Old growth forest ecology

Scientific research & data on the ecological values of
 old growth forest ecosystems in British Columbia 

What is Old Growth?

An old growth forest is much more than a stand of old trees. Old growth is fundamentally an ecological concept and the simple working definition based on stand age does not consider structural and compositional attributes of the forest.


Over 400 species of plants and animals rely on BC’s old growth forests for at least part of their life cycle. As of February 18, 2022, 326 species (plants, animals, birds, etc.) have been sighted and recorded in the Fairy Creek watershed, including 17 species that are at risk.


Carbon Storage

BC’s old coastal forests store huge amounts of carbon (up to 1,300 Mg ha-1). On sites like Fairy Creek, old forests are estimated to store twice as much carbon as mature forests and six or more times as much as clearcuts.


Old Growth in BC

The BC government defines “old growth” on the coast as forests older than 250 years, but old forests have unique ecological characteristics that aren’t considered in this definition.