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LUMBERING AND LUMBERJACKS

Updated on January 8, 2012

In Canada 40% of the land is wraped by coniferous forests. These forests extend for about 3,500 km across the country in a board, continuous belt, from New Foundland in the east to British Columbia and Yukon in the west. Lumbering is one of the most significant occupations in the country. About one third of the forest products of the world come from Canada and it is also leading exporter of the world.

Lumbering activity is carried out in winter, when the ground is covered with snow. The cut logs can be easily heaved over the frozen ground and piled on the frozen rivers to be transported later, when the ice melts in spring. Some farmers also double up as lumberjacks because crop cultivation comes to a standstill throughout winter months.

The people who carry out lumbering are known as lumberjacks. The basic work of the lumberjacks is to hack down the trees, chop them into logs of suitable size and haul the logs across the ground to the frozen rivers. In spring, when the rivers liquefy, the logs are floated downstream to the saw mills for processing.

The lumberjacks of the coniferous forests of Canada lead extremely convoluted and hard life, isolated from society. At the beginning of summer they make rough tracks deep into forests and live in temporary wooden huts with steep roofs for the snow to slide down. In some areas construction of houses and roads becomes difficult because the ground is permanently frozen. At certain places in the forests there are lumber camps. These camps consist of big huts with bedroom, dining room and kitchen. Sheds, stores, offices and repair shops are also there.

In the extreme cold winter days there is hardly any recreation for the lumberjacks. They often have to carry heavy weights for long distances into the forests. At the end of the lumbering season they return to their homes. For the next few months they have to earn their livelihood by taking up some other work. However, with the improvement in transportation, lumberjacks now no longer have to walk to the forests. They reach the forests in planes, buses or vehicles specially designed to travel on snow.

The lumberjacks of Canada no longer have to face the hardships of the past. With the introduction of new techniques of lumbering and a wide range of modern scientific machinery, their jobs have become less risky and difficult. Their living conditions have become cozier too. Since forestry in Canada has been intensified, lumbering in many places now goes on all the year round.

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