Every year, huge swaths of land are logged in Canada. For each tree cut down, another needs to be planted – a task carried out by hand by an army of young men and women.
Tree-planting is considered one of the hardest jobs in Canada: under pouring rain or blasting sun, carrying heavy loads of small farmed trees, planters must hike steep and unstable hills covered with wood debris for 10 hours or more per day. Every few meters, a planter tears open the ground with a customized shovel, bends down to put a tree in the hole, and repeats, up to 3,000 times per day.
Most planters are well aware that they are nothing more than a cog in the gears of the forestry industry, and the isolated, unrelenting nature of the work attracts an eclectic mix, including students, artists, hippies, ex-soldiers, and those in need of quick money. Those who choose to make planting their life-long career can work up to 9 months a year following contracts from place to place.
Jean-Philippe Marquis has spent 10 summers in the bush and has planted over one million trees in Québec, Alberta, and British-Columbia.