The Shelterbelt Decision Support System [SB-DSS] – The Shelterbelt Decision Support System [SB-DSS] – how does this free tool give value to farmers and the potential for cash in pocket?
“in its latest climate change action plan, the Saskatchewan government is proposing to pay farmers for storing carbon, not just charging agricultural producers for emitting carbon into the atmosphere, “ reports U of S News. Dr. Colin Laroque from the University of Saskatchewan will present information about this free app – a tool for Saskatchewan farmers – to place a cash value on sustainable shelterbelts. The Free app is the Shelterbelt Decision Support System [SB – DSS] calculates the carbon offset value of shelterbelts, and isn’t that a fantastic way for farmers to know what their shelterbelt is worth under the $50 per tonne CO2E tax expected to roll out in 2022. This app is invaluable, as it also helps to suggest the best types of trees depending on the location in the province along with planting guidelines. Not only will farmers reap the environmental benefits, they can see the carbon offset value for the carbon pricing system.
This program for National Forest Week is brought to you by the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas an environmental non-profit charity that was created to preserve and restore the 326-acre Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area and the 148-acre George Genereux Urban Regional Park. Our work reinforces the 1979 City Council decision designating these afforestation areas on the western fringe of Saskatoon to “be preserved in perpetuity.” They are important habitat for wildlife as well as semi-wild public spaces for recreation and nature immersion. The larger of these two areas is named after Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889-1982), who has been called the “first global conservationist” and in recognition of this he was made the first Honorary Life Member of the World Wildlife Fund in 1969. A British forester who also homesteaded and studied in Saskatoon, he dedicated his entire life unfailingly to the preservation and planting of trees and forests.
” If you devote 22% of a quarter section, that’s 160 acres, to trees, you can double the crops.’ It’s a question of planting trees strategically. The trees reduce the speed of the wind, modify the climate, they modify the difference in temperature from day and night, and above all the trees make it possible for the earthworms to come into the land, and the earthworm casts its own weight every 24 hours. And a well-populated acre of worms casts 30 tonnes of worm castings per acre per year. That’s equal to 30 tonnes of farmyard manure on that land.” Richard St. Barbe Baker who also explains , that “We’re stabilizing the sand with a series of spiral shelters – rows of trees planted in semicircles to catch the winds and create vortices of air. The same thing would be valuable on the Canadian prairies where straight shelter belts cause snow to accumulate.”
This is one session in a week long series of events celebrating National Forest Week with a theme – “Our Forests – Continually Giving”
Trembling Aspen grove Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, CA
What is the value of trees? Do trees have an economic value to the city of Saskatoon?
“A large, healthy tree can be valued as high as $16,000, a city report says. The same report estimates Saskatoon’s elm trees, on both private and public property, are worth at least $500 million. “(Tank, 2017)
In 1972, Saskatoon’s park and recreation board has “ventured into a massive project of planting 200,000 trees for local parks on 600 acres of land south of Diefenbaker Park and south of the CNR station.”(Cronkite, 1972)
What would 200,000 trees x $16,000 calculate to? Three billion two hundred million dollars ($3,200,000,000) is the net worth of the mature trees on the afforestation areas. This figure does not include the new tree growth or native growth such as Trembling Aspen and shrubbery which are also coming along in the afforestation areas.
James Wood, president of the SOS (Save our Saskatchewan) Elms Coalition Inc. says that, “Trees are very important to Saskatoon people historically.” (Tank, 2018)
Saskatoon was a pioneer leading the way in afforestation in 1972. “Afforestation and reforestation projects help mitigate climate change, increase the resilience of local communities, produce numerous sustainable development co benefits, and capitalize on the synergies among the Rio Conventions, helping also to combat desertification and preserve biodiversity” Christiana Figueres UNFCCC (2013)
If the value of a mature tree 50 years old is taken at $193,250, then what are the afforestation areas consisting of 200,000 mature trees planted in 1972 worth to the City of Saskatoon? The trees in the afforestation area are 44 years old, so in the year 2022, 200,000 * $193,250 works out to a figure of thirty eight billion six hundred fifty three million ($38,653,000,000) or roughly thirty nine billion dollars. The value is actually much, much more than this if the entirety of the afforestation area of 2018 is factored in including trees not afforested in 1972 such as the trees already existing on the property, new sapling growth, the mature Trembling Aspen groves, buffaloberry and snowberry bushes which have accumulated in the afforestation area.
Of concern to all! A tree is worth $193,250
According to Professor T.M.Das of the University of Calcutta. A tree living for 50 years will generate $31,250 worth of oxygen, provide $62,000 worth of air pollution control, control soil erosion and increase soil fertility to the tune of $31,250, recycle $37,500 worth of water and provide a home for animals worth $31,250. This figure does not include the value of fruits, lumber or beauty derived from trees. Just another sensible reason to take care of our forests. (Update forestry)
On average, each Elm Tree provides the City of Saskatoon, overall benefits of: $257 every year.
