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On National Tree Day the Ancient Forest Alliance calls for a “Provincial Heritage Trees Designation” to Protect Canada’s Largest and Oldest Trees

Ancient Forest Alliance, September 21, 2011

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On National Tree Day the Ancient Forest Alliance calls for a “Provincial Heritage Trees Designation” to Protect Canada’s Largest and Oldest Trees
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Photo by TJ Watt

Today, September 21 has been declared “National Tree Day” in Canada and the Ancient Forest Alliance (AFA) is calling on the British Columbian government to establish a Provincial Heritage Trees and Heritage Groves designation. Such a designation would protect the largest, oldest, and most unique trees of each species, as well as the most magnificent monumental stands of old-growth trees in the province.

*TODAY from 11:00-11:30 am media are invited to join Ancient Forest Alliance cofounders Ken Wu and TJ Watt at the largest Douglas-fir tree (3 meters or 10 feet wide in trunk diameter) in Greater Victoria in Francis King Regional Park’s Heritage Grove for a brief press conference and tour. Please meet in the parking lot by the park’s nature centre off of Munn Rd. Click here for Google Map.

“British Columbia is world renowned for having Canada’s largest trees and some of the most magnificent forests on Earth - how many jurisdictions still have trees with trunks as wide as living rooms and that tower as tall as downtown skyscrapers? What better way to celebrate the trees of Canada than to protect Canada’s largest trees, here on Vancouver Island?” stated Ancient Forest Alliance campaigner and photographer TJ Watt. “Just as we have laws to protect 100 year old heritage buildings, we need laws to protect 1,000 year old heritage trees and groves.”

See images of Canada’s largest trees on the Ancient Forest Alliance’s online photo galleries (Media are free to reprint any photos. Credit TJ Watt if possible.)

The province keeps a list of the 10 largest trees of each species through the Big Tree Registry but the list does not confer any legal protection for the trees, and many are unprotected.

Former BC Minister of Forests and Range Pat Bell mentioned in February 2011 that the province would look into creating a new legal tool to protect BC’s largest trees and monumental groves but the BC government has since not mentioned of any progress on this initiative.

Several BC municipalities such as Victoria and Oak Bay already have tree protection bylaws that prohibit the cutting of large trees over a certain trunk diameter, as well as the cutting of rare native species like Garry oak and Arbutus trees without a special permit.

“Not only do we need to protect our largest trees and monumental groves, most importantly the BC Liberal government must protect our endangered old-growth ecosystems on a much larger scale through a Provincial Old-Growth Strategy to sustain our biodiversity, climate, wild salmon, and tourism industry,” stated AFA co-founder Ken Wu. “Most of the world is logging second, third, and fourth growth forests now, and the BC government must ensure the same here instead of facilitating the collapse of our last old-growth ecosystems.”

Already 75% of Vancouver Island’s original, productive old-growth forests have been logged, including 90% of the valley bottoms where the biggest trees grow and richest biodiversity is found. For satellite maps visit: http://www.ancientforestalliance.org/old-growth-maps.php


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