Ahousaht First Nation Saving Their Big Trees on Vancouver Island

"Environmentalists are applauding a move by the Ahousaht First Nation to ban mining and clear cutting in favour of sustainable development and conservation.

Under the first phase of the plan, announced Thursday, there will be no mining or industrial logging in Ahousaht traditional territory and about 80 per cent of almost 171,000 hectares will be set aside as cultural and natural areas “to conserve biological diversity, natural landscapes and wilderness and to provide to Ahousaht continued spiritual, cultural and sustenance use.”

The remote Ahousaht First Nation, near Tofino, has more old growth forests in its traditional territory than any other First Nation on the B.C. South Coast.

Ahousaht Band leaders have decided it needs to be protected and they took steps to do just that this week to preserve those forests for the future.

Under the first phase of the plan, there will no mining or industrial logging allowed in Ahoushat traditional territory.

About 80 per cent of the territory , that’s more than 170,000 hectares, will be set aside as cultural and natural areas.

The goal is to conserve natural landscapes and biological diversity. The Ancient Forest Alliance says it’s the largest leap in old-growth conservation in the last two decades on Vancouver Island.

The Nature Conservancy is calling it a blueprint for a sustainable future. Environmentalists say only about 20 per cent of old-growth forests are still standing on Vancouver Island."

- source


Sooke River Bridge Candelabra Tree Now Gone

When some trees lose their tops they will grow multiple stems in a candelabra effect.

A reader of Vancouver Island Big Trees sent me an email recently. It reminded me of all the big trees that have been (and will be) sentenced to death for the crime of being in the way of progress.

Unless you live on the prairies, any kind of new development means trees and forests need to be cleared out of the way.

Ever since Europeans arrived in this part of the world "progress" has the ring of axes, chainsaws, and big trees hitting the dirt.

One such example was when the Sooke River Bridge was replaced in 1967. An interesting tree, it looks like it had been pruned or lost its top. The candelabra that results can be seen in a variety of tree species.

The email I received contained the short message that follows, and the photo shown above.

"Your pencil sketch of the Sooke River Bridge on your Vancouver Island Big Trees blog reminded me of a unique tree that was removed to make way for the building of that bridge. 
The bridge was built around 1965 to replace a wooden one that was a few feet downstream. The tree was on the east bank of the river, right in the way of  the project, and had to go. 
I don't know who owned the house in the photo but I suspect the tree artist lived there. Or maybe BC Hydro was responsible! 
Not sure what species of tree it was, maybe a true fir (Abies) of some kind. Photo taken by me in December, 1964."

Thank you, Art, for sharing your historical big tree photo with us.


War In The Walbran

Black bear in the Upper Walbran Valley stand to lose more old growth habitat if Teal Jones has its way.
Photo: TJ Watt, Ancient Forest Alliance

For Immediate Release - June 8, 2015

Wilderness Committee Discovers Logging Maps for Walbran
War in the Woods could return as logging company targets Walbran Valley

by Wilderness Committee

Some of Canada's most ecologically significant old-growth cedar threatened by Teal Jones

VICTORIA – One of Canada's most important old-growth rainforests is under direct threat of clearcut logging. New maps obtained by the Wilderness Committee show logging company Teal Jones has laid out eight new cutblocks in the central Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island, a focal point of the War in the Woods for decades.

In recent years, Teal Jones' logging operations have been targeting old-growth and edging closer to the iconic Castle Grove, the finest stand of monumental cedar trees in the Walbran Valley. The new proposed cutblocks surround Castle Grove in an unprotected area on the north side of the Walbran River, near the boundary of Carmanah-Walbran Provincial Park.

"Intact old-growth forests of this size are incredibly rare and endangered – so much has been cut, and we have a moral responsibility to protect the little that's left," said Torrance Coste, Vancouver Island Campaigner with the Wilderness Committee.

"The north side of the Walbran River should be completely off-limits to industrial logging.
This area has been ground zero for the War in the Woods in the past, and that's exactly the level of conflict Teal Jones is choosing by moving into this area now," Coste added.

The Wilderness Committee contacted Teal Jones last fall, after finding new surveying tape in the Walbran Valley. The environmental group highlighted the importance and scarcity of old-growth forests of this type, and asked Teal Jones to shift its operations into less contentious areas elsewhere in its large forest tenure (TFL 46).

"Teal Jones disregarded our request and set its proposed cutblocks in the worst possible locations," Coste explained.

"This company has proven it cares about nothing but its profits. It's time for the provincial government to step in before Teal Jones does more damage in the Walbran Valley."

Intact old-growth forests provide habitat for endangered species, act as a storage sink for climate-changing carbon and possess irreplaceable cultural and recreational values. These values far surpass the forests' value as wood products.

The central Walbran Valley is in unceded Nuu-chah-nulth territories. The Wilderness Committee is calling for a solution that protects the extremely rare old-growth ecosystems and ensures First Nations' access to traditional resources.

For more information, contact:

Torrance Coste | Vancouver Island Campaigner, Wilderness Committee
(250) 516-9900, [torrance@wildernesscommittee.org]

Additional resources:

Central Walbran Valley map showing proposed logging - June 2015 [https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/sites/all/files/CentralWalbran_Map_June2015_0.pdf]

Walbran Valley photos from unprotected areas [https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/victoria/walbran_valley_photos_2015]

Old-growth logging photos from Walbran Valley - March 2013 [https://www.wildernesscommittee.org/victoria/walbran_valley_old_growth_logging_photos_march_2013]

The Wilderness Committee is Canada's largest membership-based, citizen-funded wilderness preservation organization. We work for the preservation of Canadian and international wilderness through research and grassroots education. The Wilderness Committee works on the ground to achieve ecologically sustainable communities.

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