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Coastal Douglas-Fir Ecosystem

October 19, 2012 by  

Coastal Douglas-Fir Ecosystem, The Coastal Douglas-fir ecosystem is one of the most endangered ecosystems in Canada. Less than 1% of the original old-growth forest is left, and about 50% of the entire ecosystem is under pavement or agriculture.

The ecosystem is characterized by a Mediterranean-like climate, trees such as Coastal Douglas-fir, arbutus and Garry oak, and is a refuge for many species-at-risk. The cities of Victoria, Nanaimo, Duncan, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Tsawassen and Lund are all located in this threatened and endangered area. Little Crown land exists here, mostly because of the “E & N Land Grant” of 1884, which gave away one-fifth of Vancouver Island to become the private property of coal baron Robert Dunsmuir. Today these private lands are held by a few large logging companies, or have been sold off for expanding housing developments.

The BC Ministry of Forests and Range is proposing to protect five candidate areas by a Land Use Order through the Integrated Land Management Bureau (www.ilmb.gov.bc.ca/slrp/legalobjectives/advertisedLUORs.html)

The Land Use Orders to be implemented through provisions in the Forest and Range Practices Act would protect several Crown forest land parcels from logging in the Coastal Douglas fir moist maritime subzone (CDFmm). The Crown parcels to be protected include sites at Bowser, Little Qualicum, Nanoose and Linley Valley on Vancouver Island, and Hurtado on the Sunshine Coast. They total roughly 2,000 hectares of extremely rare and endangered Coastal Douglas fir forests.

These protections will help regionally rare and at-risk species such as Garry oak and alligator lizards survive here into the future. These areas are representative of the most endangered and precious ecosystems on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. The BC Ministry of Forests and Range should be commended for proposing these protections. Protecting rare public lands in an endangered ecosystem is a very high conservation priority which can be done for free because we all own these public lands. Sadly, the vast majority of land in this region is privately owned and must be purchased by the BC government before it can be protected. It is very important therefore, that we not let the chance to protect these public lands slip through our fingers!

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