We were at the annual General Meeting of the Cumberland Forest Society last evening. Carolyn and I were named Legacy Members because of our volunteer work acting as quiz masters for the biannual quiz night in Cumberland as well as our donations of money and time over the years. That was very nice!
At the end of the evening we had a great presentation by Tim Ennis, the new executive director of the Comox Valley Land Trust. He just took over the job from an old friend and former student of mine, Jack Minard. In his talk Ennis outlined briefly the many ecosystems in the Comox Valley that are endangered or worse. He reports that we have only 1% of old growth forest remaining on the island and the logging companies have their eyes on that too. Many ecosystems in the Valley are in danger of disappearing as well as a number of animal species associated with those ecosystems.
Many people (me included) have a mistaken impression that here on Vancouver Island we live in a rainforest. Not so. We live in a dry zone, actually, what Tim called a shadow zone. If I’m not mistaken it’s the Coastal Western Hemlock (CWH) biogeoclimatic zone and extends along the east coast of Vancouver Island, along the mainland coast and up the Fraser Valley for some distance. Tim needs to correct me on this or I need to do more research and report things accurately.
To me it’s unbelievable how much we have altered the natural landscape by building houses, towns, and infrastructure such as roads, dams and sewer systems. Logging continues apace with thousands of hectares of private forest lands cut down every year. Most people have no clue that most of the forests from Campbell River to Victoria are owned by private forest companies. They restrict access and have pretty much free rein on the lands that were essentially given to them or that they acquired dirt cheap through the sale of the original Dunsmuir land grant. We are in danger of losing much of our biodiversity in the Valley and beyond forever.
The Land Trust works with other organizations on the Comox Valley Conservation Strategy.
From the Land Trust’s website:
The main purpose of the CVCS is to prioritize sensitive ecosystems, create linkages over time via expanded riparian strips and designated recreation and biodiversity corridors and to create a new and exciting watershed-based, regionally collaborative land use planning framework. The current process has us working together with CAVI, Regional and Municipal planners, engineers and politicians to develop a new way of doing business.
Check out the Land Trust’s website:
More later when I’ve done more research!