A glimpse of forestry in British Columbia.

  • Karen Bothwell 42 Offington Drive, Sutton, Dublin 13.
Keywords: British Columbia, biogeoclimatic classification, forest tenure, forest management, wood markets, certification.


British Columbia (BC) has been described as a "sea of mountains" unsuitable for growing almost everything except trees (Barber 1995). Native Americans were the first loggers harvesting trees for shelter, transportation and for ceremonial purposes. When settlers came from Europe in the mid-1800s they brought with them their Old-world preference for open fields, food crops and livestock. Forests were viewed as an obstacle to be cleared away, but their removal was a losing struggle against stubborn stumps, relentless undergrowth and thin soils. Eventually, the people realised that lumber was the most valuable crop and harvesting began in earnest in the late I 860s. By 1900 forest harvesting was the leading industry in the province and it has never relinquished that position (Barber 1995). The sheer scale of the forests dominated my first impressions of BC, the vast forest industry, vitally important to every community. Nearly everyone I met had some connection with forestry. Almost every town has a sawmill or pulp mill, many of the roads warn of logging trucks, rivers are full of logs waiting to be pulled up to the sawmills. Even the houses in Vancouver have huge Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) spruce trees in their gardens; the streets downtown are lined with trees. Most of the building construction is with wood. Forests, trees and wood are an intimate part of the culture, life-style and community of BC.
How to Cite
Bothwell, K. (2000) “A glimpse of forestry in British Columbia.”, Irish Forestry. Available at: https://journal.societyofirishforesters.ie/index.php/forestry/article/view/9902 (Accessed: 14April2024).
Forest Perspectives