The current coronavirus pandemic has shed uncertainty onto this year's reforestation season in British Columbia’s interior.
The seasons of up to 5,000 tree planters have been delayed by BC’s chief forester and are currently being pushed to early May according to CBC News.
“The COVID-19 pandemic is creating huge uncertainty for everyone involved in making the Interior planting season a success; the situation is fluid and changing every day,” noted Diane Nicholls of BC Timber Sales and Western Forestry Contractors Association.
Close to 5,000 workers are usually split into camps to start their planting season by mid-April. The workers plant trees in areas that have been harvested and left with stumps and debris—and wasps.
Thousands of jobs and millions of seedlings could be affected by the delay.
Nicholls noted that this year was supposed to be a particularly large season with over 300 million trees planned to be planted throughout BC’s interior.
Dan 'Catman' Landry is a tree planter who planned to start his season at the beginning of April. He is what planters refer to as a “lowballer"—someone who plants trees at a decreased rate.
Catman, who is heading into his fifth season, told The Post Millennial,: “I was originally supposed to start on April 6 but as of now we can't start anything until May 1. Luckily I’m in a position right now where I don’t have to be stressed out about money but I kind of feel for all the planters who are in a position where they’ve only planted through last summer and have been relying on EI through the fall and winter."
"If I was in their position I’d be a little stressed out.”
He added that he is now spending his free time drinking coffee and watching Game of Thrones.
The executive director of the Western Forestry Contractors Association, John Betts said that meeting expectations will be hard to do with the shortened season.
“It's remotely possible … if the season's weather co-operates and we end up pushing the season into June and July, but I think a few million seedlings are at risk,” he said.
The forestry industry has been labelled as an essential service by the BC government, so tree planting will continue though extra precautions will have to be taken.