9/07/2018

Moving On

This is my new forest - the Acadian Forest of Nova Scotia.


The Vancouver Island Big Trees blog began as a way to share my experiences visiting some of the biggest trees around Victoria, Sooke and up West Coast Road to Port Renfrew and beyond. I wanted it to be both a celebration of the west coast's primal forests and trees, and a warning that if we don't start fighting for what is left, it will be gone forever.

Even before moving to the Pacific temperate rain forest for a decade, I visited from the prairies annually from the time I was old enough to drive. It was then that I fell in love with walking the beaches and forest trails of Vancouver Island. I found the trees to be huge and magical.

When I started this blog I lived in the midst of big tree country in the former logging town of Sooke, BC. Even after 20 years of exploring the big trees, I was still mystified how a human that would be lucky to get 100 years, could destroy a tree 1000s of years old.

Over this time I have been rewarded by ancient tree encounters that were life changing, as well as encounters with the ugly side of industrial liquidation and government neglect, that were equally as moving.

I have since moved to my new forest, and one that is perhaps not as tall, but every bit as magical - the Acadian forest of Nova Scotia. They are smaller, but there are big trees here, too. And the diversity of trees in this forest is an amazing thing that will keep me busy learning for years to come.

Nova Scotian forests are also under relentless assault from industrial, profit-minded businesses that don't care if they are destroying an entity that has been living and thriving since the last ice age. It is too bad, because in Canada this forest is every bit as unique as the great Western Rainforest of Vancouver Island.

This is not boreal forest (the largest intact forest left on our planet... for now). It is not the great deciduous forest of the southern USA. This forest is a unique blend of both, and I intend on exploring it every bit as much as I did the forest out west.

Having said that, I do like to keep up on what is happening in the west coast forest, and plan on doing the occasional post on this blog as well. In the meantime, I hike and photograph the Acadian Forest looking for the biggest of the big trees out here.

You can visit my new blog, "Acadian Forest Big Trees" here. I hope to add to it and develop the same following this blog has had since 2009. Thank you to everyone that has made keeping this blog so satisfying. Your interest, and visits, are appreciated.

Long live the big trees, wherever they may be.




5/08/2018

Tree of Life Gets Little Respect

Wolf head canoe in Sooke River estuary approaching T'souke Nation
Tribal Journey, 2009 - photo by Trickster Art


In the coastal forest the Western red-cedar is known as the "tree of life". It is a good name for a tree that can maintain its own life for thousands of years. Although it is British Columbia's official tree, it currently gets little respect.

The cedar's downfall? Too useful, too profitable, and too vulnerable.



Unfinished cedar canoe on Haida Gwaii



Red-cedar has helped maintain human life on the coast for thousands of years. It has provided coastal First Nations with planks for homes, and large trunks for canoes and totem poles, the tall poles carved with family histories.

The tree of life also provides material for boxes, rope, clothes, and carvings. But for how long?




Cedar provides durable wood for canoes, long houses, totem poles, and more.



Increasingly, large red-cedar trees are becoming rare as logging companies vie for the last of the big ones. Finding large trees is becoming a global problem as native forests continue to disappear at an alarming rate.

In 1998, when Hawaiian canoe makers combed the islands for a native tree large enough to suit their purposes, they spent 9 months looking, and eventually gave up. They concluded that trees big enough for large canoe building were extinct.

Canoe makers on Haida Gwaii have also encountered difficulty in sourcing large Western red-cedar suitable for canoes and totem poles.




Haida totem pole made from cedar

The largest known Western red-cedar canoe in the world was carved in Sooke, BC by canoe makers from the T'Sou-ke First Nation in the early 1990's. The canoe, named KWA Q YUK, is 52 feet long.

Will there still be cedars big enough for a grand vessel of this size seven generations from now? Or even one generation?

The BC government must manage our public forests far better in order to ensure a sustainable yield of large Western red-cedar for cultural, and other uses. It is a job we have entrusted to them, and for decades they have failed.

Ending clearcut old growth logging as we know it today will help.

It is time to humble ourselves before the tree of life, not to mention before the peoples, and our hosts, that require this amazing tree to maintain their traditional ways of life.

You can do your part by refusing to purchase any old growth cedar for any reason. Even better, we can refuse to buy any products that originate in our disappearing primal forests.



3/28/2018

Mystery Tree




There are many fantastical things in an old forest. As evidence of this, a Vancouver Island Big Trees blog reader sent two photographs showing trees in the Victoria area. 

Their branching pattern looks more like calligraphy than anything. They dance and swing in a celebration of the temperate rainforest, one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. But who are the dancers? 

"What kind of trees are these?" the reader asked. 


T



I have a species in mind, but am wondering what readers think. What kind of tree in the coastal forest has such a bold branching pattern? Can you solve this mystery?

You can record your educated guess in the comment section below. Or just enjoy these beautiful photos of the magical calligraphy of old, undisturbed forests. What a joy to see their dance, and hear their story.

Note: If I remember correctly, these trees were photographed in Francis King Regional Park.




Related Posts

Related Posts with Thumbnails