Preserved Stories Blog

Twins of the Second World War: Guest post by Bob Carswell (my friend from elementary school and high school days in Montreal)

Twins of the Second World War: The Shortt Stirling Bomber

The evolution of the treatment of identical twins during WWII came about due to perceived value in treating them as one unit. In the first years of WWII they were separated and expected to do their best based on individual merits.

In one family, two sets of fraternal twins went to war, one as a motorcycle rider, another as a private in the infantry, a third as a member joined the forestry team and the last was a rear gunner in a bomber. The infantryman was wounded, survive and returned to battle the first twin to die. The rear gunner also died in the war.

Shortt Stirling Bomber. Photo credit will be added; as a rule I do not use photos without credits; in this case a temporary exception is made.

Shortt Stirling Bomber. Photo credit will be added; as a rule I do not use photos without credits; in this case a temporary exception is made.

Two twins, each having lost a brother returned to Canada. Moving from Ontario to the West Coast, one became a paraplegic as a result of an industrial accident. His brother, always the laziest of the bunch ended up moving west to join his brother but actually seemed to be there to take advantage of the situation. These were not identical twins which will account for their behaviour patterns and different choices.

In another case, a pair of identical twin brothers went to war as early bomber pilots flying the massive Shortt Stirling bomber, the first four-engined heavy bomber of the Second World War. Flying with a crew of seven, a total of 2,371 of this bomber type were built. It first flew in May, 1939.

In late 1943 it was relegated to second line duties as a tow tug for gliders, transport airplanes and the like. Its one great advantage was that it could carry up to 14,000 lbs of bombs, double that of any bomber to follow putting it in a class of its own. During WWII, the Stirling flew a total of 14,500 sorties during which 27,000 tons of bombs were dropped. A total of 119 bombers were written off the books while another 582 were lost in combat. Two pilots of Stirlings were posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Twin brothers left an important mark as bomber pilots only to lose their lives in different situations. During WWII a total of 28 RAF squadrons flew the Stirling. To this day, attempts are being made to reconstruct the bomber without blueprints. However, the task is a mighty one and may not ever see completion.


A note from Jaan Pill regarding sources and citations

I have checked with Bob Carswell regarding sources and citations for his stories. From his responses, I have the sense that he has sound sources to back up his stories.  I will share some of the sources when time permits. As a rule, I like to ensure that when statements of any kind appear at this website, there is sufficient citation of sources to give readers a sense of the origin of the statement. In the case of photos, I make an effort to ensure that whatever is posted has a caption and a photo credit.


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Conserving Long Branch June 2017 Update (Part 1) from David Godley

Part 2 of the message that follows has already been posted:

Conserving Long Branch June 2017 Update 2 from David Godley

I had Part 2 at hand and decided to post it at once. I then found a copy of Part 1 and that’s what I’m posting below.

Sometimes I’m very quick about posting, and sometimes I’m very slow. Sometimes I just like to take a break.

Two images (click on them, to enlarge them) accompanied David’s message.

2433 001

2433 001B

The following (earlier) message is from David Godley:

Happy June


1) Severance and Variance Applications

2) Community Meeting

3) OMB Reform



1) Severance and Variance Applications


Status of applications will be forwarded later in the month.


2) Community Meeting

Long Branch Neighbourhood Association meeting Monday June 5 2017, 7pm, Legion near Long Branch GO Station(see Attached)

Long Branch 2017 1st meeting

3) OMB Reform

Councillor Josh Matlow, Lakeshore MPP Peter Milczyn and Cherie DiNovo MPP for Parkdale/ High Park should be particularly thanked for their participation.

Peter will be holding 2 sessions on this matter at times to be determined. Submissions to the Province are welcome.

Letter from the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Attorney General

We are pleased to announce that the government introduced the proposed Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017 in the legislature. These proposed changes follow extensive public consultations.

Ontario is taking this action in order to overhaul the provincial land use planning appeal system to give communities a stronger voice and ensure people have access to faster, fairer and more affordable hearings.

