6/06/2013

Vancouver Island and Lower Mainland Primal Forests Almost Gone

Pre-1800s

The Ancient Forest Alliance released a recent survey of old growth forests on Vancouver Island and the southwest mainland.  The before and after maps show the pre-European primal forest, and what is left 165 years later.

The most productive temperate coastal rainforest in the world reduced to clear cuts and tree farms in less than two centuries.

What is left of some of the biggest trees the planet has ever seen continue to be cut, both 'legally' and illegally. While what the government and logging companies have been doing may be technically legal, it is certainly not moral.

I don't think we have the right to destroy an entire ecosystem. I believe the word for it is ecocide, and as far as I'm concerned, all the "cides" are pretty horrible and should be avoided at all costs.


What was left in 2012 


The statistics are sobering and indicate the necessity of ending old growth logging in British Columbia immediately. The following numbers tell the sad tale of resource depletion in our forests.


Old-Growth (OG) Forest Statistics - SOUTHERN COAST (ie. Vancouver Island and SW Mainland)
From: Ancient Forest Alliance

Original Total OG: 5.5 million hectares
Low Productivity OG: 2.2 million hectares
Original Productive OG: 3.3 million hectares
Remaining Productive OG: 860,000 hectares (26% of original)
In Parks - Productive OG: 200,000 hectares (6% of original)
In Parks and OGMA's - Productive OG: 260,000 hectares (8% of original)


Valley Bottom*, Highest Productivity Old-Growth - SOUTHERN COAST (ie. Vancouver Island and SW Mainland)

Original: 360,000 hectares
Remaining: 31,000 hectares (9% of original)
In Parks: 9,400 hectares (2.6% of original)
In Parks and OGMA's: 11,700 hectares (3.2% or original)

* Low, Flat Terrain Under 300 meters elevation, under 17% slope

The primal forests on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland are just about gone. Along with them went an entire ecosystem that is unlikely to return as long as profit is the only guide in forestry decision making.

The magnificent old growth forests have been industrialized. Although theses areas remain rugged, they are not really wilderness any more. The second and third and fourth growth trees in the plantations will be laid down on a 60 year cycle in perpetuity by companies with headquarters in New York, where all the profits and benefits will fall.

In these parts it takes about 250 years for a productive valley bottom forest to acquire the characteristics of an old growth regime. Barring fire (rare in the coastal forest) or human greed, such forests can continue for thousands of years.

The primal forest here began after the last glaciers retreated about 10,000 years ago. It survived in all its majesty until the 1800s when Europeans arrived.

Can we save the little bits that remain?


Visit the Ancient Forest Alliance website to donate, write a letter, and/or sign their petition.

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