For years, the Wilderness Committee has been working with allies to help safeguard one of BC’s most unique old-growth forest ecosystems – the world’s only inland temperate rainforest.
In southeastern British Columbia, 600 kilometres inland, the majestic spires of the Columbia and Rocky Mountains capture moisture from air moving inland from the Pacific Ocean. The west-facing slopes and valley bottoms of these mountain ranges are cloaked in lush humid forests of redcedar, western hemlock, mosses, ferns, and lichens. It’s the only place on Earth where this type of temperate rainforest ecosystem exists so far from the sea.
In this humid climate, there are trees up to 1,800 years old in forests that have been evolving uninterrupted for thousands of years. Tragically, in the last 50 years, clearcut logging has ravaged this rare landscape.
This region contains the headwaters of the Fraser and Thompson River systems, a significant portion of the upper Columbia River, and many connected wetlands. It also provides critical habitat for the endangered mountain caribou, a species that is totally dependent upon old-growth forest at all elevations of its home range. The mountain caribou is on the brink of extinction, as are many other species that call this region home, including grizzly bears, wolverines, mountain goats and bull trout.
Excessive logging, fragmentation by roads, and flooding by hydroelectric development have had serious impacts on this stunning region and its threatened wildlife.
Because of the hard work of conservationists and local groups like the Save the Cedar League, some areas within the inland temperate rainforest have now been protected by the BC government as Old Growth Management Areas (OGMAs). But large swaths of this unique forest remain unprotected. The Wilderness Committee and our allies have proposed a network of protected areas in this region, and we continue to push for a solution that ensures protection for all old-growth forest and remaining intact areas, as well as the species that call this region home.
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