Western red cedar tree with Douglas firs in a forest

Forest Walk, Gabriola Island

It’s spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, a cause for celebration as those longer days return.

Today is also World Forestry Day – a time to think about the importance of forests, no matter what the season or where we live.

Since it was first observed in 1971, this annual event has been marked to help increase public awareness of forests and the many benefits they bring to our lives.

As living, breathing, interconnected ecosystems made up of trees, plants, insects, wildlife, fungi, microbes and more, forests give us so much that’s vital: cool and breathable air, clean water, food, edible oils, shelter, shade, building materials, medicines, fuel, recreation, solitude, serenity… the list could be much longer. And I’ve written before about the amazing power of trees to elevate our moods.

The photo above was taken during a winter walk here on Gabriola Island, when the forest was very quiet. The large tree in the centre is a Western redcedar (Thuja plicata), a conifer common to our region and one that’s well suited to our mild, often wet climate. Most of the surrounding trees are Douglas fir.

The forest floor is dominated by salal, a mainstay food for our local deer. They browse the salal year-round, and especially savour the new shoots in spring and the dark blue berries in late summer. The brownish plants on the right are dried fronds of last year’s bracken fern; a month or two from now, this scene should be almost completely green as the new bracken grows up.

World Forestry Day seems like a good time for taking a walk in the woods, doesn’t it?

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About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer and writer focusing on nature and the environment

5 responses »

  1. What a great shot! Very profound! I love your accompanying post to the shot as well, sentiments that are near and dear to us too!

  2. Sherry Galey says:

    Now that’s what I would love to see on a “winter” walk in Canada! What a gorgeous scene. How fortunate you are to be in the midst of such beauty. I love these trees and the salal on the ground. I did not know deer ate that. I always learn something fascinating from your blog.

    • Thanks Sherry! Yes, winter is usually pretty green here – though some years we have snow (none this year – hopefully I’m not speaking too soon!). If not for the deer, the salal on our own property would have overgrown our driveway and paths by now. Our four-legged trimmers do a good job of keeping it in check. 🙂

  3. […] Laurie MacBride at Eye on Environment writes: “It’s spring equinox in the northern hemisphere, a cause for celebration as those longer days return. Today is also World Forestry Day – a time to think about the importance of forests, no matter what the season or where we live…. ” Celebrating Forests https://eyeonenvironment.wordpress.com/2013/03/21/2542/ […]

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