December 28, 2017

The Perks of Boundary Ribboning

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This week, as winter bears down on us all here in the great frozen north, Brad takes us back to a warm summer of ribboning in the forests surrounding Meadow Lake. Setting boundary ribbons is an important part of mapping out cutblocks for contractors. When you see the ribbons are hung, you know harvesting work is about to begin. Sounds like Brad became a natural during his time in Meadow Lake this summer. This could be you next year... and, how nice do fresh berries and summer heat sound right about now. While we wait for the return of warm weather, we wish you all a brrright and happy holiday season to all! 

Brad Constantine was selected as one of Greenest Workforce Green Dream bloggers during the summer of 2017. Brad shared some great insight into what it's like to work in the forest industry and to live in Meadow Lake. We'll be re-sharing Brad's summer of blogs over the next several weeks so you can share in his adventure and more about the great opportunities that await you in the forest industry. For more information on the Greenest Workforce visit: http://thegreenestworkforce.ca/index.php/en/home/

By Brad Constantine on August 14, 2017

Being a summer student in operation with Tolko Prairie Woodlands, a huge portion of the work we do is Riparian Management Areas and Visual Sensitive Area boundary ribboning. This task is extremely important when preparing a block for the contractors to begin work. The reason that we focus a lot on these boundary lines is to ensure the harvesting practices are not interrupting the land around waterbodies to maintain erosion protection naturally and to provide habitat placement that many animals rely on being there. We also do visual sensitive boundaries to protect areas that enhance the scenery value in a particular area. For instance, if there is a lake that is widely used by the public we put a boundary on it.

The main benefit of boundary ribboning from a student position really is that is aids in getting out into to the field and provides hands-on experience. Ribboning allows you to work on compassing, your judgment of distance in the bush and really allows you to see the composition of the forest in a first-person perspective. Having students on the ground helps our supervisors and the planners with a second look at the block for things that are important such as nesting sites and dens of various birds and animals.

Another good perspective of ribboning is what you find out in the bush. Once, I was ribboning with Brett (one of the students I work with) and we had to put a 200-metre buffer on a block that was soon to be harvested. We have seen plenty of deer in the area and as we were running our lines through the bush, Brett stumbled over some woody debris and behind it revealed whitetail deer skull from a coyote kill from the previous winter. It was exceptionally cool that we found this and the fact one of the points of the racks looks to have been gnawed off by a predator of some sort. Most of the time when we work the boundaries, it is very hot out in the woods. By mid-afternoon, you’re exhausted from the sun but having a vast supply of raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries growing in amongst the rest of the ground vegetation is very refreshing to find and consume.

All in all, my personal opinion of ribboning is it is a task that is a great foundation to begin gaining the much-needed experience. The bonus with ribboning is that you can always go back and fix your line if you mess up as it is a quick fix if you get to close to a boundary. Even from the beginning of the summer, I have seen a huge improvement in myself when putting in a boundary line. At the start, I was second-guessing my distances and whether I was tying ribbons close enough so you can see a nice straight line. Now it almost seems second nature.