Conservationists have found what they are calling the “most magnificent and photogenic” forest on Vancouver Island, but for the moment it’s for their eyes only.
The Endangered Ecosystems Alliance said it first came across the 13-hectare area, populated by ancient-looking trees covered in thick green moss and ferns, in October. The conservationists later returned in December to explore more.
The group posted photos of the lush forest — which it nicknamed Mossome Grove — but said its location will remain hidden until the provincial government provides assurances that the land will be protected from commercial logging and trampling.
Ken Wu, the executive director of the Endangered Ecosystems Alliance said in a press release that the forest was the “most magnificent and stunningly beautiful” old-growth forest he had ever seen.
“Hollywood could not make a more stunning, picture-perfect forest than this one,” Wu said.
The group said it should be able to keep the location secret due to the grove’s limited size and the fact that there are no trails leading to it.
Researchers have concluded that human-induced climate change is largely to blame for the severity of forest fires that ripped through British Columbia in 2017.
A new study published in Earth’s Future has found that the 1.2-million hectare area that burned that year was seven to 11 times larger than it would have been without human influences on climate.
“As the climate continues to warm, we can expect that costly extreme wildfire seasons—like 2017, in BC—will become more likely in the future,” said Megan Kirchmeier-Young a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. “This will have increasing impacts on many sectors, including forest management, public health, and infrastructure.”
The 2017 wildfire season displaced 65,000 people and exposed millions to smoke-filled air. The area burned that year was record-setting, but was later surpassed in 2018, the study said.
Researchers found that extreme temperatures in B.C. during the 2017 summer were made more than 20 times more likely due to human-induced climate change.
Scientists from Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at the University of Victoria led the study and warned that extreme forest fires resulting from human influences on climate change will intensify in the future without further action.