Western Forest Products’ ongoing commitment to identify and protect big trees

April 24, 2019

By: The Working Forest Staff

Vancouver, British Columbia – Big trees on the coast of British Columbia are revered for their biological and cultural value. As part of its sustainable forestry practices, identifying and protecting these awe-inspiring trees has been an ongoing focus at Western Forest Products.

“Our team members share a great sense of responsibility toward safeguarding the forests under our care. We are proud to have formalized a big tree policy in 2016 that strengthened guidelines used by our forest professionals in the retention of big trees and we look forward to continuing to build on our big tree conservation efforts,” said Shannon Janzen, vice president, and chief forester, Western Forest Products. “We are protecting B.C.’s biggest trees using new science and technology and through consultation and collaboration with First Nations and academics to build on our forest stewardship at Western.”

Through the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology, a 3D mapping system, Western has identified approximately 2,000 big trees that, based on their height, could meet the standards of the company’s big tree retention policy. These trees are located across the tenures managed by the company and close to communities such as Woss, Port Hardy and Campbell River among others. These big trees are excluded from harvest areas and form the basis of new retention areas that protect big trees and maintain biodiversity.

By providing precise height measurements, LiDAR has enabled Western to expand its definition of big trees beyond diameter to include these tall trees. This information is being applied by the company to strengthen and enhance the company’s conservation of big trees.

Following field verification, the trees identified will be proposed for addition to the Big Tree Registry, a listing of confirmed and protected big trees across the province that is managed by the University of British Columbia. Western will also be working with UBC’s Big Tree Committee to share knowledge to support their efforts to identify, monitor and conserve these trees.

In addition, Western is exploring with the Huu-ay-aht First Nations ways to build on both parties’ efforts to maintain big trees on its forest tenures in the Alberni Valley and in TFL 44 through their newly created TFL 44 Limited Partnership. Western is committed to working with other First Nations on whose traditional territories the company operates to understand and preserve the cultural legacy of iconic trees.

For more information and the latest news about Western’s commitment to preserving big trees, view the company’s website.

About big trees:

Western’s definition of big trees encompasses trees that are greater than half of the diameter outlined in the British Columbia Big Tree Registry. Managed by the University of British Columbia, the Big Tree Registry is a listing of field-verified and protected big trees.

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