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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We hear it time and time again:
“These are the stories that need to be told and you are some of the only ones telling them,” John, a new member of The Narwhal, wrote in to say.

Investigating stories others aren’t. Diving deep to find solutions to the climate crisis. Sending journalists to report from remote locations for days and sometimes weeks on end. These are the core tenets of what we do here at The Narwhal. It’s also the kind of work that takes time and resources to pull off.

That might sound obvious, but it’s far from reality in many shrinking and cash-strapped Canadian newsrooms. So what’s The Narwhal’s secret sauce? Thousands of members like John who support our non-profit, ad-free journalism by giving whatever they can afford each month (or year).

But here’s the thing: just two per cent of The Narwhal’s readers step up to keep our stories free for all to read. Will you join the two per cent and become a member of The Narwhal today?

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