Coastal Douglas-Fir

October 19, 2012 by  

Coastal Douglas-Fir, The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) is the smallest of the 14 BC ecosystems listed in the Biogeoclimatic Ecosystem Classification (BEC) system. It is restricted to low elevations along southeastern Vancouver Island, from Bowser to Victoria, the Gulf Islands south of Cortes Island, and a narrow strip along the Sunshine Coast near Halfmoon Bay.

CDF zone, shown in light green

The CDF zone is in the rainshadow of Vancouver Island and the Olympic Mountains in Washington. Rainstorms that approach from the west hit these mountains first and discharge much of their moisture. Consequently, the summers are warm and dry, and the winters are mild and wet, although drier than most other BC coastal zones. This Mediterranean-type climate creates a unique set of conditions, allowing for a diverse group of plants and animals.

Within the CDF zone, Garry Oak ecosystems occur in sites characterised by particularly shallow, dry and/or rocky soils. Some Garry Oak meadows were also maintained with prescribed fire by First Nations.

Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystems are among the most imperiled coastal ecosystems. Since they occur along the coast, in regions favoured by people, they were some of the first forest types targeted for logging, and cleared for urban and agricultural development. Today, very few older forest ecosystems remain in the CDF zone, and those that do are highly fragmented. In other words, they exist as isolated “islands” among a landscape altered by human development.

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