Complaint highlights public value of ancient trees
VICTORIA – A complaint investigation report released today brings attention to the special value of trees of exceptional size or form, age or historical significance.
Such trees can be from 500 to over 1,000 years old. Having withstood the ravages of time over many centuries, they can inspire awe and reverence, a sense of spirituality and connection to past events.
“This complaint highlights the strong public interest in seeing more ancient trees and forest stands preserved to live out their natural lives and functions, and managed as a social, economic and ecological asset to the public and surrounding communities,” said board chair Al Gorley.
The report is the result of an investigation into a public complaint about logging of very large old trees near Port Renfrew on the west coast of Vancouver Island. In the circumstances, the licensee complied with existing forestry legislation for the protection of old-growth and biodiversity values. As part of its cutblock plan, the licensee also retained some trees of similar size and age to those harvested.
“The licensee did nothing wrong, but the complaint led the board to consider that certain individual, or small groups, of exceptional trees that sometimes occur on the timber harvesting land base may provide a higher social and economic value if they are treated as a special resource feature and excluded from timber harvesting,” added Gorley.
The board encourages government, forest professionals, and forest licensees to seek additional creative means to conserve trees of exceptional size or form, age or historical significance when they encounter them in their forestry work. However, the board also recognizes that there are practical constraints, such as worker safety, that may require some of these trees to be removed.
The Forest Practices Board is B.C.’s independent watchdog for sound forest and range practices, reporting its findings and recommendations directly to the public and government. The board is required to investigate public complaints about forest planning and practices.
Forest Practices Board Communications
Phone: 250 213-4705 / 1 800 994-5899
February 10, 2011