A dedicated group of islanders is working to ensure over 8 acres of mature coastal Douglas fir, Western redcedar, and Bigleaf maple forest remains standing. This healthy mixed forest is on the upland portion of Lot F of the Larmour Lands, and its future is threatened. The community is invited to join us in this effort to prevent Lot F from being clearcut or developed.
Through the generous support of many donors, the adjacent forest and wetlands of Lot H have recently been saved and will be preserved in perpetuity! Now the focus is on extending this and creating a larger protected area to increase and enhance the health and function of this important ecosystem. With conservation covenants already in place on nearby properties, the forest on Lot F is the missing puzzle piece. Connectivity is key to increasing biodiversity, and protecting Lot F’s forest will create 46 acres (about 18.5 hectares) of pristine natural habitat, now and forever.
Mature mixed forests like this are becoming increasingly rare in the Southern Gulf Islands. Research shows they hold 375 tonnes of carbon per hectare and sequester about 4 tonnes per hectare annually, so maintaining them represents our best way to offset our carbon emissions and fight climate change.
As well, this forest provides habitat for many species at risk such as the Western screech owl, pygmy owl, night hawk, red-legged frog, and Mexican freetail bat, known as the fastest creature in level flight.
Lot F also includes extensive wetlands, ponds, fertile farmland, and some of the largest trees on Salt Spring. Many beautiful old firs and arbutus are found throughout the ALR portion of the property and along Beddis Road. Legal arrangements are being prepared to protect them as well.
Forested wetlands are natural sponges that clean and hold water, releasing it slowly to maintain water levels in creeks and groundwater aquifers. On this property, the old Western redcedars play an important role in reducing peak flows along the slopes, helping to build soil, moderate storm damage and reduce erosion. Healthy moist forests are also resistant to fire and create vital fire breaks that reduce the community’s fire risk.
SSI Water Preservation Society is pleased to participate in this campaign to protect the lands once owned by a founder of the society, Mike Larmour. Mike understood the importance of protecting water resources and watersheds. Undisturbed wetlands and forests filter and purify water as it percolates through the soils, providing good quality drinking water for residents throughout the whole area. Protecting the ecological values of this land in perpetuity will honour Mike’s lifetime work and legacy.
SSI Water Preservation Society is now fundraising to protect Lot F of the Larmour Lands. They welcome donations of any size and invite you to learn more on their website.
All photos by Rodney Polden