In British Columbia, some trees grow as tall as skyscrapers, yet an environmental group says there’s little to prevent these giants of the forest from being chopped down.
The Western Canada Wilderness Committee wants the provincial government to establish a designation that protects the 100 largest and oldest trees of each species.
The group notes the Ministry of Forests has a registry that lists the 10 largest trees of each species in the province but it doesn’t provide them any legal protection.
“People come from all over the planet to see the incredible forests,” said committee spokesman Ken Wu. “And so for these monumentally enormous trees we need their protection.”
Wu says the world’s second-largest sitka spruce tree, located by the coastal town of Port Renfrew on Vancouver Island, sits completely unprotected like hundreds of other near record-setters.
“But it’s in a forest service recreation site and those come and go,” Wu said.
He wants the province to enact measures similar to those already in place in Victoria, where a city bylaw protects any tree with a trunk diameter more than 80 centimetres.
“If people understand the importance of heritage trees in the city, they should certainly recognize the importance of heritage trees that are 10 times their size or more in the rural areas.”
Forests Minister Pat Bell did not respond to a request for comment.
A ministry spokeswoman said almost 200,000 hectares of old-growth forest is fully protected in parks, habitats, and other areas.