British Columbia: Save all the biggest trees!

One great thing about great activists is that they always find new
ways to get their message across: Ken Wu and Randy Stoltmann are great
activists. –Editor, Forest Policy Research

B.C.’s biggest and oldest trees have pretty much seen it all over the
centuries — except the respect of formal protection. Conservationists
are hoping to change that by demanding the provincial government
protect B.C.’s 100 most important heritage trees of each species and
phase out old-growth logging on the south coast. “How many
jurisdictions on earth have trees as tall as skyscrapers and trunks as
wide as your living room?” asked Ken Wu, campaign director for the
Western Canada Wilderness Committee in Victoria.

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Wu said in an interview Friday the “vast majority” of the top 100
trees of each species are located outside parks and protected areas,
including the San Juan Sitka spruce near Port Renfrew, the biggest in
Canada at 62.5 metres tall and 11.6 metres in circumference. “It’s
just at a recreation site, which can disappear, come and go as the
province wants.” A Red Creek Douglas fir — largest in the world, at
73.8 metres tall and 13.2 metres in circumference — stands not far
from the San Juan spruce in part of the industrial forest land base.
“There are active cut blocks all around that area,” Wu said, noting
the forest industry has currently left a buffer around the tree.

The government maintains a Register of Big Trees in B.C.
( that seeks to document the biggest 10
trees of each species in the province, a calculation based on height,
circumference and crown spread. Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell
said the register amounts to de facto protection because the biggest
trees are all documented and known to forest managers throughout B.C.
But Wu said magnificent old-growth trees are important for tourism and
the environment, including providing a home for endangered species.
Yet some of the biggest trees remain virtually unknown, are not
promoted on provincial tourism maps, and lack protection.

Wu accused the province of deliberately not making a fuss about the trees for
fear it will lead to more demands to conserve dwindling low-elevation
old-growth forests. “It’s not just the monumental trees, incredible
parts of our heritage, but it’s the ecosystem that fundamentally
matters,” he said. “We’re asking for a phase-out of old-growth logging
on the south coast, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, where old
growth is scarce.” Conservationist Randy Stoltmann established the
register in 1986. He copied most of the registry records into a report
for the B.C. Conservation Data Centre before his death in 1994.

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Comments (6)

peacefromtreesFebruary 1st, 2009 at 1:15 am

B.C. won’t stop old-growth logging: forests minister

Source: CBC News

Posted: 01/31/09 4:16PM

B.C.’s minister of forests and range has dismissed calls from an environmental group to end old-growth logging in the province.

B.C. is home to the world’s largest Red Creek Douglas fir, at 73.8 metres tall, and Canada’s tallest Sitka spruce, 62.5 metres tall – and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee wants those trees protected.

The group is calling on the government to establish a provincial heritage trees designation that would grant the province’s 100 oldest and largest trees legal protection from logging.

Ken Wu, the committee’s campaign director, has called for all old-growth logging on B.C.’s south coast to be phased out.

“How many people are still arguing it’s OK to finish unprotected old-growth, except a minority fraction of the population, which unfortunately involves [Forest Minister] Pat Bell and the B.C. Liberal government,” Wu said.

However, Bell dismissed the group’s concerns, saying the practice would continue.

“We do think there’s a place for effective and very moderate harvesting in old-growth stands,” Bell said.

“I will put my money on organizations with a lot of credibility in the environmental community. I have a lot of faith in organizations such as ForestEthics, Sierra Legal [Defence Fund and] Greenpeace. All of those organizations have a lot of credibility. I hate to say this, but Ken Wu is just looking for publicity.”

Bell said B.C.’s old-growth trees are already sufficiently protected.

“We monitor them on an ongoing basis, and clearly no district manager would allow the cutting of those particular trees,” he said. However, the Wilderness Committee’s movement is gaining support.

In October, the group organized a protest against old-growth logging at the Victoria legislature, which it says attracted nearly 3,000 people.

The group has also collected more than 30,000 signatures on a petition calling for the protection of B.C.’s ancient trees.

mackenzie tothNovember 18th, 2009 at 4:12 pm

i compleatly agree if people keep cutting trees we won’t be able to breath as well

graham harrison-jonesNovember 30th, 2009 at 1:56 am

Why do companies, and some individuals insist on wrecking havoc on something which has been growing, and in some cases thriving for 100’s, and even 1000’s of years. In this day and age, where logging has been such a long term activity, they should have been investing in a series of re-planting on a far larger scale than at present, making it similar to a market garden producing fruit tree’s or olive groves where they take many years to reach maturity. My hope as a visitor to see these fine specimens, is that common sense will prevail and these tree’s can continue to filter the air which we breath and be there for years to come, for the benefit of us all and not just for the greed and commercial activity of a few greedy, unscrupulous individual companies

Fred CramerDecember 28th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

It is not only in BC where this happens. I am from Northern Ontario and it is disgusting the way they clear cut all over the north and replant very little and then only spruce and pine. There is no replanting of hardwood which enriches the soil through composting. Old growth forests in our area are all but gone. If they can get to it, it gets cut. It is particularly hard on wild life as our moose populations are waning and the ruffed grouse as well (no Hardwood to feed) Companies should be allotted areas and be responsible for replanting all species to the same level as before the cut before being allowed to have another area.

Marie SimonsenApril 1st, 2010 at 9:06 pm

I live on property, where there are beautiful Cedar trees. 7 in my yard, and many others on the property next to mine. They have to be at least 100 years old, they are huge. Unfortunately, I am renting, so I do not have a say on the future of these magnificent trees. There are 2 houses on the south side that are going to be torn down, in the next year. In there place, they plan on building 44 townhouses. This is where alot of the trees are.
I just find it so sad, that someone can come in and destroy this once lush land. Were I am, you can look out and see what use to be there. Because of little patches that have been able to hold on, like what is on the property I rent.
Now there is row after row of very closely built houses. Or a field of blueberries here and there. But no trees. Don’t these people know we need trees to breath. Even my 10 year old daughter knows that. The difference is, she doesn’t know what it is like to be greedy for the dollar. That is what it is all about, the all mighty buck.
I think it is beyond sad, that people have so little regard for our surroundings, and other life that walk it. Where are all the animals going to go?
There are some of us who do care. I just wish we were able to stop this mass massacre. We just need to figure out a way to put a $ sign there. I bet the cutting would stop.

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