Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Coastal BC Plants: Alders


Alder is a good place to start, not only because it's the first letter of the alphabet, but Alders are a common tree in Coastal BC. The Red Alder is found most predominately in open areas that have recently been disturbed such as roadbeds and logging slashes. Alders almost immediately take a foothold in the once shaded area that's now exposed to full sun.  It's considered a weed (even though it becomes a full grown tree) because of its persistent and pervasive nature.

The Alder is an important part of the regeneration of a forest. Forest succession is a process of death and rebirth. On a natural scale, the Alder is one of the good guys. In a forest replanted with evergreens (cedars, firs, pines), the lowly Alder isn't as welcome. Even though it's a nitrogen-fixer and adds richness to the compost on the forest floor, it strangles out newly planted trees that are being grown for profit.

Young Alders along Shermans Main, Powell Lake, BC
Alders provide an almost instant green cover to brown forested areas. They join berries and shrubs in providing borders along steep logging roads. For someone like me with a fear of heights, that's a huge plus.

Aboriginal people used Alder bark for dyeing, and the wood for smoking meat and carving. Today it is used for furniture, flooring, and firewood. -- Margy


  1. Now I know what those leaves belong to.

  2. They are just about everywhere in the bush Stephanie. You can tell where old logging roads used to be because they overgrow the disturbed ground quicker than you would think. - Margy

  3. It's wonderful to see the forest regenerate.


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy