Oceanside Old Growth Forest

Author: Ronda Murdock  11/23/2020

The communities of Oceanside are within the Coastal Douglas Fir (CDF) Biogeoclimatic zone. Despite old growth Coastal Douglas Fir forests once being abundant in our area, today they are almost extinct with only 0.5% remaining. 

The Coastal Douglas-fir (CDF) ecosystem is a high priority for protection in British Columbia for a variety of reasons. This ecosystem is home to 29 endangered plant communities. Additionally, the southern part of Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands contain eighty per cent of the CDF ecosystem in the world. There are 256,800 hectares of this ecosystem in British Columbia, and the Province owns only nine per cent of this forest type.

Small fragmented areas of old growth CDF forest exist in the Oceanside area. The most significant are in our surrounding Provincial, Regional and Municipal Parks. There are small patches of old growth CDF on Mt. Wesley on public land and more on private forest land currently flagged for logging.

There is a significant older forest with a few veteran old growth trees in the Little Qualicum River floodplain of which 90% is private corporate forest land.

There is a high percentage of private forest land on Vancouver Island, especially on the south east coast.  One example of the Private Managed Forest Land Act’s matrix of riparian regulations allowed harvesting to the waters edge on an island in the Englishman River in 2009. 47 Old Growth CDF trees were cut down, 22 trees were removed and the remaining 25 trees were left on the ground.

When we lose an old growth forest to clear cut logging or urbanization, we lose integral public resources that are vital to sustaining plant communities and wildlife, including unique species that can’t live in urban areas or in the second-growth tree plantations that old growth forests are replaced with.