For more information and background on the bill you may visit:

For a copy of the proposed Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, and to monitor the status of the bill through the legislative process, please visit the Legislative Assembly of Ontario website:

Comments on the proposed bill can be made through the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry at (EBR Posting Number: 013-0590) or by email to In addition, the bill proposes amendments to the Conservation Authorities Act which the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is leading – please visit EBR Posting Number: 013-0561.

We look forward to working with you as we move forward on this initiative.


Bill Mauro Yasir Naqvi

Minister of Municipal Affairs Attorney General of Ontario

Letter from Nick Elson who works at York University

I thought it would be good to start the long weekend with what appears, overall, to be good news on the OMB front. As you may have seen in the media, the government announced a few days ago that they plan to bring forward legislation in a few weeks that will do away with the OMB and replace it with a “Local Planning Appeal Tribunal”.

Unlike the current OMB “de novo” system, this would in fact be an appeal process, not treating the issue as if it had never been considered before as is currently the case. While we can’t know what will eventually end up in the legislation, at this stage it appears that the proposed changes shift the responsibility for planning decisions back to the local municipal level in several significant ways. Council decisions could only be overturned if they do not conform to city plans or provincial policies.

Understandably, community groups that have fought the good fight for responsible and compatible development are supportive of the proposed changes, while groups such as Building Industry and Land Development Association and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association are howling that this will only encourage rampant NIMBYism and slow development.

Among the interesting features of the government announcement:

* the introduction of free legal and planning support, similar to
the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, that would “provide planning
and legal advice to people who want to participate in tribunal

* a shift towards alternative hearing formats to encourage earlier

* Rather than replacing a municipal decision with its own, as happens
with the OMB, the tribunal would have to send its decision, with
written reasons, to the municipality and provide the municipality
with 90 days to make a new decision.

* Overall, a shift away from the pseudo-court structure of the present
process, with its emphasis on lawyers and “experts,” which greatly
disadvantaged community groups and citizens. This would include more
emphasis on written arguments. It also introduces the possibility of
multi-member panels hearing cases, rather than an individual board
member of the OMB as is currently the case.

This is a link to the government announcement:

A  Toronto Star article on the reforms:

A  Globe & Mail  article on the reforms:

Cautious optimism would seem to be in order. Have a great weekend.


4) TLAB (Toronto Local Appeal Board)


Letter to our Chief Planner and Local Planning Director

Two map appendices are attached. Others supplied on request

Dear Jennifer and Neil,

Thank you for your past support on severances and variances in Long Branch.

With TLAB we have an opportunity for a new start. Hearings will be commencing soon and 9 38th Street in Long Branch will be one of the first.
We hope to retro back to 5 years or so ago when the Committee of Adjustment followed planning more closely (see below for information) and the OMB seemed more reasonable.
I rarely see any difference to the Department’s and the Community’s planning objectives so offer the following as joint principles.

1) Provincial Policies are irrelevant. The OMB hearing officer cut off any evidence on Provincial policy at the 168 Lake Promenade hearing. Provincial policies are implemented through Official Plans.

2) Neighbourhoods are not for intensification. TLAB have been told this clearly by Jeffrey Cantos of your Strategic Division at a business presentation in February.

3) Evaluations for reinforcing and respecting character follow established practice – the abutting properties in the row are key, as mentioned in UDG draft, followed in importance by the row in which the proposal sits, followed by the micro-neighbourhood (usually the block) and then the overall neighbourhood (not the 200 or 300 properties surrounding). The clarification and reinforcement policies included in OPA 320 be used as a base.

4) Minor is the dictionary definition or the ones already used by the City (on the website and in the new blue brochure)

5) The low density of Long Branch zoning to override market forces. The intent of the zoning reflects the intent of the Official Plan. The OMB decision on 30 36th clearly states market forces are not part of the equation. It also includes good reasoning on sideyards. PL160520.

Attached is my evidence from the 24 33rd Street hearing illustrating these principles. Appendix A is not included because of size.

As usual, community representatives are always ready to meet although we recognise the extreme pressures of your roles.
We would however like your feedback please.

