Mt. Nusatsum

Mt. Nusatsum

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Blow Down, Fall Down, Burn Down or Cut Down

Around these parts, there are pretty much only four ways that most of the trees end up on the ground.   The tree stump in this photo is an obvious example of one that was cut down a long time ago by early settlers.  What's interesting about this stump and tree is the size of the Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis) coming out of the centre of the stump.  It is 75 cm in diameter and more than doing well for the last 80-100 years. The stump or what remains of it after it 'cracked' open some time ago is a Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) stump.

It's a great example of the resilience of the forest.  When you consider the floods and fires that have gone through and the areas cleared for agriculture and homes, you can see the persistence of the forest to reestablish, even if it means growing on top of someone else's remains.

The summer of 2009 of course saw a fair number of trees in the Bella Coola Valley meet their end through forest fire.  The ones that blow down in the Bella Coola Valley are not usually in larger patches like you see on the outer coast where the shallow soils and the big fall and winter storms do their damage.  A lot of our valley blow down patches tend to be associated with fringes and fronts of the avalanche tracks from the horrendous wind that avalanches generate.

I've had occasion to experience trees that 'fall down' for no apparent reason as well.   Years back my wife and I were camping in a tent in a provincial campsite and in the middle of a dead calm night, a large cottonwood tree chose that moment to come crashing to the ground just behind our tent for no apparent reason, other than it's time had come.  It was more than a scary moment, when we heard it start to fall with no time to move and unsure where it was going.  Careful when you walk in the woods.

This photo I took today gives you and idea of the kind of weather we are having.  It's a pool on the Bella Coola River.  It was another nice calm day in  the Bella Coola Valley.



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  3. How about the big trees up there? Would love to hear about them and see some photos.

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