Reading the letter from Tony Greenfield gave me pause to ponder.
Comparing the number of species in an old growth forest with the number of species in a recently logged forest is looking at biodiversity from a very limited perspective.
The biodiversity of an old growth forest is less visible than that of more recently logged areas. Old growth forests contribute to ecological diversity depending on what these forests experienced and how they have developed over centuries. Undisturbed forests are outdoor education centres — places to study deep canopies and structural complexities.
In more enlightened regions, rather than logging the few remaining old growth areas, scientists are using canopy cranes and laser scanning to learn more about canopy complexity. A few large old growth trees do not make an old growth forest, but different species of large old trees, deep and intricate canopies, large snags and large fallen trees do. And this creates habitat for some different kinds of plants, insects, etc.
Even though individual trees die, old growth canopies can last for centuries. As we understand more, we can use this information to manage young forests. It is not about one type of forest being more diverse than another. The concern is that there are not many old growth forests left. Do we want all our forests to be less than 50 years old? What does that do to our regional biodiversity?
The Wilson Creek Forest is one of those few remaining undisturbed forests. Why is the Community Forest scheduled to log this potential gem? Although perhaps not as spectacular, it could become as important to the Sunshine Coast as Cathedral Grove is to Vancouver Island.