British Columbia's Coastal Forests
Canada’s richest forest diversity is found along the B.C. coast, which stretches from Washington State north to the Alaska panhandle, with a deeply indented, island-dotted coastline that covers more than 25,000 km (15,500 miles). Much of the coast region is remote wilderness, yet it also includes the most heavily populated areas of B.C.
Seventy-eight percent of B.C.'s 4.6 million residents live in the southwest corner of the province, an area that includes Metro Vancouver (Canada's third-largest city), Victoria (the provincial capital), Squamish, Nanaimo, Powell River, Campbell River, and numerous other smaller communities. The Vancouver Island & Coast economic region is the most densely populated region outside of the Lower Mainland with 800,000 residents.
Native trees include important commercial species such as hemlock, fir, western red cedar and Douglas fir.
Less than a fraction of one per cent of the total coast forest is logged annually (27,000 hectares) and this includes an increasing amount of second-growth forest, which is being replaced with thriving, third-growth forests.
Protecting Coastal Forests
B.C.’s coastal forests contain one-quarter of the world’s coastal temperate rainforest. Like all regions of the province, the Coastal region includes protected areas and special management zones that are designed to help maintain the province’s unique diversity.
In the Great Bear Rainforest the unprecedented collaboration among First Nations, the B.C. government, environmental groups and forest companies protects 85 per cent of the area’s forests, provides economic opportunities for First Nations, and offers certainty for the forest industry through sustainable harvesting in 15 per cent of the area’s forests.
Coastal Forest Industry
The coast region produces a wide variety of high-quality products from sought-after species, such as Douglas fir, hemlock and western red cedar.