Biologist discovers giant tree in North Vancouver almost as wide as a Boeing 747 plane cabin

A biologist has discovered what may be one of the widest trees ever recorded in British Columbia

Ian Thomas measured a western red cedar in North Vancouver, British Columbia that measured between 4.8 and 5.8 meters in diameter.

If Thomas’ preliminary measurements are correct, the monster he found in Lynn Headwaters Regional Park would barely fit in the cabin of a Boeing 747.

The diameter at breast height (DBH) of the tree has yet to be officially verified and could end up being up to a meter less than his calculation of 5.8 meters, he said, depending on how it is measured on a rough and steep slope.

Regardless of its exact size, there is no doubt that the massive tree is very, very old.

“It happened after about 10 hours in the bush,” Thomas told CBC host Gloria Macarenko. On the coast, On Monday. « I spend a lot of time studying satellite maps and government datasets – and walking through these incredible and endangered ancient forests that we are blessed to have, some of them, here in British Columbia »

He and his colleague Colin Spratt dubbed the « impressive » tree they found in a grove of « primordial » red cedars The North Shore Giant.

Tall Tree Researcher Colin Spratt stands with a very large Western Red Cedar in North Vancouver’s Lynn Headwaters Regional Park. He and biologist Ian Thomas have measured diameter at breast height (DBH) down to 5.8 metres, although another method could reduce it to 4.8 metres, still making it one of the tallest tall trees recorded in British Columbia. (Ian Thomas)

The tree is found on the territories of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. Its director of treaties, lands and resources said western red cedars have been used by its people for everything from canoes, clothing and buildings to ceremonial and medicinal uses.

« Everything from roots to branches to trunks, » Gabriel George said in a phone interview. « For our people, these are medicine… The cedar is sacred to us. »

Hearing about the discovery made his « heart happy », and he hoped it would remind others of the importance of the few remaining old-growth forests in British Columbia.

« When I saw that photo and heard that story, it was so uplifting, » he said.

Even though this particular cedar is in an area that’s already protected, Thomas said it’s a reminder of how blessed the province is to still have such natural wonders.

« You meet one of the largest and oldest living things on this planet, » he said. « It’s almost like seeing a blue whale or a northern white rhino – that piece of this rich, wild world. »

According to Robert Guy, professor of forestry at the University of British Columbia, the great western red cedars harbor « ecosystems in most of their branches. »

« A tree that size must be very old, » he said. « They can be 1,000 or 2,000 years old. We have trees on the North Shore that are approaching 2,000 years old. »

Because red cedars hollow out as they age, it is often impossible to count their inner rings like other trees.

On the coast10:382,000-year-old western red cedar found in remote part of North Vancouver

A giant western red cedar has been discovered in a remote part of North Vancouver, and it turns out it could be one of the largest of its kind. We chat with one of the tree hunters who discovered this North Shore giant.

According to the University of British Columbia’s Big Tree Registry, a tree measuring 5.8 meters in diameter would be the fourth widest on record.

The previous seven tops on the record are all on Vancouver Island, the largest being a six-meter western redcedar in Pacific Rim National Park.

At Lynn Headwaters, the largest recorded diameter for a tree was 5.1 metres, also a red cedar. Any tree over 4.8 meters wide would be in the province’s top 13.

The register could not be reached to comment on Thomas’ preliminary measurements. He said a member of his committee is checking the size of the tree.

Based on photographs, Guy said, the tree appears unhealthy, a phenomenon he says is becoming more common in British Columbia.

« Red cedar has shown more signs of distress in recent years than other…drought species, » he said. « Which is probably related to climate change.

« So I guess another thing about these trees is that they remind us that they’ve been through a lot – but they might not be through the next hundred years or so. »


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