Friday, August 19, 2011

Unbelievable Old Growth Forests in British Columbia Must be Saved

Upper Avatar Grove - Tall Redcedar

MP Keith Martin at the Gnarly Tree

These amazing pictures are from the Ancient Forest Aliance's photo gallery

Avatar Grove
The Avatar Grove and "Canada's Gnarliest Tree" was discovered by Ancient Forest Alliance activists in December, 2009. It is home to some of the largest and strangest shaped ancient redcedars on the Island! There are also rare large Douglas-firs found here as well. It has the potential to be the "Cathedral Grove of Port Renfrew" due to its ease of accessiblity and giant trees. However, most of the Avatar Grove is currently under threat of logging and road development, with flagging tape strung up and paint on the biggest trees! No cutting permits have been issued yet by the Ministry of Forests and Range but the BC Government continues to state that it is not interested in protecting the grove despite requests from the public and local tourism boards. Support continues to grow though and the fight is not over yet!
- Photography by TJ Watt

Go to this link to see more, sign their petition and donate to their cause if you want to support them.
I get emails from them and have been absolutely stunned at what could be lost in British Columbia. I find these ancients so inspiring. Why are we still logging virgin forests when tree farming is so viable? Sustainable tree farming means we don't have to cut the old growth forest for short term gain. Quintus Herron of Herron Lumber has demonstrated this in the Idabel, Oklahoma area of the U.S. We interview him about it in our Oklahoma Creative-Native Project documentary which will premiere in November 2011 at the Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art. I also talk about his tree farming and his love of preserving trees and native flora in previous blog posts.

I want to do fundraising to take our Creative-Native Project to British Columbia and feature the old growth forests and ancient trees which I can not wait to see and paint. I'm sure as I research British Columbia I will find a lot that is going on with art, creativity, mentoring, cultural preservation and ecological sustainability. But the preservation of these ancient trees could be the 'fodder' for many programs. 

The gnarled tree above is from the Avatar Grove which the Ancient Forest Alliance had worked hard to bring attention to and save it from logging.
This is a link to pictures of unsustainable and extremely distressing photographs of old growth logging. How can this still be happening when there are viable alternatives? This is heart-breaking. When these forests are gone we will never see them again.

Nature Walk and Fundraiser at GREATER VICTORIA’S FINEST ANCIENT FOREST - Sat, Aug 27th
This is a massive big leaf maple. Photo by TJ Watt

 One of the most spectacular old-growth forests on Earth is at Royal Roads University by Victoria? We often seek grandeur far away from where we live – but the ancient forests of Royal Roads are among the most magnificent in existence, one of the largest tracts left within the extremely endangered Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem (only 1% of this ecosystem remains as old-growth). Surprisingly, while many people have visited the Hatley Castle (where X-Men was filmed) few people have actually hiked through the incredible ancient forests around the university.

Join president of the Victoria Natural History Society Darren Copley (and former Goldstream Nature Centre chief interpreter) and Royal BC Museum curator, entomologist and naturalist Claudia Copley to learn about the tremendous diversity of plants, birds, trees, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, insects, and other creatures living in this incredible ancient forest. The Ancient Forest Alliance’s Ken Wu and TJ Watt will speak about the Ancient Forest Alliance’s campaign to protect the remaining endangered forests in BC.

Canada's largest tree, the Cheewhat Giant, measures over six metres (20 feet) in trunk diameter, 56 metres (182 feet) in height, and 450 cubic metres in timber volume (or 450 regular telephone poles worth of wood). The tree is in a remote location near Cheewhat Lake within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve north of Port Renfrew and west of Lake Cowichan.

Canada's largest tree, the Cheewhat Giant, measures over six metres (20 feet) in trunk diameter, 56 metres (182 feet) in height, and 450 cubic metres in timber volume (or 450 regular telephone poles worth of wood). The tree is in a remote location near Cheewhat Lake within Pacific Rim National Park Reserve north of Port Renfrew and west of Lake Cowichan.

Photograph by: Submitted, Ancient Forest Alliance

A youtube of Canada's largest Spruce Tree.

Too many to list here but go to this link to see where you can find old growth forests. Being in them is an awe-inspiring experience. 

An old-growth forest (also termed primary forestvirgin forestprimeval forest, or in Britainancient woodland) is a forest that has attained great age (and associated structural features), and thereby exhibits unique ecological features.
Old-growth forests tend to have more large trees and standing dead trees, multi-layered canopies with gaps resulting from the deaths of individual trees, and coarse woody debris on the forest floor.[2]
Forest regenerated after a severe disruption, such as wildfire, insect infestations or harvesting, is often called second-growth or regeneration until enough time passes for the effects of the disturbance to be no longer evident. Depending on the forest, this may take anywhere from a century to several millennia. Hardwood forests of the eastern United States can develop old-growth characteristics in one or two generations of trees, or 150–500 years. In British Columbia, Canada, old growth is defined as 120 or 140 years of age in the interior of the province where fire is a frequent and natural occurrence. In British Columbia’s coastal rainforests, old growth is defined as trees more than 250 years, with some trees reaching more than 1,000 years of age.[3]
Forest types have very different development patterns, natural disturbances and appearances. A Douglas-fir stand may grow for centuries without disturbance while an old-growth ponderosa pine forest requires frequent surface fires to reduce the shade-tolerant species and regenerate the canopy species.[4] In the boreal forest, catastrophic disturbances such as wildfire minimize opportunities for major accumulations of dead and downed woody material and other structural legacies associated with old growth conditions.[5]
Old-growth forests are often home to rare speciesthreatened species, and endangered species of plants and animals, such as the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet and fisher, making them ecologically significant. Levels of biodiversity may be higher or lower in old-growth forests compared to that in second-growth forests, depending on specific circumstances, environmental variables and geographic variables. Logging in old-growth forests is a contentious issue in many parts of the world.Excessive logging can reduce biodiversity, affecting not only the old-growth forest itself, but also indigenous species that rely upon old-growth forest habitat.

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