5/31/2013

Old Growth Trees Provide Valuable Habitat

 Pileated woodpeckers have excavated the thick bark of this old growth Douglas fir

Intact large tracts of old growth trees and forests provide irreplaceable habitat for a wide variety of living things. Many can not thrive in any other habitat, so when the trees go, so does a large part of the forest community.


The Pileated woodpecker is one of the largest
woodpeckers, and can be found in
the coastal temperate rainforest




Old Douglas fir like the one shown above can have bark up to 30 or 40 cm thick. This bark is deeply furrowed and provides habitat for feeding, nesting, and roosting animals.


Woodpeckers, like the largest species in the world, the Pileated, access insects in this cork-like bark.









Some bats roost under slabs of bark



Large slabs of bark can also harbour sleeping bats.


Bats have few predators, and human activity causes them the most harm. Some “tree bats”, such as Keen’s Long-eared Myotis, are dependant on old growth forest for roosting.


These bats, like so many other old growth residents, are endangered due to habitat loss.



Baby Spotted Owl at the nest in an old growth tree



Spotted owls also depend on large old trees for their habitat. It is estimated that there only 12 Spotted owls left in the wild in all of British Columbia.


The province has started the world's first captive breeding program for the owls, but with no habitat to return the birds to, the Spotted owl's continued survival outside of zoos is unlikely.





We don't know what is at risk when we destroy the primal forest for these forests have never been extensively studied. 

If we did a serious survey of old growth logging we would see that we are losing much more than we are gaining when we cut primal forests. When the big old trees go, so does the entire forest community, in what can only be called ecocide. 

A ransacked community means reduced biodiversity which means a less robust, less productive environment. 

We need an immediate end to industrial clear cut logging in our primal forests not just in BC, but globally. The slugs, and birds, and bats, and insects are depending on us, as are the trees.

Our own survival may depend on the outcome of the fight for maintaining ecological integrity.

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