British Columbians are trying to protect the last 1% of ancient forests!

The destruction of ancient climate-protective forests is taking place not only in Russia, but throughout the world. The significance of the last ancient sites of wildlife people are beginning to realize more and more! Today I want to tell you about the tough fight for old growth forests on the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Right now, just like you and me in Russia, the locals of the island are trying to protect the most ancient cedars. These are red and yellow cedars about 1000 years old. Really the last stretches of real ancient forests.

A logging company, the largest monopolist with tie-ups in power, Teal-Jones has exclusive rights with a license to cut down a huge tract of forest. 230 square miles (or 370.15 square kilometers)! Just a colossal piece of ancient forest in the southwest of the island, where there is a GLOBALLY RARE zone of temperate rainforests. For you to understand, these forests are not only a cultural heritage for indigenous peoples and settlers, but also influence the formation of the microclimate, regulate the ecological state of the region.

Everything is just like with us! A large company comes waving a “paper with a seal” and shouting “everything is legal!” begins to cut down old-growth forests.

One of the main logging sites on Vancouver Island that a local company has the right to cut is the headwaters of Fairy Creek, about 50 miles (or 80.47 km) northwest of Victoria, the provincial capital. These forests, which are old-growth, are home to great Douglas firs, Sitka firs, as well as tall cedars, some of which reach over 30 meters in height! For you to understand, one such cedar has a girth of about three meters. A real giant, a giant, of which there are practically none left in the world.

Once upon a time, not long ago by the standards of life on the planet, in just an instant, old-growth forests covered large areas of British Columbia. Unfortunately, today there is ATTENTION LESS than 1% of ANCIENT FORESTS left here.

Just imagine, thick evergreen giants above your head! Mighty branches filter the light into rare sunspots. There is thick moss under your feet and even tree trunks are covered with extraordinary mosses. Ferns grow on all sides, rain dripping from their leaves. And this fabulous forest corner, the oldest biogeocenosis, was simply decided to be cut down for the sake of extracting momentary profit. This was the last frontier, when the locals just stupidly took to the streets and began to protect the mighty cedars! And this is understandable, because even according to official statistics it is known that the provincial government allows the destruction of forests CONSCIOUSLY, knowing that 85% of British Colombians are AGAINST DESTRUCTION OF FORESTS.

Since August 2021, mass protests have begun. Groups of people set up blockades in an attempt to prevent timber trucks from entering areas with ancient forests. After 10 months of struggle, in a tough fight with the loggers, many of their artificial blockades are still intact. But in recent weeks, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have decided to step up their arrests of protesters, with a total of 185 activists arrested. Criminal cases are “sewn” against them, they are sent to prison, and huge fines are issued. But people still go to protect forests! So one day, against the backdrop of increased police pressure, the protesters gathered over 2,000 activists to strengthen the blockades.

And then, people from other areas began to support them, protests broke out across North America, from Vancouver to Toronto and in many indigenous communities. A petition was organized, which collected over 70 thousand signatures of caring people in defense of the ancient forests! What’s more, the views of protesters and indigenous peoples who have lived on this land for over 13,000 years are now backed by science!

This is what, comrades-in-arms, I write to you all the time! That our struggle against the destruction of the Russian Taiga is a scientifically based task necessary to preserve the integrity of all biogeocenoses. This is necessary for ourselves, for our survival, for the survival of our children! As scientists learn more about mycorrhizal webs, the symbiotic relationship between tree roots and microscopic fungi that LINK TREES and transport vital nutrients THROUGHOUT THE FOREST, the importance of the ancient forest becomes undeniable. Ancient forests must not be destroyed!

The term “mother trees” is very rare! Recently, I met a representative of the small people of Russia, the Kets, her name is Khaivalam. We are talking to her about filming, maybe you will see her comments soon in a documentary in defense of the ancient forests. So her name is translated as “Mother-cedar”. Can you imagine, our ancient peoples, who for thousands of years lived in harmony with nature, being its integral part, even then associated mighty cedars with the Mother. And now scientists are SCIENTIFICLY CONFIRMING that some trees are indeed mother trees.

Mother trees act as centers of mycorrhizal communication, that is, the symbiotic connection of fungi with the roots of higher trees! A real symbiosis that almost no one knows about, the most complex majestic connection. Do lumberjacks think about this when they cut down centuries-old forests? Do the governments of the countries of the world think about it when they give sanctions for the destruction of trees? Of course not. Everyone frankly doesn’t care! And this is true.

Mother trees are an integral part of forest health and sustainability, and it takes hundreds of years to establish their role in biocoenoses. And now, many of the old-growth cedars on Vancouver Island are acting as mother trees. Their destruction will lead to the total degradation of all remaining ecological systems.

You need to understand that ancient forests are one of the most biodiverse ecosystems in the world! Including in such forests there is still so much unknown to science, so many living organisms that even scientists and specialists have not heard of. And every living being, every plant or fungus, supports the HEALTH of ALL TREES IN THE FOREST with a single biological chain. And the old-aged ancient giants are the basis for maintaining the life of ALL organisms in the forest, both large and small.

The planet is sinking deeper and deeper into the climate crisis, into ecological catastrophes. And even large businesses already have to adapt to these changes! There are no longer enough resources. We are already seeing climate change, the degradation of all biological rhythms on Earth. And right now we need to make unthinkable actions of all of us to save the ancient forests! You and I, comrades-in-arms in Russia, are waging a colossal struggle for ancient forests. Now we are filming a documentary in defense of the ancient giants, a petition has been launched and almost half a million voices of those who are not indifferent have already been collected, public appeals have been launched to the government of the Russian Federation on a ban on cutting down cedars and ancient forests. Initiatives are published openly on my official website.

A lot of materials, articles, studies have been published. We’re trying to stop the destruction of ancient forests! And I know that if as many people as possible will share problems, talk about them, fight for our nature, support this fight, then we will achieve change.

1% of the ancient forests remained with the inhabitants of British Columbia. But there are still many such forests in Russia! And we HAVE SOMETHING TO PROTECT. So let’s do it, together! Let’s leave a better future for our children. Just act!

© PAVEL PASHKOV

 

Translation of articles from Russian into English is carried out with the support of a google translator. All claims for errors should be sent to Google.

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Pavel Pashkov