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Wildcraft Forest School
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Communiqué - March 8, 2019
A Forest Quest for Mother Trees
Wildcraft Forest School seeks to
Inventory Seed Trees in old growth forests
“We are losing the wild and biodiverse forest. It’s entirely possible that we could lose the entire genetic memory held by the tree seeds cast by Mother Trees, and in the process have forests that can’t problem-solve changing environments and stress.”
- Don Elzer, founder of the Wildcraft Forest School
VERNON, BRITISH COLUMBIA - As spring approaches an environmental organization is getting prepared for major research and work expeditions into British Columbia’s remote forests, and their quest is to explore the presence of Mother Trees also known as Seed Trees.
The Wildcraft Forest School is launching its annual experiential learning programs that will help them find, inventory, record and collect seed cones in areas of the Okanagan, Upper Shuswap River and Monashee Mountains.
“We are trying to locate as many of these trees as possible so that we can seek to protect them and to further understand the relationship between these trees and the forest ecology,” said Don Elzer, founder of the Wildcraft Forest School.
Elzer adds that seeds collected from the cones will be germinated and nurtured at the schools wild plant nursery and then the seedlings will be planted within various restoration efforts the school performs.
“This activity has been carried out for a number of years but the work now has a sense of urgency as forest companies’ scale up harvesting and logging moves into more remote areas,” said Elzer.
Elzer explains that not all trees are Mother Trees; and these trees are not necessarily the biggest or oldest trees; or the most beautiful of trees. They are Seed Trees.
“In a conifer forest all trees have cones, but often when a forest comes to an edge, it creates a Seed Tree, which is a tree that has a purpose to vastly expand the forest. You will see these trees on occasion; they have more cones than the other trees. They are tasked with being the Mother to a great number of species which engage with expanding the forest.”
Mother Trees represents the genetic memory for a forest and without them a forest weakens according to Elzer.
“In the old days, loggers would always leave the Seed Trees because they knew that these trees would regenerate the forest; but long ago we abandoned that method of reforestation. Now we clearcut forests and there is no effort to protect these Seed Trees, they are turned into lumber or chips - like the other trees. Today, within commercial forestry we rely on industrial tree planting tasked with growing forests that are economically profitable.”
Elzer adds, “We are losing the wild and biodiverse forest. It’s entirely possible that we could lose the entire genetic memory held by the seeds cast by Mother Trees, and in the process have forests that can’t problem-solve changing environments and stress.”
He emphasizes that more people need to get out into these remote areas and seek to understand how forest ecology works; and seeing first hand the beauty that exists, as well as the threats that are emerging.
The Wildcraft Forest School offers learning programs and memberships that provide a means to explore forests and help with these regenerative efforts. Elzer suggests that we need to create a relationship with nature and take more practical hands-on responsibility as stewards of the forests around us.
“The satisfaction of making bird nesting habitat, or planting trees – whatever the action might be, must be about helping those wild living beings first and foremost. By investing in nature, she will invest in us – this represents the true economy of a living Earth – and this helps us grow mindfulness towards all living beings; and then towards each other.”
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