Are old-growth forests important?

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.”
-John Muir-

Today’s “stone” is  Day 37  stately, tall, pristine, wild and free

Old-growth forests are classed as such because, for over a century or more, they have not been subjected to a significant disturbance such as wildfire or the ravages of man’s clear-cutting.  There are not many old-growth forests left compared to a couple hundred years ago, however, those few that remain provide us with information on how a forest responds to disease and natural disturbances such as fire, tornadoes or earthquake.  Old-growth forests contain trees in all phases of their life cycle, including saplings, mature trees, dead standing trees and rotting trees on the forest floor.   A true old growth forest is chaotic in its natural state very unlike the groomed forests of Provincial and National Parks of postcard fame.

The dead, dying or diseased trees that seemingly litter the forest floor are an essential part of a healthy forest ecosystem.  Their presence is a key characteristic of old-growth.  Dead standing and rotting trees provide a home for many species of plants, fungi, invertebrates, salamanders and snakes.  Old-growth forests are hotspots for biodiversity and a refuge for many species at risk.   Many species, such as the Spotted Owl cannot thrive in a forested area disturbed by man and are on the brink of extinction due to man’s indiscriminate devastation of forests in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

It is of grave concern that the few remaining old-growth forests be conserved and place under invincible protective legislation.  All efforts must be maintained to prevent further decimation of these biodiversity-rich precious natural habitats known as old-growth forests.

It is appalling to hear of the governments, both federal and provincial, circumventing the legality of previously protected areas and allowing the forest industry to log out and through old-growth forest areas.  I am specifically referring to the Chilliwack Lake old-growth forest area which has managed under protection to witness the return of the near-extinct Spotted Owl only to have a logging company proceed to hack a road through it.

The following is a direct quote from the Wilderness Committee website:

Logging of trees to clear roads in the heart of a spotted owl Wildlife Habitat Area adjacent to Chilliwack Lake Provincial Park began last weekend. The Tamihi Logging company is planning to log four cutblocks near Post Creek in prime spotted owl old-growth habitat. And this is just the beginning, as Tamihi has other cutblocks they plan to log. There are now thought to be less than a dozen spotted owls hanging on in their fragmented Canadian old-growth forest habitat in southwestern BC.  Both the BC and federal governments have pledged to bring the Canadian population of spotted owls back from the brink of elimination. But it’s hard to see how this species can be brought back to healthy numbers if we don’t protect enough old-growth forest habitat so that they can have a safe place to live.  Allowing logging in an area that is supposed to be set aside to protect spotted owls, one of Canada’s most endangered birds, is just plain wrong.

At this site there is a request to write to BC Premier Christy Clark to ask her to order an immediate halt to the logging of spotted owl old-growth forest habitat near Chilliwack Lake and to ensure that all remaining spotted owl old-growth forest habitat is protected from logging.

This is the letter that I sent through their site:

Dear Premier Clark:

It was reported on the news that the logging that is occurring in the Chilliwack Lake Spotted Owl Wildlife Habitat Area is fragmenting an important area of intact spotted owl forest habitat. When the Chilliwack Wildlife Habitat Area was first designated in 2006, absolutely no logging was to be allowed there.  This logging must be stopped without delay.  I can assure you that allowing loopholes for the logging industry to slip through is wrong on all ethical levels.

The spotted owl is one of the most endangered species in Canada. There are now thought to be less than a dozen spotted owls remaining in the wild in Canada. Furthermore, spotted owls are considered an important indicator species, meaning that the health of the spotted owl reflects the health of the old-growth ecosystem in which it lives.  Logging of the spotted owl’s forest habitat is the main reason that this species is endangered.

Please order an immediate halt to logging in spotted owl forest habitat currently underway near Chilliwack Lake. Ensure that all spotted owl forest habitat within this Canadian endangered species range in southwest BC is protected from logging.

In fact, if BC were to ban raw log exports it would help ensure mill jobs remain in BC, making it possible to protect spotted owl forests, while getting more jobs out of the trees we do cut outside of habitat areas.

Respectfully,

It would be helpful if others either went to the Wilderness Committee site and sent a letter too or joined in by emailing a letter similar to Premier Clark.

 

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4 thoughts

    • Thank you for dropping by my blog. Due to dial up internet connection I am unable to view your documentary. However I invite others who visit my blog to do so. It is a worthwhile cause to save old growth forests world wide.

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