Yours truly,


[Message A]

Mr. Godley,

Perhaps one of these days we can catch up and talk about your concerns. I am happy to arrange to meet with you, or we can talk on the telephone. However, I might benefit by a bit more time ramping up.


Michael Mizzi, MCIP, RPP
Zoning and Secretary-Treasurer Committee of Adjustment
City Planning Division
T 416-392-0888

[Message B]

As you probably know the COA have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.

They are following a course opposite to planning policies. Nothing fundamental has changed yet the COA are making radically different decisions than when they started.

1 They seem to think that they must accommodate the market, when, as the OMB points out on a recent decision on Long Branch PL160520, this is not a factor.

2 They seem unaware that minor must be in size as well as impact.

3 They ignore the general intent of the Official Plan and zoning.

4 They mostly ignore citizens.

5 The Chair is frequently saying aesthetics, which is basically urban design. is not relevant despite two thirds of the OP being related to this.

They seem wholly unknowledgable.

Have the members been briefed on their role and the planning and legal framework as members of TLAB were.

What are the remedies when the Committee of Adjustment members become loose canons.

Look forward to your reply.



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The First Allen Cup Winners, 1909 – Guest post from Bob Carswell

1909 Allen Cup Winners. I[ will add a full caption and photo credit.]

1909 Allen Cup Winners. [I will add details and a photo credit later.]

The First Allen Cup Winners 1909

Charles McKinley, son of John Kerr McKinley and Elizabeth Ann Irvine, the second son to the couple was my great uncle from Ottawa. In his early years he enjoyed the game of hockey, so much so, that eventually he would become an NHL time keeper. In the days of the challenge cup the Ottawa Cliffsides won the first Allen Cup.

The cup is awarded annually to the national senior amateur men’s ice hockey champions of Canada. Donated by Sir Montague Allan of Ravenscrag, Montreal, it resulted from the top amateur teams leaving the Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association, which allowed professionals, to form the new International Provincial Amateur Hockey Union (IPAHU), a purely amateur league. Charles McKinley was the goalie of the Ottawa Cliffsides in that first hockey confrontation and they won the 1909 Allen Cup.


A note from Jaan Pill regarding sources and citations

I have checked with Bob Carswell regarding sources and citations for his stories. From his responses, I have the sense that he has sound sources to back up his stories.  I will share some of the sources when time permits. As a rule, I like to ensure that when statements of any kind appear at this website, there is sufficient citation of sources to give readers a sense of the origin of the statement. In the case of photos, I make an effort to ensure that whatever is posted has a caption and a photo credit.


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Irvine’s Cigar Store: Guest article from Bob Carswell

The following post is from Bob Carswell.

[Note to Bob: Can you please let us know the source for the information.]

Irvine’s Cigar Store

William Irvine. I await word from Bob Carswell regarding photo credit.

William Irvine. I await word from Bob Carswell regarding photo credit.

There was a story reported in the Ottawa Citizen many years ago about the back room of Irvine’s Cigar Store located at 29 Sparks Street, one block south of the new Parliament Buildings. I know the story because William Irvine is my great great grandfather.

I also found the original document sent by his son to Sir John A. Macdonald in the Ontario Archives microfilms some years ago. It was a request by William’s son for the Prime Minister to find a position for his father in his later years.

Now, I also believe that William Irvine was an undertaker during his lifetime as he appears in different documents as a polisher and an upholsterer, both jobs of furniture manufacturers who in their day were also the local undertakers. Polishing and upholstering coffins was a big business back then.

Having reached the age of about 57, the work was getting difficult and the son thought an easier job in the government would make things more comfortable for his father as he headed for his later years. It was a day when patronage for deeds done was a certainty.

For many years, the back room of the Irvine Cigar Store was the meeting place of the Prime Minister, the Premier of Ontario and numerous other individuals there to discuss the business of Canada and make deals where necessary that could only be made outside the walls of the Parliament Buildings.

The back room was also special because it held a large potbellied stove in the middle of the room and the politicians could sit around, have a bunch of drinks and discuss the affairs of state in private. For many years it was Sir John A. Macdonald’s private meeting place.

