Sep 29, 2014 | News Coverage

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Ever walked through a forest in B.C. and encountered a giant tree that left you awestruck?

The University of B.C.’s Faculty of Forestry is looking for help from the public to help identify the largest trees of each species in B.C.

The faculty has revamped its B.C. Big Tree registry for people to nominate their favorite majestic giant tree.

All you have to do is record the location and measure the tree trunk circumference, height — there are mobile phone apps that allow you to use a smartphone as an ‘inclinometer’ to measure the height of a tree — the location (GPS coordinates) and a photo of the tree.

A tree expert will verify whether the tree is the largest of its kind in the province or is just a spectacular example of its species.

The registry helps conserve big trees in B.C. and educates citizens about the giants living among us.

“We think the biggest ones haven’t been found yet,” explained Sally Aitken, a UBC professor of forest and conservation sciences.

“If we want to conserve them, we have to find them and identify them,” she said Thursday.

What makes big trees so special is that they are living legacies of ancient forests, Aitken said.

The oldest have been standing for up to 1,800 years, she said.

“They are the biggest living organisms we can feel, touch and even hug if we want to. They are a biological legacy of the past.”

Aitken said our coastal rainforests have some enormous Douglas-fir, western redcedar, and Sitka spruce trees, including some of the world’s largest specimens, mainly because of the climate conditions: mild year-round temperatures and lots of rainfall.

The province is home to 50 different tree species, including the largest trees in Canada and almost as large as the biggest trees in the world — the redwoods of California.

Aitken said the original B.C. Big Tree registry was started in the 1980s by outdoorsman Randy Stoltmann, who died in a mountaineering accident in 1994.

Until recently, the registry was on paper, contained in cardboard boxes. The UBC forestry department now has transformed it into an online resource, making it easy for the public to access and nominate trees for consideration.

It also allows people to use interactive maps to locate the largest, oldest trees near their homes, which UBC forestry is encouraging people to do as part of National Forest Week.

For more info, go to the B.C. Big Tree Registry website.

Below is a video of Canada’s second largest tree found last spring near Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island. It’s known as Big Lonely Doug because the 70-metre tall Douglas-fir is located in a clearcut.

Read more and view PHOTOS and VIDEO at:

Working to protect BC’s endangered old-growth forests and ensure a sustainable, second-growth forest industry.