Old Growth

Two thirds of British Columbia is forest, trees far as the eye can see in every direction. So why the fuss over old growth forest? Trees grow back, right? Plant another, heck plant five and call it progress. Never mind eradication of ancient ecosystems, extinction of plants and animal species unique to old growth habitats, soil erosion or contamination of fresh water. How can anyone look at this photo without regret? Within hours of Vancouver Island resident Lorna Beecroft posting this image on Facebook, B.C. Ministry of Forests, Land and Natural Resources announced it was looking into the tree’s history. Soon thereafter, a ministry spokesperson defended the cut as legal.

According to the Ministry of Forests the tree was cut down on northern Vancouver Island sometime between March and August 2020, a month before Special Tree Protection legislation became law on September 11, 2020. ( Linked below ) In a nutshell, vaguely worded legislation purported to protect approximately 1,500 behemoth old growth trees without stepping on “big timber” toes. Ministry of Forests spokesperson feigned regret, “today, a tree of this size might well be illegal to harvest under the regulation, and fines of up to $100,000 could be imposed if it was.”

qa_stpr.pdf (gov.bc.ca)

“Might” well be illegal to harvest, ought to read “large as this tree appears, it wouldn’t qualify for special protection”. According to Jens Weiting, Sierra Club BC’s senior forest and climate campaigner, Sitka Spruce less than 283 centimetres diameter at breast height don’t qualify for special protection. (283 centimetres = roughly 9.2 feet ). Maximum width of standard logging trucks is 260 Cm, Do the math. B.C. Ministry of Forests isn’t interested in saving old growth trees.

B.C.’s viral big tree on truck would still be logged today, conservationists say – Prince George Citizen

The Fairy Creek and Caycuse watersheds on Southern Vancouver Island fall under Tree Farm License 46, controlled by Teal Jones Forest Ltd. On April 1, 2021 provincial court granted Teal Jones a injunction to remove protesters obstructing access to old growth trees. As of yesterday RCMP report 137 arrests and counting. It’s going to take more than an injunction to diffuse old growth logging outrage.

Hundreds protest at B.C. premier’s office as arrests at old-growth logging blockades continue | CTV News

Lorna Beecroft took this photo on Tuesday morning on the Nanaimo Parkway on Vancouver Island.
© Lorna Beecroft Vancouver Island resident Lorna Beecroft could not believe her eyes when she saw this tree being driven down the Nanaimo Parkway on Tuesday morning.

Photographer TJ Watt at Photos reveal scope of old-growth forest logging in B.C. | The Narwhal lends visual perspective to the demise of old growth trees –

side by side comparisons of man standing by a large tree before and after it was cut down
Before and after images of Watt standing beside a large twinned old-growth cedar that he later photographed as a stump in a clearcut.  Photo: TJ Watt

13 thoughts on “Old Growth

  1. It seems that every day there are stories as barbaric as this that truly make me wonder about the intelligence of the human species. Or perhaps I should say about the perniciousness of greed because so many of the ecological abominations we see and hear about are all because someone, somewhere, wants still more money.

    One of the side effects for me of social media has been coming in contact with posts about animals. No, not just the cutesy kitty pictures, but the ones that show extraordinary animal behaviors. What I have been appreciating ever more is the unique, individual, and rich internal lives of animals and plants. From the communication of trees (If you haven’t read The Secret Life of Trees, please do) among themselves and other plants, to the helpfulness of one species to another, to the expression of pure personality in individuals it becomes increasingly clear that humans have zero concept of what individuality really is, and why other species deserve protection.

    But then, we haven’t twigged that perhaps even other HUMANS deserve protection…. so what hope is there of a greater understanding.


    Truly sad.

  2. This is heart-breaking.
    We are busy clearing part of our property of category 1 invader plants (mostly cacti) and yet, cutting down these plants some of which are more than three metres tall, leaves one with a real sense of loss. As my wife noted: ”It’s sad because they are alive.”

  3. Occasionally, when back in the PNW, I will see some huge logs on trucks and it always brings me down. The stories and connections to the living are something these trees hold and can never be replaced. Your last photos describe the exact feelings I have at times. I hope all is going well ~ take care and enjoy the autumn ahead.

    • Near Parksville on Vancouver Island there’s a Provincial Park named Cathedral Grove. Incomprehensible how anyone who enters the Grove, could bring themselves to log old growth. It’s criminal, breaks my heart.
      As for autumn, my maple tree is spectacular and 85% fully vaccinated in B.C. means life is slowly returning to normal. Take care. 🙂

      • my maple tree is spectacular and 85% fully vaccinated

        Trees have to be vaccinated over in BC? And I thought Johannesburg was a weird place!

        Glad to see/read you’re alive an’ kicking, my dear!
        Always makes your blogpals a bit nervous when one of us goes MIA for any length of time.

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