The Coastal Douglas Fir Biogeoclimatic Zone

"Ecosystems of British Columbia"
" The majority of forests that are found today in the Coastal Douglas Fir ecosystem have regenerated after logging that occurred at the turn of the century. Old growth remains in only a few areas, such as parks. The coastal variety of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var. menziesii) is the most common tree species in upland forests. It can regenerate under the canopy of mature and partly open stands on most habitats. Western redcedar, grand fir, arbutus (the only evergreen broadleaf tree in British Columbia), Garry oak, and red alder frequently accompany Douglas-fir, depending on the site moisture and nutrient regime. Less common trees in the Coast Douglas fir ecosystem include shore pine, Sitka spruce (rare), western hemlock (rare), bitter cherry (Prunus emarginata), western flowering dogwood (Cornus nuttallii), bigleaf maple, black cottonwood, and trembling aspen (rare). The tree species composition of forest stands varies considerably as a result of widespread human disturbance.

The vegetation of the CDF includes about 50 rare species (Straley et al . 1985) restricted to the zone. Most of these are at the northern limit of their distribution and include species of seaside, aquatic, rock outcrop, and forested habitats. The CDF also contains rare plant species endemic to British Columbia - Limnanthes macounii (Macoun's meadowfoam). Ecosystems of British Columbia, BC Ministry of Forests, Del Meidingerand Jim Pojar February 1991"

Although it is one of the smallest of British Columbia's 14 ecological zones, the Coastal Douglas-fir Zone is home to some of the province's most interesting and diverse ecosystems. A mild climate has also given this area some of the province's rarest vegetation, which is seriously threatened by growing human settlement.

The Coastal Douglas-fir Zone covers a small area of British Columbia's south coast, including a band of lower elevation along southeastern Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands, and a fringe of mainland along Georgia Strait. Victoria, Nanaimo, and Powell River are major urban centres in the area."

Wildlife Habitats

"The factors that most influence the assemblage of animal species in this zone are the mild, moist winters and warm, dry summers. The CDF receives the least snowfall, both in terms of amount and duration, of any zone in British Columbia. Another factor that influences wildlife is the location of this zone leeward of the Vancouver Island Mountains, on coastal plains and small islands in the Strait of Georgia. Indeed, the island nature of most CDF habitat, on both Vancouver Island and the smaller Gulf Islands, means that it will have fewer wildlife species than had it occurred on the mainland. Black-tailed Deer are the most abundant ungulate…

"Many species of water birds spend the winter months on the estuaries and sheltered waters within this zone. Typical waterfowl include species such as Mallard, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, harlequin Duck, Trumpeter Swan, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Western Gull, Glaucous- winged Gull, and California Gull. Only a few species breed here, such as the colony nesting Great Blue Heron, Mallard, and the re-introduced, non-migratory Canada Goose.

"Mature and old-growth coniferous forests are important for birds that eat conifer seeds, or wood-boring and bark insects. Species that breed in these forest habitats are: Pileated Woodpecker, Yellow- bellied Sapsucker, Hairy Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Steller's Jay, Raven, Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Brown Creeper, Winter Wren, and Varied Thrush. Some species are highly specialized such as the Western Flycatcher, which only inhabits thickets in depressions, ravines, or along waterways.

"Deciduous thickets and shrubbery offer a variety of flying insects and seeds for breeding populations of House Wren, Hutton's Vireo, Black-headed Grosbeak, and White-crowned Sparrow.

"The many small islets offshore Vancouver Island provide nesting security for colony-nesting birds such as Glaucous-winged Gull, Brandt's Cormorant, and Double Crested Cormorant." "Ecosystems of British Columbia, BC Ministry of Forests, Del Meidingerand Jim Pojar February 1991"

On the Marine Environment and Protection.

Tides rushing through Active and Porlier Pass create an enriched marine environment supporting a diverse ecosystem. Clams, algae, crabs and sea anemones inhabit the shallow intertidal zones. Larger fish - ling cods, rockfish, greenlings - are found at greater depths. Large octopus lurk in deep crevices. Transients like
salmon, orcas, grey whales and even an occasional humpback, are regular visitors to these waters. Out of sight, but not out of mind, marine life also needs and deserves protection. Plans for a National Marine
Conservation Area in the Southern Gulf Islands are under discussion. Local efforts to enhance the recovery of depleted rockfish stocks focus on a proposal for a protected rockfish nursing area in Trincomali Channel.

A list of rare fauna and flora provided by the Galiano Conservancy