Mcrae Lumber Company, Whitney Ontario

Sustainable Forestry

Young maple trees in fall colour.

The McRae Lumber  Company is focused on, and dedicated to, a future of sustainable forestry and environmental stewardship that benefits all interest  groups.

Timber comes from three primary areas; Algonquin Park, Crown land of the Bancroft-Minden Forest and Private Lands. A wide variety of forest types and species are represented in each of these areas.

Sustainable Forestry Practices

Updated: Mar 05 13
 Created: Mar 01 13

Diagram showing spacing of sugar maple trees with trunks cut at breast level. Cut surface of larger trees is shaded..
Growth of Sugar Maple is maximized when trees are spaced so that total cross-sectional area at breast height of trees greater than 25 cm. in diameter
(sum of shaded area) is equal to 12.3 square metres
per hectare of forest (60 square feet per acre).

Over the years, the methods and techniques employed by the company in the bush have changed considerably. The evolution of logging has been towards a more scientific and environmentally friendly approach. This has been in response to stakeholder concerns, new government regulations and changes in technology. Within Algonquin Park a great deal of this evolution has been the result of research carried out at the Swan Lake Forest Research Station that opened in 1950.

Graph showing year-by-year growth of a stand over 50 years, with cutting at 20 and 40 years.
In the selection system, Sugar Maple stands are cut every 20 years but always leaving the density of trees 12.3 square metres per hectare of trunk cross-sectional area where growth will be at a maximum. In this way the land always remains forested and the volume of wood approximately doubles before the next cut.

Sugar Maple is one of the primary species that is logged within and adjacent to Algonquin Park. It makes up the cornerstone of the logging industry and is the main species cut by the McRae Lumber Co. With this in mind the continuity and sustainability of this species is paramount to both the ecology of the area and the industry. Logging in sugar maple forests is managed by a forestry plan known as the “selection system”. The aim of this system is to produce a forest that continually regenerates itself while providing a consistent volume of high quality wood. It is also possible, by deliberately removing the poorer quality trees and leaving the better ones, to upgrade the quality of the forest.

The science behind the selection system was discovered at the Swan Lake Research Station. It was here that they found the optimum levels of sunlight and space needed for maximum high quality growth. This can be seen on the Basal Area of Sugar Maples Graph above.

Diagram showing how Uniform Shelterwood System provides seed and shelter for regeneration, with a 20-year cutting cycle.

The requirements for White Pine are different than those for Sugar Maple and in 1975 the Uniform Shelterwood System was developed.  In this system the stand is logged in a series of cuts at 20 year intervals. This system keeps the sunlight on the forest floor in the desirable 40 - 50% range that maximizes regeneration and growth of white pine and limits the impact of parasites like the White Pine Weevil.

Logo of the Algonquin Forestry Authority For more information on Algonquin Forestry, please contact the Algonquin Forestry Authority.

The three diagrams on this page are provided courtesy of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Friends of Algonquin Park.  The diagrams are taken from the book Trees of Algonquin Provincial Park written by Dan Strickland.