Wildwood Ecoforest

These Wildwood foresters are reimagining ways to harvest timber

A Scandinavian model of forestry being used on Vancouver Island since the 1940s is a testament to sustainable practices not seen elsewhere in the province

In 1938 Merv Wilkinson bought a patch of land on Vancouver Island with intentions to farm. But when his professor at UBC got wind of the plan, he suggested Wilkinson try out new type of sustainable forestry that might be better suited to the forested landscape.

What began then as an experiment is now a decades-long example of the success of ecoforestry, a sustainable method of tree harvest designed to preserve the long-term ecological integrity of a place.

Wilkinson’s plot of land, named Wildwood, is now managed by the Ecoforestry Institute Society, a charitable society that carries on Wilkinson’s legacy by demonstrating how timber harvest, ecotourism and conservation efforts can coexist.

“Ecoforestry manages human behaviours in such a way that ecological integrity in a forest setting is maintained intact, over time and through space,” Barry Gates, co-chair of the Ecoforestry Institute Society, told The Narwhal.

“The key there is we manage human behaviours. The forest can manage itself.”

Wilkinson’s work in sustainable forestry earned him  Order of Canada and an Order of British Columbia awards.

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