The article first appeared in Metro Vancouver’s Regional Parks Newsletter,
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Few big old-growth Douglas-firs still stand in the Metro Vancouver region. Sadly, one of these giants recently fell at Capilano River Regional Park.
Estimated at around 500 years old, this giant was a familiar sight to park visitors on the Giant Fir Trail.
At almost two metres in diameter and about 58 metres tall, this tree survived centuries of challenges, from fierce storms to raging fires, attacks by insects, fungus and disease.
It also escaped the axes and saws of logging in the early 1900s.
But sometime during the night of December 8, 2020 it succumbed to laminated root rot, a natural process.
There is some good news. It has a sister just a few metres away – even larger – that lives on.
And the now fallen giant will begin the process of giving back to the forest ecosystem. Beetles, wood-borers and other insects have already moved in and started the process of breaking down the wood.
Birds, squirrels and other creatures will make their home in the hollowed out spaces (and feed on the insects).
Bit by bit, the nutrients contained in the fallen tree will be released back into the forest floor, and will be used by surrounding trees to grow bigger and taller.
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