Well, the deal was done, and William Irvine was appointed to the Sessional Staff of the House of Commons where he remained for the next 18 years. Born in 1925, he lived a full 75 years, the majority of which he spent in Ottawa.


A note from Jaan Pill regarding sources and citations

I have checked with Bob Carswell regarding sources and citations for his stories. From his responses, I have the sense that he has sound sources to back up his stories.  I will share some of the sources when time permits. As a rule, I like to ensure that when statements of any kind appear at this website, there is sufficient citation of sources to give readers a sense of the origin of the statement. In the case of photos, I make an effort to ensure that whatever is posted has a caption and a photo credit.

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Conserving Long Branch June 2017 Update 2 from David Godley

The following update is from David Godley of Long Branch:

Long Branch is desperately hoping for sunny ways with the beginning of the Toronto Local Appeal Board

1) Application Status

2) Long Branch Neighbourhood Association

3) Willowdale Urban Desogn Guidelines

4) Long Branch Plaza

5) Inspiration Lakeview

David’s message includes the following attached file:





1) Application Status

Appeals from May 3 onwards from the Committee of Adjustment (COA) go to the new Toronto Local Appeal Board (TLAB).

TLAB status now posted on Development Applications Site. Thank goodness for this web site as it would be impossible to keep track of the many applications in Long Branch and across the City.

Well done City of Toronto

Recent COA decisions

32 36th Street, 3 storey buildings, soldier houses 0.35 to 0.91 density. Far too high a density. If 30 32nd is approved a new area of character destruction will be started. (Deferred April COA) No hearing date.

62 30th St. 3 storey modern 0.35 density to 0.84 (Deferred COA April)

9 38th Street. A revised application from February 2016. 2 storey traditional and ultra modern on 25 feet frontage lots from 0.35at 0.56 density in a solid area of wide lots. Approved by COA and appealed by the City to TLAB.

This is Long Branch ‘s first appeal to TLAB. No hearing date has been set although another application of the 5 in Etobicoke York has been scheduled for 31st August. We are already finding differences in the process; the largest one will be obtaining outline evidence and party/participant status early in the process. This is likely to start this month for 9 38th Street.

29 Lake Promenade. 2 storey new house, no density change. Approved 4 May COA

303 Lake Promenade. Deck 4 sm to 97 sm (2600% increase!) 1 June COA Approved

99 27th Street (2) 3 storey detached 0.35 to 1.18 – a non-fit proposal at over 3 times density where the character is rapidly becoming that of Brampton North. People in this area have now faced 6 OMB hearings with 2 outstanding. Refused. No appeal

56 31st Street. Modern 2 storey new house, density 0.35 to 0.55. No information posted

32 28th St 2 storey 0.35 density to 0.70. Planning recommend deferral. No information posted

51 Elder Street. 3 storey house density 0.35 to 0.98. 1 June COA. No information posted

Outstanding Committee of Adjustment Applications

38 36th Street. 3 storey soldier houses 0.35 density to 0.70. 29 June COA.

8 Branch Avenue. Classic split for 2 soldier houses, 0.35 density to 0.98 (very high) plus increase in height 31 feet to 37 feet. 24 August COA

75 James Street. Genuine minor variance, detached house from 0.35 to 0.41 density. 27 July COA

22 33rd Street, Variances for semis 0.60 density to 0.69. Consent already appealed by owner to OMB. 27 July COA

31 Fairfield Road. increase in density from 0.35 to 0.63. 29 June COA

75 25th. No information posted No hearing date

31 25th No information posted COA 27 July

32 36th Soldier houses 0.81 and 0.91 density. Deferred at COA on Planning Advice. No hearing date

10 Lake Promenade, 2 soldier houses density 0.35 to 0.59 in a solid area of 50 feet wide lots. 28 Sep COA

If you wish to look at all the material online go to “City of Toronto” “Development Applications” “Committee of Adjustment” “Ward 6” “Search” and follow the cues

OMB Hearings

30 36th Street. Decision to approve severance and deny variances. This can be quoted at future hearings on side yard set yard setbacks being functional and that the market is not part of planning considerations. PL160520

80 Twenty Third Street, January 4 2017. Awaiting Decision

68 Daisy Avenue, 73 4 storey townhouse units, February 24 2017. Prehearing Conference for 1 day held. Hearing Day 10 October 2017

82 Twenty Seventh Street, March 21 2017 Awaiting Decision PL161006

9 Meaford , April 11 2017 No planner on board. Awaiting Decision. PL161048

5 31st, 28 March 2017 Approved This was a speculater who bought the property, severed and sold.