One Elm tree will reduce atmospheric carbon by 1,506 pounds (0.753 tons) at a “carbon price of $50/ton” How many mature trees are in the afforestation areas? Over 200,000. Perhaps each various species will remove about this many tons of carbon, the savings to the City of Saskatoon every year in carbon sequestration is seven million five hundred thirty thousand dollars $7,530,000.
The National Tree Calculator states that ” Most car owners of an “average” car (mid-sized sedan) drive 12,000 miles generating about 11,000 pounds of CO2 every year.” Saskatoon’s census metropolitan area population on the 2016 census was 295,095.
Fines are imposed in Saskatoon for” unauthorized excavations, removal, relocation, pruning or damage in part of whole of existing trees”, and this is covered under City Council Policy, #C09-011 entitled “Trees on Public Property” (1989) or the Parks Bylaw #7667. These bylaws have a formula for a city appraiser to calculate the value of trees as it is recognized that “trees on City property are “living” assets owned by the City of Saskatoon and maintained as a legacy for the citizens of Saskatoon. ”
The afforestation areas are not in municipal reserve placed before the city by former city councillor Pat Lorje April 25, 2016, and reviewed May 39, 2017. As the afforestation areas are not a part of the city’s urban reserves, nor do the afforestation areas belong to city’s park space inventory there is no funding available by any city department.
That although there is some monetary value to the afforestation areas, these facts remain;
Nothing is financed, nor planned for the general public in regards to an urban regional park as the afforestation areas are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
Nothing is similarly in the long range planning in terms of curbing the illegal activity, and illegal trespass which have gone on for years, in the forms of fencing or gates to prevent access by motorized vehicle. The afforestation areas belong to land bank, and as such there is NO money that the city can allocate to the afforestation areas for any purpose whatsoever.
Nothing is in the planning stages for erecting signs so that the vacant looking lands are defined as city owned lands, as there is no money allocated for the afforestation areas.
The afforestation areas named as urban regional parks in 1979 by city council only and not by the parks department. The afforestation areas belong to land bank, they are NOT in municipal reserve, and not in city park space.
The afforestation areas were ‘preserved in perpetuity’ on paper by city council in 1972 and not in real life as has been evident by the several community volunteer clean ups removing huge amounts of trash and the ‘George Genereux” afforestation area which has received no clean up at all.
There have been grass fires in the afforestation areas over the years, and two massive grass fires at the nearby “Buck’s auto parts” requring fire protective services from both the City of Saskatoon and the RM of Corman Park 344. If a grass fire gets away and becomes a forest fire in the afforestation area, it would have devastating consquences for the neighbouring residents of Cedar Villa Estates, and for those train cars carrying flammable goods in the adjacent CN Chappell Yards Train station. There is NO funding to fill in the existing large fire hole built to burn wood pallets for campfire parties, or convert it to a fire pit of city or provincial standards. As you will see on reading this article, there is no funding for signs in regards to any fires in the afforestation areas.
The city and the MVA have the opportunity to follow up on Truth and Reconciliation for our first nations peoples of Saskatoon. “We respectfully acknowledge that the afforestation areas exist upon Treaty 6 territory and the traditional lands of First Nations and Métis people”. However, as the afforestation areas are not part of a municipal reserve, there is NO carry through to protect, conserve, or take care of take care of the riparian woodlands, wetlands, or grasslands of the afforestation areas in any planning at all.
April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017 report. Society to prevent Dutch Elm Disease. “According 1999 tree inventory and value calculation at that time, AB has an estimated 750,000 mature elm trees. A total of 250,000 elms, valued at $700 million dollars”
Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail)
Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year). Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers Please and thank you! Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated. Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date!
“St. Barbe’s unique capacity to pass on his enthusiasm to others. . . Many foresters all over the world found their vocations as a result of hearing ‘The Man of the Trees’ speak. I certainly did, but his impact has been much wider than that. Through his global lecture tours, St. Barbe has made millions of people aware of the importance of trees and forests to our planet.” Allan Grainger
“From the forest and wilderness come the tonics and bark which brace mankind…A town is saved, not more by the righteous men in it than by the woods and swamps that surround it…”
-Henry David Thoreau
“This generation may either be the last to exist in any semblance of a civilised world or that it will be the first to have the vision, the bearing and the greatness to say, ‘I will have nothing to do with this destruction of life, I will play no part in this devastation of the land, I am determined to live and work for peaceful construction for I am morally responsible for the world of today and the generations of tomorrow.'”
Richard St. Barbe Baker