Photos L to R:Skunk cabbages and ferns, Arbutus trees, view towards lake. Bottom: mixed forest.
Wildwood is located on the south eastern edge of Vancouver Island. It is not a park, but it looks like one. It is a forested area of about 55 hectares(77 acres) that has been logged since the 1930’s. The reason that it looks like a park is because of the unusual, at least for much of BC, way that it has been logged.
Merv Wilkinson bought this plot of land in 1938 planning to farm it. As life often turns out, it was not very suitable for farming, but was good for growing trees. He embarked on a lifetime of harvesting trees that was different from the normal practice at the time which was clear cutting.
Mr. Wilkinson has passed away but his heritage has lived on. His method of harvesting less than the maximum growth each year has resulted in many large trees on the property after 60 years of selective cutting. More than a million board feet have been harvested in that time. Harvesting selected trees with an eye to sustainability has meant that the lumber produced from these trees is close grained and with fewer knots. This served to support Mr. Wilkinson and his family over the years.
Some would say that single tree selection, protecting smaller trees when felling the big ones and leaving some to rot to provide habitat for birds and small mammals is not an economical way to log as the 77 acres only supported one family. The usual logging practice sweeps the land clear of marketable timber and often results in erosion and extirpation of non-commercial species.
It can make a lot of money in a short time for the logging company but leaves the land unproductive for many years. Many of our large logging companies in BC are multinationals and answer only to their shareholders. Some have found the best way to make money after harvesting the marketable timber is to sell the land to speculators who try to sell it for housing.
During his lifetime Merv Wilkinson was recognized as a leader in sustainable forestry. He received many awards and accolades including the Order of BC and the Order of Canada.
After his death the property was controlled by the Land Conservancy who had agreed to maintain it, but due to overwhelming debts they considered selling it to private interests. The Friends of Wildwood stepped in to fundraise and generally make the public aware of the situation. There is a core of dedicated volunteers that are working hard to maintain the forest.
Sunday they held an open house and the following photos are some that I took while there.
Following is a quote of Merv’s:
“We need to understand our relationship with the planet on which we live,” says Merv. “We have to live with the earth. The earth does not have to live with us.” Take 5 Publications
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BC Forest Service
Friends of Wildwood
Blogger, gardener, farmer. Working toward food security and a 30 foot
diet. Addicted to reading. Love this planet, especially my little corner
on Vancouver Island, Canada