Introducing the Pender Islands Big Tree Registry
Approximately 25% of the global extent of Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) forests and associated habitats occur in the Gulf Islands region of British Columbia’s Capital Regional District (CRD). The smallest of 16 biogeoclimatic (BEC) zones in the province, the CDF zone is characterized by towering conifers like Western red cedar and Coastal Douglas-fir; diverse and rare ecosystems like Garry oak meadows; and many native and endangered plant, insect, bird, reptile and other wildlife species.
Coastal Douglas-fir forests (CDF)
Located in the temperate “rainshadow” region of coastal British Columbia, the CDF has been dramatically fragmented by increasing industrial, commercial, and residential development. In recent years, this development pressure has been exacerbated by the tangible impacts of climate change which, along with unregulated deer browsing, fire suppression, and invasions of non-native species, pose cumulative threats to an assemblage of habitats.
The Pender Islands Big Tree Registry aims to raise awareness about the rare and endangered status of CDF forests and associated ecosystems on the Gulf Islands. The registry has been modelled, with permission, after the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) big tree registry.
Tree measure verification
Big tree registries have been shown to be useful tools for:
- increasing public awareness about the importance of healthy trees and healthy forests;
- identifying areas of high conservation priority; and
- providing valuable information to encourage protection for iconic trees.
With support from UBC’s Big Tree Committee for the use of their guiding resources, along with having a qualified “tree measurer” on the Raincoast team who can verify big tree nominations, Raincoast is equipped to support Pender Island residents in participating in this program as citizen scientists. This initiative will increase public awareness of forest conservation challenges on the Gulf Islands while creating actionable opportunities that contribute to solutions. It will also encourage people to get outdoors to search for, and identify big trees.