion.

(left) Culturally modified & will live to see another day. (right) Culturally modified in a very utilitarian, one-time fashion.

In a woodworker’s world is there an expectation that ‘wood’ needs to be re-manned; touched by human and/or machine ‘hands’ to be valued? Its form altered; enhanced? Or is wood……..trees…….best left alone; yet even mammals and birds; insects and amphibians do not leave trees unmarked. What is natural?

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