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Deformed cedar puts new face on old-growth protection on Vancouver Island

Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun, March 25, 2010

Deformed cedar puts new face on old-growth protection on Vancouver Island
Click for larger image

Ancient Forest Alliance photographer and big tree hunter TJ Watt, stands next to what is being called Canada's Gnarliest Tree. The old-growth Red Cedar measuring 12ft accross is covered with contorted alien-shaped burls and is threatened by logging.
Photo by TJ Watt

Gnarly, dude. Environmentalists are exploiting a grotesquely shaped western red cedar to highlight the need to protect a grove of old-growth trees near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island.

The Ancient Forest Alliance describes the ancient cedar as "Canada's gnarliest tree" and the patch of forest where it is located as Avatar Grove after Canadian James Cameron's blockbuster movie with an environmental theme.

The alliance fears that at least part of the grove could be logged by the Surrey-based Teal-Jones Group; it urges protection for the 100 or so massive old-growth cedar and Douglas fir trees due to their easy public access.

The grove is located about 10 kilometers north of Port Renfrew in the Gordon River Valley in Tree Farm License #46, the environmental group said.

The gnarly western red cedar measures 11 meters in circumference near the base of its trunk. Its look is attributed to a burl created by a non-lethal fungal infection that caused the tree trunk to grow giant contorted lumps, the alliance states.

Officials with Teal-Jones and the B.C. forests ministry were not immediately available to comment.


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