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A few years ago, as the skies over San Francisco darkened into a nightmarish toxic orange color, many assumed that the city’s proximity to California’s forest wildfires made it uniquely vulnerable to such occurrences.

But then, last year, the skies over New York City underwent the same lethal transformation because of wildfires in the Canadian forests. That’s when many realized that cities far from such conflagrations could suffer from these catastrophes.

But why do Canada’s forests burn so easily? A recent academic study answered that question. Apparently, the lumber companies that chop down Canadian trees and process the wood do follow national environmental laws. They substitute young replacement trees for the mature harvested trees.

So why do Canadian forests burn so easily? A forest that is full of young trees is not capable of supporting a mature forest ecosystem. Caribou, for instance, are “animals that require large areas of older forest …” And “without the thick bark of older trees, younger trees are more vulnerable to wildfire.”

In other words, as the lead researcher of the academic study explained, a new forest cannot replace an older one. “You still maintain a forest cover and you might still maintain the forest in a land-use sense over time … but you have degraded some aspect of its ecological quality.”

Perhaps new environmental regulations can repair the inadequacies of the existing Canadian law. Ironically, we can only hope that the overlay of new regulation atop the old legal regime proves to be more effective than the overlay of new Canadian trees atop the old natural forest.

Originally published at All rights reserved by author.