Having lived on the North Shore for more than three quarters of a century, and having kept a close eye on the forest cover for all of that time, I would like to comment on the statements regarding trees by the councillors of the District of North Vancouver (DNV Considers Ban on Cutting Big Trees, July 18, North Shore News).
Most of the trees under discussion are the native Douglas fir, red cedar and hemlock. Growing naturally in the original forest cover they could reach a height of 50 metres and diameter of up to two metres. Depending on conditions, this could take as long as 600 years. The forest cover was complete over all the landscape, meaning the whole forest protected itself from blow-down.
Almost all the trees in the district are second growth; very few are more than 100 years old. Because they have had favorable conditions - no competition, plenty of water and sunshine, and plenty of lawn fertilizer - their growth rate is phenomenal: for fir and hemlock 15 times the rate of the wild tree, for the red cedar, up to 25 times.
The lower part of the British Properties was clear cut before 1938. It now boasts trees big enough to produce saw logs for the mill. The concept behind the proposed bylaw is the reverse of what is needed; when a tree on private or district property reaches a diameter of 75 centimeters, it must come down.
To leave it standing, usually alone and top heavy, with its roots constricted by driveway, rock wall or house foundation, is to ask for death and destruction when, as is inevitable, it falls to the ground.
Watch for the next major storm: It will be a killer and we will know where to place the blame.
James R. Thomson West Vancouver