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Earlier this month, a group of professional tree climbers scaled Canada’s second-largest Douglas fir tree named Big Lonely Doug to highlight B.C.’s endangered old-growth forests.

Conservationists with the Ancient Forest Alliance are collaborating with the Arboreal Collective, a group of professional tree-climbers working to raise awareness, facilitate research, and help protect these areas.

“Colossal trees like Big Lonely Doug are like the ‘redwoods of Canada’ that inspire awe in people around the world due to their unbelievable size and age,” Matthew Beatty, spokesman with the Arboreal Collective, said in a press release. “B.C.’s endangered old-growth forests urgently need protection before they become giant stumps and tree plantations.”

The Arboreal Collective’s Beatty, Tiger Devine, Dan Holliday, and the Ancient Forest Alliance’s TJ Watt were joined by Will Koomjian from Ascending the Giants, a similar research and awareness-raising organization of tree-climbers based in Portland, and by photographer James Frystak.

They climbed to the top of Big Lonely Doug to directly measure its height by dropping a line from the treetop down to its base. It was found to be 66 m (216 ft) tall using a clinometer, and its width was measured to be 12 m (39 ft) in circumference or 4 m (12 ft) in diameter. They also collected samples of moss and canopy soil accumulated on the massive limbs of Big Lonely Doug, which have been given to entomologists who will examine the sample for new species of spiders, insects, and mites.

The Ancient Forest Alliance is asking the B.C. government to protect the endangered old-growth forests, ensure the development of a sustainable, value-added second-growth forest industry, and to end the vast export of raw, unprocessed logs to foreign mills.

“The days of colossal trees like Big Lonely Doug are quickly coming to an end as the timber industry cherry-picks the last stands of unprotected, lowland ancient forests left in southern B.C. where giants like this grow,” said Ken Wu, Ancient Forest Alliance’s executive director. “We’re really encouraging the B.C. government to move forward with its proposed legal protection of the province’s biggest trees and grandest groves, as well as to ultimately protect old-growth ecosystems across the province on a more comprehensive scale to support endangered species, the climate, clean water, tourism, and many First Nations cultures.”

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