Timber: History of BC's Logging Industry
Concept(s) Continuity and Change
Prepared for Grade(s) 5, 11, 12
By Christina Lanteigne, Tom Morton
Time Period(s) 1700-1800, 1800-1900, 1900-present
Time allotment One to two classes
Brief Description of the Task
Using photographs and a chronology of events and trends in the forest industry, students will identify various periods and turning points in the history of the industry. Students will continue to consider whether logging and the forest industry have progressed or declined over the last two centuries.
Required Knowledge & Skills
None required, although it would be helpful if students and the teacher had some knowledge of the location and characteristics of British Columbia's forests and some knowledge of the contemporary issues. In order to make the lesson manageable, topics like the role of corporate ownership, government policies like stumpage, and the softwood lumber dispute with the US have been omitted.
For an image from contemporary logging see
CBC. Clearcutting and Logging: War in the Woods, consulted Dec. 2, 2007.
Wynn, Graeme. "Timber Trade History" The Canadian Encyclopedia
Cranny, M. et al. Horizons. Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice-Hall, 1999, p. 353-359.
1. Introduce the concepts of continuity and change by asking students to reflect on how they have changed and how they have continued to be the same since they entered high school or elementary school. Refer to the terms change and continuity.
Introduce the terms turning point and periods with questions such as these: "If you were to divide your school years into different periods, what might they be (besides grades which are obvious)? Were there any periods where things were going well? Poorly? Any sudden turning points when things started to be different, such as moving to a new school, meeting new friends, or joining a club?"
2. Explain that these concepts • change and continuity, periods, and turning points • are important ones to help us understand the past. Historians use terms like the pre-war or post-war periods, or talk about an event like the signing of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms or the Versailles Treaty as turning points.
3. Show the calendar picture for March entitled "Timber!" and ask students to describe it. Ask what it tells us about logging in the past and what it does not tell us?
Ask for the date and have students note that along the side of the picture there is a credit that says "n.d.," which means "no date"—the date is unknown. Ask students to suggest what the date might be. Later, they will have more information and can guess again.
Introduce the lesson topic and essential questions: "How has logging changed over the years? What has stayed the same?"
4. Show the 1987 picture from the Camp to Community web site at Camp to Community and ask students to make a list of things that have changed and things that have continued from the past.
Possible answers for changes: in the more modern photo there is only one logger; the saw is a chain saw not a hand saw; the cut is lower in the tree; the tree is larger; there is no spring board; the logger wears a hard hat; the axe has a single edge; there is no dog.
Possible continuities: in both the men make a wedge shaped cut to guide where the tree will fall; the loggers use an axe and saw; all the men are wearing suspenders; there is a surrounding forest (hence similar challenges as to where to direct the tree to fall.)
5. Distribute handout 1.1, Timber: History of the Forest Industry in British Columbia. Review the meaning of a period in time and a turning point. Then, ask students to divide the list of events and trends into at least three periods and to choose turning points. You may wish to read out some of these events and model how they might decide on periods by "thinking out loud." For example, different periods might be Aboriginal use of the forest prior to European arrival, hand logging from 1778 up to the 1890s, and so on. Turning points might include the introduction of donkey engine in the 1890s and the chain saw and trucks in the 1930s and 40s and environmental concerns in the 1980s.
6. Ask students to write a description of each of the different periods and give a title to each.
7. Return to the picture from the calendar and ask students to guess again what the time period might be. Ask them what further information they need to determine the date.
Concepts in Historical Thinking:
You should expect students to be able to:
Continuity and Change
– Identify time periods and turning points.
– Make a reasoned judgement as to progress and decline in the forest industry.
BC Prescribed Learning Outcomes
You should expect students to be able to:
– analyze the relationship between the economic development of communities and their available resources;
– analyze the development of transportation systems in BC and Canada;
– describe the location of natural resources within BC and Canada, including forests;
– analyze environmental effects of settlement in early BC and Canada.
– analyze the influence of the following on Canada's economy from 1815 to 1914:
– resource development and decline;
– technological innovations;
– describe the development of BC's economy from 1815 to 1914;
– analyze how geography influenced the economic development and settlement patterns in regions of Canada from 1815 to 1914;
– evaluate attitudes and practices in resource development in BC from 1815 to 1914 and their impact on contemporary resource management
– assess environmental challenges facing Canadians, including global warming
For all grades:
– apply critical thinking, including questioning, comparing, summarizing, drawing conclusions and defending a position, to make reasoned judgments about a range of issues, situations, and topics.