An image that went viral represents the situation of old forests


Avatar Grove, near Port Renfrew BC, contains some of the most accessible and stunning ancient forests on Vancouver Island. Giant Douglas firs (Pseudotsuga menziesii subsp. Menziesii, left) and western redcedars (Thuja plicata, right) fill the grove. Image courtesy of TJ Wyatt. CC SA 3.0

A photo of a large old tree being carried to Vancouver Island, taken by Lorana Beecroft of Nanaimo, went viral online and sparked outrage around the world, including Japan, Germany and the United States.

The massive spruce was cut down on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, sometime between March and mid-August 2020, a month before the Special Tree Protection Regulations came into force on 11 September, according to Forest Ministry spokesman Tyler Hooper. Vancouver Sun..

The ministry states that the BC government introduced this regulation to protect exceptionally large trees of all species in the entire province and, today, “a tree of this size could be illegal to harvest according to the regulation and could be impose fines of up to $ 100,000 “.

How old do you think that fir was? Mrs. Beechcroft put her age into perspective, writing on Facebook: “This tree was already huge when Captain Cook arrived. We should never cut down healthy trees like this. We should protect these ancient trees as the national treasures they are. Shame on us. Three bunks stuffed with only part of this tree. Imagine how majestic it was. “

Image taken by Lorna Beecroft

The image brings to light old forestry

Old forests around the world are at risk of being cut down to meet the needs of the construction industry top quality wood for high-end products and specialties, such as quality furniture, musical instruments, special finishing products and the manufacture of smoothies and tiles.

And, just in case, the term “old woods” is not a scientific term. The term originated in the forest industry in the temperate forests of the Pacific-Northwest coast as a way to prioritize large trees with the highest dollar value.

And depending on forest regulations, the U.S. Forest Service defines a tree as old if it is more than 150 years old, while in British Columbia, the province defines old trees as more than 250 years old, while the forests of the interior of the BC is considered old if the trees are at least 140 years old, according to CBC Canada.

But cutting down these majestic old trees is also an economic issue and is the same, regardless of the country you want to name. In British Columbia, the government argues that logging is a “vital” industry.

It is generally considered to have forest in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada second and third growth characteristics. This photo shows the regeneration, a tree coming out of the trunk of another tree that was cut down in 1962 by the remains of Typhoon Cold. Image courtesy of Bobanny, CC-Public Domain.

Old-growth logging is an economic issue

In the last fiscal year, the province said $ 1.3 billion in revenue was related to the forestry sector, which employs more than 50,000 British Colombians, including 5,300 First Nations people.

The province also notes that old forests can produce between 1,500 and 1,800 cubic meters per hectare, according to industry experts. This is a huge difference, compared to second-growth forests, that is, trees that grow after the original trees have been cut down or destroyed by natural disturbances such as forest fires.

Second growth forests they produce about a third of the value of old forests because they are harvested at younger ages. Abd the provincial government also notes that more old trees are being harvested on Vancouver Island because second-growth trees are still too young to be cut down.

Let’s put this in perspective. Every year 200,000 hectares (494,211 acres) of forest land are recorded in BC. The province says 27 percent of this annual harvest comes from old growth.

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Provincial Forestry Minister Katrine Conroy, speaking in April at a convention for the BC Forest Industries Council, would not say how the old growth would influence the future of the sector. However, he said: “BC’s forest industry is and will continue to offer opportunities and benefits for British Colombians for decades to come.”

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