Biggest alder tree in BC grows in Skedans

  • Sep. 28, 2007 8:00 a.m.

By Heather Ramsay-Two of the biggest red alders known in BC have been found on Haida Gwaii. One found in Skedans was first measured in 1996 with a 7.1 metre circumference and is considered the champion on the province’s Big Tree Registry. But this year, researchers found another huge alder at Ikeda in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site. The Ikeda tree is 3.9 metres in circumference, 23.4 metres tall and has a crown spread of 21.6 metres. The tree is considered the third largest after the Skedans specimen and a much taller alder in Stanley Park. The researchers were from the Coast Forest Region and were in the area over the past several weeks completing the last field season of work on an ongoing ecosystem classification project. The ecologists also returned to Skedans and re-measured the alder there. It is now measured at 7.2 metres in circumference with a crown spread of 27.6, four metres wider than when measured in 1996. Andy MacKinnon, research ecologist for the Coast Forest Region, was on the islands for the classification project, but he was also instrumental in resurrecting the Big Tree Registry. The registry, which was established in 1986 by Randy Stoltmann, a well-known conservationist and moutaineer who wrote a book called the Guide to the Record Trees of British Columbia. Mr. MacKinnon said the registry became inactive after Mr. Stoltmann died in a ski accident in 1994. Now it is housed at the Conservation Data Centre in Victoria. “I’m always keeping an eye out for big trees,” said Mr. MacKinnon. He noted there are not a lot of Haida Gwaii trees listed on the registry, so he challenges locals to change that. He is sure that Haida Gwaii must have some top-ranking trees, but had not measured any others or seen them himself. He said any talk of trees being bigger than the ones on the list is just that, until they are measured properly and registered. The instructions for measuring tree height, circumference and canopy spread are all on the Conservation Data Centre website at http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bigtree/index.html. Anyone interested in measuring trees should also print out the nomination form found there.

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