5 Ramsgate, 16 May 2017 Awaiting Decision PL161257

20 Elton, 28 March 2017 Approved by Mary Anne Sills the worst OMB hearing Officer. PL161057 (attached)

24 33rd, 1/2 May 2017 No planner on board Awaiting Decision PL161073

22 33rd Street, appeal of consent only after COA refusal. A new application has been submitted for semis instead of singles which is likely to be appealed to TLAB (see above).

Long Branch Neighbourhood Association

Met on June 5th 2017 to appoint a provisional board to arrange the first annual general meeting for hopefully September.

Brian Liberty explained processes, answered questions and received ideas at a well attended meeting at the Legion next to Long Branch GO station.


Willowdale Urban Design Guidelines (the same process as Long Branch Urban Design Guidelines)

[There’s a meeting on June 13, 2017]

4) Long Branch (No Frills) Plaza

There is a Shoppers Drug Mart being built in Long Branch Plaza which will make room for a proposed 5 storey development at the sute near the Long Branch Library

5) Inspiration Lakeview

Attended the announcement of land consolidation for 110 acres of development land and 67 acres of parkland with Charles Sousa, Bonnie Crombie, Councillor Tovey who has led the grassroots process, and the head of OPG.

Letters of intent will go out to developers tomorrow with a 60 day turn around.

This is a perfect example of grass roots planning with everyone on board and Mississauga bragging they are at the leading edge of development.

An award should be given not for the project which does not have real sophistication, but for the process.

Every public meeting in Toronto is a battleground because the development industry leads. If only we could exchange mayors. I have always extolled Mayor Crombie!


I am an independent retired planner who helps people though the complex maze of Committee of Adjustment Applications.
Feel free to forward information or make contributions. For previous editions see Jaan Pill’s “preserved stories” website.


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PL161048 – OMB Decision Issued – 9 Meaford Ave. in Long Branch (Toronto): Consent and variances refused

The decision is accessible at this PDF file:


Below is an overview, regarding the case at hand, from David Godley of Long Branch:



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Climate change and Greater Toronto Region: Links updates

A previous post is entitled:

Put your money in Conservation Authority Flood Management Programs and it will be well-spent – May 10, 2017 Credit Valley Conservation post

An April 29, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “Toronto the resilient: how the city plans to adapt to climate change in 2050: City’s plans require dramatic shifts in lifestyle, planning and building, report says.”

A May 23, 2017 Metro News article is entitled: “Toronto’s cost-cutting council is not ready for climate change: Matt Elliott: Even as the waters on Toronto Island rise, the mayor’s executive committee shelved a report on stormwater management.”

A June 5, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “GTA mayors say cities must lead fight against climate change in age of Trump: John Tory, Bonnie Crombie say public transit, local emission reduction plans are key tools.”


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Reviving a Lost Language of Canada Through Film – June 11, 2017 New York Times article by Catherine Porter

A June 11, 2017 New York Times article is entitled: “Reviving a Lost Language of Canada Through Film.”

The opening paragraphs read:

HIELLEN, British Columbia — Speaking Haida for the first time in more than 60 years looked painful. Sphenia Jones’s cheeks glistened with sweat, and her eyes clenched shut. She tried again to produce the forgotten raspy echo of the Haida k’, and again she failed. Then she smiled broadly.

“It feels so good,” Ms. Jones, 73, said. “Mainly because I can say it out loud without being afraid.”

Like 150,000 indigenous children across Canada, Ms. Jones was sent far from home to a residential school to be forcibly assimilated into Western culture. There, any trappings of her native culture were strictly forbidden. When a teacher caught Ms. Jones learning another indigenous language from two schoolmates, Ms. Jones said, the teacher yanked out three fingernails.

