[Editor's note: Mark Leiren-Young's Trees and Us podcast series was inspired by Leiren-Young's award-winning feature film, The Green Chain, which he wrote, directed and produced and which opened in Vancouver last spring. New Trees and Us podcasts runs every other week in The Tyee and a book with all 22 interviews is in the works.]
Alan Drengson and Duncan Taylor are environmental studies professors at the University of Victoria who have teamed up to find out what makes forests work and how forests should work. Their new book, Wild Foresting: Practicing Nature's Wisdom, explores the importance of forests economically, socially and spiritually.
Alan Drengson is a professor emeritus of philosophy at the University of Victoria and helped found the school's environmental studies faculty. He grew up across the water from Victoria on the Olympic Peninsula and spent time playing in the forests and later working summer jobs in mills, doing "everything from off bearing a head saw, which is incredible dangerous, noisy work; feeding the hog the big slams of bark that they didn't want to use in those days so they all went into the chipper; to straightening out the enormous timbers that came off the headsaw so that they could be sorted and sent back to the resaw and then that whole chain fed the green chain." He's the founder of two journals, including The Trumpeter: Journal of Ecosophy and Ecoforestry.
Duncan Taylor was the University of Victoria's first full-time faculty appointment in environmental studies. His earliest experiences with trees included raising apples in a family orchard in Ontario. He has written numerous books and articles.
Their first book together -- Ecoforestry: The Art and Science of Sustainable Forest Use -- collected essays exploring "radical" and "holistic" approaches to forest stewardship and philosophies and experiments in "ecologically responsible forestry."
Their inspiration for that book was legendary Vancouver Island logger Merve Wilkinson -- known worldwide for running his own sustainable forest, Wildwood.
Listen to my podcast conversation with Drengson and Taylor to learn more about what they mean by "wild foresting" and how it challenges the common view of the uses and nature of forests here in B.C.