Sunday, April 21, 2024

Timelapse shows significant deforestation on Vancouver Island over 39 years (VIDEO)


Thanks to Google Earth Engine, people are able to see the effects of humans on our ecosystems happen in a flash.

On Vancouver Island specifically, it’s easy to see the deforestation of Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew as well as several other locations. 

The provincial government recently made an announcement on February 15th, that has been applauded by both the BC Green Party as well as the Ancient Forest Alliance for efforts in protecting some of Vancouver Island’s last precious old-growth groves and pristine ecosystems.

“Our forests are foundational to BC,” said Premier Eby at the time of the announcement. “In collaboration with First Nations and industry, we are accelerating our actions to protect our oldest and rarest forests.” 

“At the same time, we will support innovation in the forestry sector so our forests can deliver good, family-supporting jobs for generations to come.”

The main things the Premier and Minister of Forests, Bruce Ralston wanted to implement were alternatives to clear-cutting, old-growth management in collaboration with local First Nations and innovations in the forestry sector.

“For far too long the protection of old-growth forests, wildlife habitat, and other critical ecosystem services has been secondary to the push to industrially extract resources from the land,” said TJ Watt, photographer and spokesperson for the Ancient Forest Alliance.

“We commend the BC government for taking this first step and hope it continues to take action by removing any remaining policy caps on regulatory protection measures such as Old-Growth Management Areas, Wildlife Habitat Areas, etc.”

Below shows the amount of deforestation of the Fairy Creek area near Port Renfrew between 1985 and 2020:

(Google Earth Engine)

This innovative tool also sheds light on urban sprawl in metro areas such as Greater Victoria, specifically, the Westshore.

In 1984, when the timelapse began, the population of Greater Victoria was around 242,000. Now the population has grown to nearly 398,000.

Greater Victoria is limited in where it can sprawl to, but Langford and the entirety of the Westshore have boomed and sprawled considerably over the past 39 years. 

Watch the urban sprawl of the Westshore below:

Curtis Blandy

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