Tree poachers seek curly maple
Tree poachers have hit British Columbia’s Burnaby Mountain conservation area. Five maples were cut down, and at least 25 other trees have been slashed.
“It just makes you sick,” said Henry deJong, a design technician for Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.
“It’s frustrating to walk into a pristine area and you expect to enjoy the flora and fauna and you find these giants cut down. Some of them are not even reaching half their lifespan.”
The poachers are looking for curly maple – the specific grain that occurs in about 10% of maple trees. Curly maple grained wood can be auctioned for large sums. Often the wood is used for guitars. A 60 cm long chunk of a maple trunk, about 15-20 cm wide, can fetch between 20 and 200 dollars at sawmills.
To tell if a maple tree has the curly grain, the poachers are cutting chunks of bark from a standing tree. If the poacher can feel a rippling effect on the cambian layer, the tree will be cut down. Only 5-10% of the tree will be used and the rest is left behind.
When these poachers are slashing the trees, they are leaving the tree susceptible to infection, like fungus and insect infestations.
The tree poaching investigation is being led by Burnaby RCMP and the detachment’s Cpl. Jane Baptista says those involved face potential jail terms of six months and a $2,000 fine.
Tree poachers hit B.C. conservation area (CTV)