Dynamic Forest


Nearing the end of a lifetime in the boreal forest, a retired forester writes a passionate plea for rational, science-based forest management.

The boreal forest is constantly changing, often dramatically. We like to picture it as a stable, balanced system. Really, it is anything but stable. The boreal forest is dynamic.

For over sixty years, forester Malcolm F. Squires has seen mature forests within protected areas devastated by insects, moose, wind, and wildfire. While the forests often return from this destruction, they are never quite the same. A naturally balanced boreal forest is a human notion that does not match the reality of nature. If we don’t soon recognize and accept that reality and stop making irrational demands that a forest be “protected” from change or human management, we may be dooming them to disaster.


This is solid stuff — a comprehensive, factual review of why the boreal forest, which covers much of Canada, northern Europe, and Russia, benefits more from clear cutting than from selection harvesting, a program favoured by some. In a constructive and non-confrontational way, Mac Squires, a professional forester with decades of experience working in Canada’s boreal forests, examines how the trees in the forest reproduce, grow, and react to intervention — by natural disturbance and by humans — using all of this to explain his carefully considered position. For anyone interested in the health of the forest, I urge you to read this book.

Michael R. Innes, former Vice-President Environment, Abitibi-Price

Never been in the boreal forest, or even if you have, take this instructive tour through the eyes and mind of one of Canada’s most perceptive and knowledgeable professional foresters.

Ken Armson, former Provincial Forester, Ontario

A clear, accessible narrative … an interesting companion read alongside The Hidden Life of Trees, by Peter Wohleben.

The Chronicle-Journal

About the Authors

Malcolm F. Squires

Posted by Dundurn Guest on October 18, 2016

Malcolm F. Squires

Malcolm (Mac) F. Squires graduated in 1963 from the University of New Brunswick with a B.Sc. in forestry. He worked first in Newfoundland and then in Ontario for thirty-four years as an industrial forester. He then moved to forestry consulting, while advocating for the boreal forest through visual art, writing, and speaking. He lives in Thunder Bay, Ontario.