forests Archives - West Wind Hardwood
Forests at Work

Forests at Work

Forestry isn’t just important for our economy: it helps us enjoy our beautiful outdoors.  The recreation and backcountry road access made possible by forestry is important to both tourism and local communities – especially during our COVID travel bans.

BC has vast conservation areas and the most protected parks in the country (approximately 12% of BC’s total land area), second only to Canada’s national parks system. Many other larger portions are set aside for urban areas and cultural interests, wildlife, big trees, and habitat protections (included within the working forest).  Reconciliation, ecological conservation, and future increases as forests age over time all would suggest that BC will never “lose” its old forests.

Like the many other benefits of a working forest, cultural qualities like non-consumptive recreation — bird watching, hiking, biking, nature photography and more — help promote balance in nature.  Every day, millions of people take advantage of opportunities for outdoor recreation on both public and private land.  Designated protected areas of public land allow access for recreation, helping to improve human welfare while conserving natural resources.

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Healing in the Forest

Healing in the Forest

A Guide to Forest Bathing

Take a walk in the woods with no specific destination in mind.  When was the last time you walked into the woods with no plans; no set agenda? 

Wander, observe and immerse!  Allow your senses to guide you.

This is exactly the experience offered by a forest bathing session.

Forest bathing, forest therapy, or Shinrin-yoku, was developed in Japan in the 1980s.  There is a large amount of scientific evidence surrounding the health benefits of spending time in nature. Because of this, forest bathing became an integral part of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

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The Dark Web of Mycorrhizal Networks

The Dark Web of Mycorrhizal Networks

Dr. Suzanne Simard has proven trees communicate. Dr. Simard is a professor of forest ecology; teaching at the University of BC (UBC). As a biologist, she has tested theories about how trees communicate with other trees. Currently, she involved with the Mother Tree project investigating forest renewal practices that will protect biodiversity, carbon storage and forest regeneration in our changing climate.

Mother trees are the largest trees in forests that act as central hubs for vast below-ground mycorrhizal networks. A mother tree supports seedlings by infecting them with fungi and supplying them with the nutrients they need to grow.

Research has shown that beneath every forest and wood there is a complex underground web of roots, fungi and bacteria helping to connect trees and plants to one another. Scientists have now nicknamed this network “the wood-wide web” in its very similar structure to the internet. This web is a highway of information for forests to communicate, cooperate, warn and share with each other.

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A Tree in a Forest

A Tree in a Forest

Book and Illustrations by Jan Thornhill

Every Christmas our daughters received a book from Santa or from his family and friends.  In 1992, our youngest received a book from Rudolf entitled A Tree in a Forest by Jan Thornhill.

It’s a wonderful little book, and an excellent life-cycle read-aloud for families and ecology units if you’re in the education system.  It’s an award-winning life of a tree book beginning with a maple seedling emerging from an old fallen log in 1763.  It follows its life for 2,010 years until finally, too weak to stand, it falls to the forest floor, starting the nurturing cycle all over again.

Gloriously illustrated book, I so desperately wanted to share some of Jan’s illustrations.  I reached out to Jan about a month ago to formally ask her approval and never heard back, so I hope she has no problem with my gentle sharing of her delightful children’s book.  Please visit her website and learn about her other books, awards and honours.  The accolades are well deserved!!

Here is an excerpt from the opening:

“Every forest is an amazing community of living things — of green plants and brilliant mushrooms, of nibbling deer and daring birds, of insects and spiders and tiny bacteria.  Each animal and plant relies in its own special way on the trees of the forest.
Trees are the biggest plants on Earth.  Their long winding roots help to hold fertile soil to the ground.  Their leaves clean and enrich the air we breathe.  They nourish and shelter and protect all kinds of other living things.
From the instant its life begins, every tree in every forest has its own special story to tell.  This is one story — the story of a maple tree.  its life begins more than two hundred years ago, long before your great-great-great-grandparents were ever born”.

Enjoy this photo essay and reach out to Jan Thornhill.  Do yourself or someone you know a favour and buy one of her books.  They are available through her website. Better yet, donate a book to your local school or library!

Trees of the Southwest Corner of Down Under

Trees of the Southwest Corner of Down Under

The region of Western Australia is a special corner of the world – now one of my favourite places for bush walking and just being out in the woolly wild. Well, it could be if I lived there  Much of the plant life in these forests is unique to the south-west of Western Australia. Trees such as the tingle only occur in this small area and as such provide a window to the past. Some of the plants have origins that can be traced back 65 million years to the super continent Gondwana when Australia was joined with what are now Africa, India, Antarctic and South America.

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