It worked: Ms. Jones spoke nothing but English, until recently, when she began learning her lines in the country’s first Haida-language feature film, “Edge of the Knife.”

[End of excerpt]


I spent some time living and travelling in Haida Gwaii in the early 1970s. It was among the formative experiences of my life. What I learned has stayed with me; I often thin about what it is, that I learned.

Click here for previous posts about Canada’s First Nations >

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The story of the Long Branch Race Track is part of the history of Long Branch (Toronto not New Jersey)

Several previous posts have included comments from Bill Rawson of Long Branch Furniture:

Click here to access previous posts featuring Bill Rawson >

Long Branch Furniture is located across from the Long Branch Library on Lake Shore Blvd. West in Long Branch. I’ve long had an interest in putting together a series of recordings of Bill’s recollection about the Long Branch Race Track, which (its name notwithstanding) was located to the north of the boundaries of the Village of Long Branch. This video is a step in putting together such a series of videos.



The story of the Race Track is part of the history of Long Branch (Toronto):

History of Long Branch

Bill Rawson’s hand-drawn map of Long Branch Race Track



Map of Long Branch, prepared by Bill Rawson Bill Rawson, June 11, 2017.

Map of Long Branch, prepared by Bill Rawson Bill Rawson, June 11, 2017. Click on the image to enlarge it.

I’ve been out, some months ago, to take photos of the trees along the railway tracks, that Bill Rawson describes in the above-noted video and map. I was very impressed with the sight. I look forward to finding the photos and posting some of them. In the meantime, Bill’s map is very helpful in enabling me to get a sense of how the Race Track was set up.

What Elvis liked to do in his spare time



In a previous post, I’ve posted a link to a video in which Bill Rawson shares some great stories about Elvis Presley:

What Elvis liked to do in his spare time

Here’s another post, about another Bill Rawson story that I much enjoy:

Bill Rawson shares a story about the time a horse stuck its nose right into his infant brother’s crib. In the 1930s or thereabouts.

The trees at the Race Track

The map that Bill Rawson has drawn (he’s also shared a hand-drawn map of the Long Branch Hotel area) is really helpful, in enabling a person to get a sense of the layout of the track.

There are trees in place, running north-south parallel to the railway tracks; I’ve been to visit that part of the remnants of the track; it’s quite an experience to walk in that area. The trees are among the things that remain. I was interested to hear Bill talk about the trees, which he has indicated in his map.

I think as well of the Cottage Country Paradise that was in place in the area of the western beach (extending to the west of the current outlet of Etobicoke Creek) at Marie Curtis Park. The cottages that used to be there are all gone since the time of Hurricane Hazel.

Yet in some interviews I did a few years ago, I learned from people who remembered those times, that some of the trees, that are there now, were present as well in the era from the 1920s to the 1950s – and remain in place even now.

Also of interest, regarding these themes:

We’re pleased to share with you these 1920s to 1940s ‘cottage country’ images from Etobicoke Creek

A Long Branch resident passed along to Barry Kemp this photo of the Eastwood Park Hotel

The latter post includes another hand-drawn map, from May 2013, by Bill Rawson.


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Inchworms are prolific and resilient: article, April 24, 2017

I didn’t know much about inchworms but I do now, having read about them at the following link:

Inchworm Life Cycle

Here’s a brief video of an inchworm travelling across a tabletop. I like the way it tries to figure out where to go next.




A June 23, 2017 Toronto Star article, referring to a cankerworm (which appears to me to be a bit different – but I could be wrong – from the inchworm on the above-noted video) infestation, is entitled: “Toronto suffers inchworm infestation for the first time in 17 years: Surprise intruders have caught the city off guard this year. Pedestrians in parks hear the critters eating.”

The concluding paragraph reads:

Janet McKay, executive director of the non-profit Leaf, said she’s seen a lot of defoliated trees this year. She said the rainy spring has been a big benefit for the city’s trees, but says it’s important to be aware of things such as winter salt or construction that can impose stress on urban forests and make it harder for trees to bounce back from defoliation.


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