Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek, Pacheedaht First Nations Territory, Vancouver Island:
During a talk in Victoria on Wednesday, Dr. Suzanne Simard said the forests in the Fairy Creek area store more carbon, per hectare per year, than is stored in the tropical rainforests of the Amazon. The renowned forest ecologist visited Fairy Creek on southern Vancouver Island earlier this week.
“If we save our old-growth forests, it is the easiest way to reduce carbon emissions,” she said.
Huge carbon reserves have built up in the trees and also, over thousands of years, within the layer of humus or rich soil on the forest floor, Simard explained. This is largely destroyed by clear-cut logging.
Near Heli Camp at Fairy Creek, Simard dug down and found the rich soil reached an entire metre in depth. In comparison, the soil layer in a nearby second-growth forest was only 33 cm. And at a third-growth seedling plantation, only 4 cm of soil remained. About 70% of the carbon stored in trees and earth is lost when these forests are logged, Simard said.
Dr. Simard is world-renowned for her work in discovering the mycorrhizal networks that allow trees to share nutrients and information with other trees. More than 1,000 people have been arrested in over a year of protests aimed at protecting Fairy Creek and other nearby ancient forests on southern Vancouver Island.
Photo: Dr. Suzanne Simard (left) and Seattle Times environmental reporter Lynda Mapes (right) stop near an ancient cedar tree at Fairy Creek.
Photo credit: Joshua Wright
RFS Media team[email protected]
Watch Dr. Suzanne Simard’s talk, recorded Sept.22 in Victoria: