Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Coastal BC Plants: Forest Primeval

The term primeval forest refers to old growth or primary growth forests, but those are rare along the British Columbia coast where logging has been a prominent part of the economy for over a century. But, there are many forests now reaching their 100th birthday and are a sight to behold. There are also a few true old growth trees interspersed among those forests that give us a hint of what it was like in the beginning.

An old growth forest includes large living trees, standing dead trees or snags, and fallen logs in various stages of decay. Under the forest canopy you will a wide variety of plants. The carbon-rich soil from the decaying logs provides fertile ground for mosses. fungi and other shade lovers. Frequent precipitation and humidity in the coastal rainforest adds to the profusion of plant and animal life.

These pictures were taken during a recent hike through an older second growth forest near our cabin on Powell Lake. Ferns and salal thrive side-by-side. Beyond the trail, the ground is covered with plant debris and a spongy duff. Duff is defined by Natural Resources Canada as:

duff. Forest litter and other organic debris in various stages of decomposition on top of the mineral soil; typical of coniferous forests in cool climates, where rate of decomposition is slow and where litter accumulation exceeds decay.
This may not a true primeval forest, but it's a mature forest for sure. On our hike, I let Wayne and John go ahead so I could be alone and surrounded in the forest's peace and tranquility. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. -- Margy


  1. I love walking in old growth forests and thankfully even though this is logging country there are a few areas left to enjoy. As you say---some of the older woods can be termed 'old growth'. MB

  2. These are beautiful photos Margy! I enjoy the tranquility of a forest too, thanks for the trip:)

  3. old growth forests are so important to the ecosystem
    ROG, ABC Wednesday team